Does Being a Stay at Home Mom Make a Difference to Your Kids?

Being a stay at home mom, whether you work at home or have the raising your family as your only job is hard. A lot of people really won’t show you much appreciation, and there’s always someone to criticize your decision.

The same can be said for moms who work outside the home, of course.

Being told that your kids would be just fine if you put them in daycare is tough to hear, of course, and isn’t always true. So much depends on the quality of daycare that is available to you.

So what difference can you make to your family as a stay at home mom?

Money

The money issue can go both ways. Yes, many families have to cut back due to having just one income. It’s a big risk. You’re also likely limiting your retirement income if you aren’t working and saving for your retirement while you’re home with the kids.

On the other hand, daycare can be miserably expensive. Sometimes, by the time you take out the cost of daycare, the cost of commuting, cost of wardrobe, taxes and so forth, you’re actually saving money by not having a second income.

Which way your being at home impacts your family’s finances really depends on your likely income potential. If you know you’d be losing money by working outside the home, those naysayers have nothing to complain about!

There’s a risk to being a single income family, of course. That’s if layoffs come about. Losing one income is painful no matter whether one or both parents work, but if it’s the only income the situation may be a lot worse.

That’s a part of why I always recommend stay at home moms consider some form of working at home. It can be a job or a home business, but have some way to bring in a little money. Save it for retirement if you don’t really need it at the moment. But keep those skills up while doing something you love when you’re at home. You may not need to work now, but there are no guarantees for the future.

Your Relationship with Your Children

How you relate to your children can be different depending on whether you’re home all day with them or gone at a job. Either one can cause problems or make things better, depending on personal needs and personalities.

A mother who doesn’t want to stay at home, for example, probably shouldn’t. A miserable stay at home mom is going to have a harder time doing her best for her family.

What really matters is that you have ways to be there for your children when they need you. That goes for both mothers and fathers, regardless of where and if they work.

And of course some children need their parents more. This is especially true for younger children, although the option isn’t always there if the mother’s income is needed. As always, doing the best you can is generally good enough for your family. Perfection isn’t required.

Sad to say, an overprotective stay at home mom who never lets her kids do anything is going to cause as many problems for the working outside the home mom who is never there for her kids. Both are extremes; your typical stay at home mom isn’t excessively overprotective and your typical working outside the home mom will do everything she can to be there for her kids.

More Time for Activities

Stay at home moms do have a big advantage over working moms in being able to sign their kids up for whatever activities they’re interested in. It’s just easier to get them to the activities, whether it be sports, an art class, whatever.

Working moms can do it, but they have to be pickier about schedules.

Housekeeping

Yes, we all have to handle it. Working moms have more limited time for housekeeping, but stay at home moms have messes generated all day in their homes. Either way it can really add up.

In both cases, get the kids involved at age appropriate levels. Little kids love to help; older kids need to know how to do housework for their own good later in life as well as just having responsibilities now.

Don’t Let the Guilt Get You Down

All moms feel guilt. It’s just one of those things. No matter what we do there’s someone there to tell us we’re doing it wrong.

That’s okay. Remember that your own parents weren’t perfect. Hopefully their worst mistakes were forgivable and already forgiven. Do your best and your kids will hopefully do the same for you.

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1 Response

  1. So true about the guilt. I’ve done it all – I was a stay at home mom, I worked outside of the home for a while, and now I work from home. The guilt is there no matter what I do!

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