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Should women have the choice to stay home with the kids?

by chipp (follow)
Parenting (216)      Family (309)      Work (104)      Women (53)     

There are so many demands in today's Society. Many women end up having to juggle working, picking up children, and everyday home care. Should women have the choice to stay home with kids? What sort of adjustments would you need to make?

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I think woman do have the choice but that choice can be very dependent on finances and I think the financial responsibility sits with the family rather than state. I'm lucky in that my employer has allowed me to return to work part time so I can balance finances with also being able to spend some extra time with my kids.

They also really enjoy nursery and the independence and social interaction that it provides, so I hope I'm getting the balance right.

Perhaps the bigger question should be, 'should men have the choice to stay at home with the kids?'

How flexible do you think employers are regarding father's working part time so that they can spend more time with their kids while Mum goes to work?
Can't see many bosses catering to the needs of a stay at home father.
by fran.
Definitely. Having choice is crucial in every aspect of our lives. As Claire mentioned, families' financial situation is often an important consideration as to whether it's possible for one parent to be at home with their children, and some countries make this easier than others with paid maternity (or paternity) leave and even supplementary family / parenting allowances.

I think it's tragic that motherhood and children don't have a higher status in our society. Usually, when we meet new people, we're asked: 'What do you do?' Simply saying that you're a mother, and a 'stay-at-home' one at that, can sometimes be looked down upon...that somehow, it's not quite good enough to stay at home with your children as they're growing up. Our world is so competitive and results-focused, and I'm sure this kind of attitude discourages mums to 'be there', physically and emotionally during their children's valuable formative years. I'm sure that this condescending attitude has a lot to do with why so many mothers choose to not be at home full-time with their kids.

Having a supportive partner or extended family can be a big help also so mothers don't get totally stressed out with having to juggle so many roles. If these relationships are healthy, life as a mum is so much easier, as family members will feel happy and even privileged to help out.
It's not always an easily made choice for many due to finance or personal circumstance. We saved long and hard (and had kids later) so that I could take some crucial time off to be at home with our kids but even with saving this isn't always possible for many. It would be lovely to have a choice and no financial hardship occur as a result but that's not generally a reality for many. That said, I think women are very good multi tasters and can juggle career and parenthood to make it work.
Should we have the choice? Surely you aren't suggesting that all stay at home mothers be forced into paid work? As a stay at home mother it's an understatement to say that I'd be pretty upset if anyone was able to coerce into putting my kids in day care. Both men and women have and should have the choice to stay home with their kids.

The main adjustment it takes is less income for a family. Then there's the slower pace of life and it can potentially be a bit isolating. If you've come from a paid job it can also seem a bit frustrating at first not having anything concrete to show for your day's work. In a paid job you finish projects and people notice. At home you might have spent the day singing to your child, playing with puppets, feeding them, changing nappies, playing in the sprinkler, jumping on a trampoline but none of that leaves results you can really see. You just have to trust yourself that it's all worth it.
well said!
you captured my thoughts beautifully
It is all worth it, healthy happy children with the person who gave birth to them...is bliss for any child......after all, it is all about the little ones, giving them the best you can.
by jonaja
I believe that when you stop to have a family - then a women should have the time to raise that family. Of course, if she really loves her job, then I know she will be able to balance the two, or three, or more things. However, sometimes, one realizes that the more important things is life are the things that are around you. And there are ways you can stay employed part time, or work from home, while ensuring the kids there is someone home for them!
Why do you think women should bear more of the responsibility of raising children than men?
This is a no brainer! YES!
Of course women should be able to choose if they want to stay home with their children. If you can afford to stay home and you want to then why pay someone else to raise your children.
Most definitely, women do have that choice. It all depends on the following factors:

Family values
The woman's values and priorities

Definitely the choice is always there for the mom and the dad, however it will usually translate to meaning that a simpler lifestyle will also have to be chosen, and many "wants" will need to prioritized.
I made the choice of staying at home with the kids. I just hope it "pays off" in the long run.
Absolutely they should have the choice. I am a Mother of four, ranging in age from 20 yrs- 3yrs.
I think today, one should make sure that when starting a family...you do have the choice to stay home.
Years ago it was a given, but today everything is so expensive...it takes two wages to just meet bills.
With careful planning, it would seem that it is now a must to get ahead, before having a family.
Babies need their mother, and as they grow it is a essential part of a very healthy child.

I could think of nothing worse, than a child being left in the hands of a complete stranger.
When your child enters school, then pick up extra work...so the impact is not on your child, from being separated from you.
Plus it is very hard on mums too, they also miss their baby very much.In my opinion it is not a healthy outcome for mother and child.
The saying 'you can have it all'....is total rubbish.
Wise choices is what you have

Life seems to have gotten faster and faster, with all the modern conveniences we have like dishwashers and computers, the internet, smartphones and everything in between, the thought of slowing down so completely to raise a family as a sole purpose in life for a while would be abhorrent to many of us. I have done it - from the birth of my third child I got off the merry-go-round and realised that all the money in the world wouldn't give me the satisfaction of cuddling my own children, changing their nappies, listening to their thoughts about the world as they grow to form their own opinions on life. For the first time ever I can totally be there for them and it has cost my family in terms of financial gain, but enriched all our lives in a way that money just can't buy.
I think women already have this choice, as most things in life are a choice even though we often do not realise it.

Often due to financial reasons women have to go out to work and juggle everything as you say.

They would need to adjust to living on far less if they choose this path, or although it is more difficult to find, try a part time job.
by Finy
Why should only women have this choice? There is a great deal of discrimination against men in the workplace today when it comes to flexibility. When a woman needs to have flexibility for family responsibilities, it is frowned upon a lot less than if a man makes the same request. If a man chooses to be a stay at home dad, there is still a stigma that he is less of a man and when he tries to get back into the workforce in his chosen profession, taking a break "to start a family" or "domestic responsibilities" is seen as a cop-out and that there's really another reason he's not been employed - a person to avoid when employing new staff. I sense this is probably more the perception of male employers than female employers, but it's a problem none the less, particularly when the push is all about getting women (not men) into the workforce - especially to get them into leadership positions and those who have taken a break to start a family etc.

Of course it's not like that everywhere, but it raises far more questions when a domestic break is listed on a man's CV than if it is listed on a woman's CV. Essentially, being a stay at home mum has always been seen as legitimate for women, whether by choice (in today's society) or "responsibility" (as in days gone by), so it has always, and continues to be perceived as completely valid and honorable for women to stay at home with the kids.

It's a shame there is a double standard when it comes to men, as this past 8months that I've been home with my daughter has been absolutely priceless to me - I would choose this permanently if it was financially an option, but it has been virtually impossible for me to pick up my career where I left off last year because employers want to know what is "REALLY" wrong with me.
by kimp
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