Since long back, especially in Asian countries, women were groomed up to take care of their family and children. They were expected to be the homemakers and solely concentrate on the household chores and upbringing of their children. They were not even vaguely considered for being the breadwinner of the home, as it was a man’s job. Being a stay-at-home mom was not a choice then, rather, that’s how women were supposed to be.
Time changed, not instantly, but gradually. Post the Great Depression and economic downturn around the globe in the first quarter of the 20th century, families began to recognize the benefits of additional income at their disposal. Women had now started contributing monetarily to the family as well and were becoming more and more independent.
However, it’s worth mentioning, that various factors still stood as a barrier to women’s economic independence.
- Paternalistic society,
- Female child upbringing and the values imbibed,
- The environment she was brought up into,
- Motherly instincts towards her children,
- Family-oriented nature of the women, and
- Cultural and religious factors prevented women from stepping out of their homes to be the breadwinner.
Due to these factors either women were forbidden from working or their family’s poor economic conditions forced them to earn. In both situations, she was never given the privilege to decide for herself, as to what she wanted in her life. Rather, the decisions were, imposed on her by her family members.
Here, the discussion is about a choice that you can make for yourself as a woman whether to stay-at-home mom or be a career woman.
Being a stay-at-home mom
Thankfully, times have changed now, and you have a choice when it comes to your family. Whether you want to be a stay-at-home mom and be in charge of your home or be a career-oriented woman, and take care of your family simultaneously, is at your discretion. You have the liberty to evaluate your family situations and your priorities, to choose a path you want to be on.
While having a usual chit chat with my friends and women in my neighborhood, I came across many reasons, why they chose to be a stay-at-home mom and why not.
You May Have your reasons
The other day my neighbor who is a mother of a 4-year-old, who works as a senior architect with a reputed firm, conveyed that she has quit her job. The reason being, her son, although four now, other than uttering few words, barely speaks. When examined, the doctor diagnosed that there was nothing wrong with the physical and psychological development of the child. The only thing he lacked was environmental stimulation which caused the speech delay. Both the parents stayed away from him for the whole day, only to return exhausted and worn out. Consequently, the child left under the supervision of a full-time maid barely got any stimulation for learning to speak. To my neighbor, her son being her priority did not even give a second thought before compromising her prestigious career.
In another instance, one of my friends after working for almost a decade and a half decided to quit her flourishing career. Her 10-year-old son had fallen into the wrong company and had started stealing money from home. Her kids being her priority, and understanding the value of parents guidance and vigilance at this tender age, she decided to be a stay-at-home mom.
Similarly, there are many other factors like budget constraints, spouse involvement, your kids’ needs, which you should contemplate before making your final decision.
Benefits of being a stay-at-home mom
Any decision you make will have both pros and cons. Do consider these benefits and downsides, before deciding to be a stay-at-home mom.
1. You can track your child’s developmental milestones
Your child’s development in the formative years is crucial. Reaching developmental milestones ensures your kid’s sound development. Being a stay-at-home mom will help you track the developmental achievements of your kids. Also, you will never miss out on your child’s “firsts” and watch them grow healthily.
2. You are always available for your kids
As a stay-at-home mom, you are always close to your kids. You get to spend quality time with them. Being around, playing, chatting, keep your kids happy and satisfied. Your kids will be happier when you are available for them to share their joys, than with expensive toys at the cost of you being away from them. Moreover, you can help them in studies and school projects, helping them stay abreast with the curriculum. Consequently, spending time with your children will help you understand them as individuals, helping in the development of your children.
3. Staying at home can be less stressful
Striking a balance between your professional and family commitments is often challenging. While struggling to complete projects and meet deadlines at work, you often end up being stressed and exhausted with the burden of work. Being a stay-at-home mom, you can now focus on your kids, as you have enough of time and energy at your disposal.
Raising your kids, teaching them life skills and values, and dealing with their tantrums is neither simple. However, you are likely to feel more relaxed and stress-free, in the comfortable environment of your home, as you are no longer worried about work deadlines.
4. You take complete charge of your home
Now that you decided to stay at home, you are the queen, who takes complete charge of, managing everything that takes place under her roof. You can administer your home efficiently, and manage your expenses well. You have more control in setting up a routine for your family. You no longer have to wake up stressed, to finish up the household work and rush for the office. No more late-staying in the office, and reaching home filled with guilt for not spending time with your family.
