In recent discussions on a few message boards I frequent, I notice a disturbing trend: at-home moms (or dads) are looked down upon by some of the society.
Perhaps I am totally missing something, but I tend to get the feeling that Monroe is pretty darn supportive of at-home moms (and dads).
Home Moms Really Looked DOWN upon?
Having been an at-home mom since before my daughter was born over 3 years ago (well, I have been self-employed but let’s face it: I work from my home So, I’m home) and having discussed the what do you do for a living the question with other parents at parks and stores it seems the at home moms are respected (I’m also noticing more and more moms making the changes they need to, TO stay home!).
Many other moms wish they could stay home, but for financial reasons have to work. This is in Monroe, of course. I have never had a single negative experience when someone finds out I stay home with the kids. I get a lot of comments like thank goodness! It’s nice to see that still happens!
I’ve been thinking of putting together some sort of a workshop or meeting to help Monroe families learn of ways they can cut costs and plan so one parent can stay home.
I talk with my students (and locals who haven’t taken any classes) about their budget, lifestyle, and what they can do to trim some costs and find that a lot of them can stay home after all (especially factoring in their savings of no daycare, reduced gas consumption, no more lunches on the fly, work clothing, etc.).
I have no formal education in finances but have lived frugally all my life and it seems people think I have some good ideas. I’d love to form some sort of a meeting where we can all gather, share ideas and get more parents staying at home! Anyway, getting back on track
Being an at-home parent isn’t a walk in the park. Don’t get me wrong: I love being here. But there is a lot of effort in taking care of the daily needs of children day in and day out.
There are meals and snacks to prepare, children to clean, dress, change, entertain and teach, a house to clean, errands to run, a household to manage, temper tantrums to tame, little hands that want to help (with EVERYTHING), bills to pay and a checkbook to balance, possibly other pets to tend to.
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When you stay at home, you tend to not only take care of the children but the rest of the household management as well.
I personally think that taking care of the household management is great – you are able to teach your kids from an early age how to run a house. I know I mention this a lot, but my kids (age 3.5 and nearly two (and one still baking) do have chores. As soon as they show an interest in helping mom, I jump on it. If they want to help fold clothes or wash dishes, we do it.
Even if it means the chore takes 4x longer than it normally would (and makes a mess) if I had done it myself, my kids are helping and being exposed to skills they will need when they’re on their own. As soon as they have been taught a skill suitable for their age, it becomes their job to complete. Of course, I don’t expect perfection – that will come in time – but I expect the job to be done, and to be done cheerfully.
I don’t believe in whisking kids away so mom can clean the house, or put them in front of the TV so you can get things done, but I know this does work for other parents. Often, I wonder if not letting kids help when they have a natural desire leads to a rough time introducing chores when the parent feels the child is old enough. I do believe in letting the kids help.
You are home with them, so teach them. Eventually, they will start helping you for real and you can delegate actual jobs to them so you no longer have to do them. My daughter does have a lot of little jobs that she does (sorts and puts away silverware, rinses dishes and places them in the dish rack, gathers dirty dishes as I start washing, folds her own clothing, helps mommy load the washer and hang to dry, picks up her toys and puts them away every night, etc.).
She started helping early and I kept it going (we make it fun, and I don’t force it on her as soon as I notice an interest, I let her help but it’s on her terms at the beginning, to let her see it can be fun!). She loves to help me cook and although it can be frustrating or messier than normal I just remember I’m home for a reason, and what better reason than to teach my kids life skills! This is my job! In my home, we carry on a very traditional approach to life and raising our children.
I stay at home and I take full responsibility for all child care and household management tasks. My husband works outside of the home so we can pay our bills. We will homeschool (starting my daughter in preschool this fall, at home) and I instill life skills in them (back to basics, homesteading type) that are quickly being lost to the world of fast and convenient. I’m home and have the time to teach them how to live life simply, without all of the thrills and frills. Because we are a single income family, we don’t have the finances to get a lot of the fancy kitchen appliances, build a huge DVD or CD library, buy tons of noisy toys for the kids, etc. I rather enjoy that though, because I feel life can be very enjoyable without all the extras, and I hope my children grow up with the same outlook.
Anyway, getting back on track – having mentioned all of that I don’t see how an active at-home mom, dedicating her life to raising her children, can be looked down upon or feel disrespected. She is taking on one of the most important jobs shells ever have! This goes the same for dads who stay home, also (of course!).
Being home with the kids often means no time off, no sick days, very little adult interaction and a lot of responsibility. I hate that some of the society thinks a woman should have to work outside of the home and hold some high-ranking career to deserve respect!
Raising our children ourselves today with love, values, discipline and life skills is pretty darn important so we can continue to have caring, compassionate and skilled people tomorrow.