5. You get more time for yourself
Since you don’t have to rush for work and spend hours in the office, you now have plenty of time for yourself. Have some “me time”, get yourself a nice massage, meditate, pursue a hobby, watch your favorite movies, and much more. You get to relish your complete freedom by doing everything which you wanted to but could not do due to the scarcity of time.
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6. You can now socialize more
Working full time, hardly leaves you any time to socialize with people. Chit chatting with friends, sharing our interests, feelings, and opinions, make us happier. Choosing to stay-at-home mom will let you have time to network with people around you. Mingling with them make you feel lighter, consequently, relieving stress.
7. Being a stay-at-home mom can save you money
Sometimes choosing to stay at home might be more beneficial than going to work. It might not make sense to you, but if one of the parents stayed at home, it would save you more money. With you working full time, the cost associated with it will add up. If you choose to be a stay-at-home mom, you can reduce your expenses significantly in the following areas:
- Household expenses are probably the major expense that eats up a huge chunk of your salary.
- Payments towards full-time maid/ assistance
- Expenditure on daycare/ creche
- You can also save on work-related expenses like fuel expenses, car maintenance, dry cleaning, salon expenses, clothing, and accessories.
Downsides of being a stay-at-home mom
When you decide to take a break from your work or quit your job forever, prepare yourself mentally so that you do not regret it later. Now, let us look at the downside of being a stay-at-home mom.
1. Financial Considerations
Deciding to quit your job and be a stay-at-home mom may put an additional financial burden on your partner. Before going ahead, plan cautiously, how you are going to pay for mortgages, home finance, vehicle finance, etc. Also, evaluate the possibilities of your savings getting impacted, due to this decision.
2. You may end up feeling lonely
While you are at home busy with kids, and all your friends at work, you may not find time to catch up with them. Besides, being with your kids 24×7, you may miss adult interaction and consequently, it may impact your emotional well-being. You may start dwelling on negative thoughts and look for problems to keep your brain occupied.
Break the cycle, step out, mingle with people. Look for stay-at-home moms like you, share and discuss with them your issues. You will be relieved to know they also feel the same way.
3. You may feel undervalued
As a stay-at-home mom, you may underestimate your worth as your work is no longer measured in terms of money. However, since you made this decision considering your priorities in life, you should never regret it. Taking care of your home, raising your children, inculcating good habits and values in them, and watching your kids grow into refined human beings are more rewarding than your worth being valued monetarily.
4. Creates Employment Gap
The employment gap can cause hindrance in the progress of your career. It is likely that before quitting your job, you had an awesome job, and you were placed in a significant position in the corporate hierarchy. However, after opting to be a stay-at-home mom for a while, chances are there that you are not likely to be offered the same level of job, to begin with, from where you last left. Due to the employment gap, you will now be competing with people much younger than you for the same position. Also, you may be required to update your knowledge and technical expertise to match the current work requirements.
5. Change In Social Life
Your social life and social circle will change as you decide to be a stay-at-home mom. You may miss the interaction with your colleagues, corporate parties, and team-building events.
6. Prepare yourself to make sacrifices
Choosing to be a stay-at-home mom also means learning to live with a single person’s income. You will have to prepare yourself to forgo some of your comforts and reduce your expenses.
- Are you ready to forget dining out and weekend outings?
- Reducing expenses on beauty salons, clothing, and accessories.
- Can you live in a smaller house?
- Are you prepared to forgo your holiday vacation?
Evaluate diligently, about the lifestyle changes you may be required to make, before making the decision.
A final word
So, whether it is worth it or not, it’s ultimately you have to decide it. It’s a woman’s basic instinct to feel responsible towards her family. Due to your family-oriented nature, you may end up feeling guilty of not taking proper care of your family. On the flip side, you might also be required to give up on some lifestyle comforts to minimize your expenses as you will have to run the show with a single person’s income. Do consider the pros and cons of being a stay-at-home mom before taking the final decision.
Looking at the bright side, you can always work out a mid-way solution to your problem. While staying at home you can search for work from home options, or start a home-based business. Convert your passion or hobby into revenue-generating avenues. This will help you strike a balance between your family and passion for work.
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Krishna is a Management graduate in Human Resource. She is an avid reader, knowledge seeker, and an adoring mother of two lovely kids.