This isn’t the 1950’s anymore, the majority of women are earning college degrees. More women attend university than men and 60% of Master’s degrees are being awarded to women. Yet the number of mothers choosing to stay home with their children is rising. This begs the question: why are well-educated women abandoning the workforce for home?
Cost of Childcare
Childcare in the US is ridiculously expensive. Most childcare will run you about $1000 per child per month! This might be doable for many couples with only one child, but as they have more children it can become an overwhelming burden. If the mother is making less than the cost of childcare it often makes more monetary sense for the mother to stay home.
Uneasiness over Daycare
As a parent leaving your child in the hands of a childcare worker, be it a daycare worker or babysitter is nerve-wracking. They don’t know your child the way you do and they may be juggling the needs of many other children. This was the number one factor in my boyfriend’s insistence that one of us stay home. He had heard too many stories of negligent daycares and more commonly children coming home with bruises (children get bruises by try telling him that about his baby girl).
Parents want to know that their children are safe and being given the utmost care. Who better to trust with your child than your partner?
As the number of SAHM (stay-at-home moms) increase, so are the rates of homeschooled children. The education system in the US is sorely lacking. Teachers are underpaid, classroom sizes are far too large, bullying is rampant, school nutrition is lacking, and common core is unpopular among parents.
The multitude of advantages that homeschool provides is alluring to many parents. You are in charge of not only the subjects your is covering, but what content from those subjects is emphasized. Personalized learning becomes easy if your child has a learning disability or needs more time in specific subjects. There is a focus on one-on-one time even with multiple children to homeschool. A 1:4 teacher to student ratio is better than 1:35. There are more options for enrichment in the form of field trips and more flexibility in the daily schedule.
This is a topic I am very passionate about and was the most important aspect for me in deciding to stay home.
Breastfeeding & Insufficient Leave
I cannot count the stories I have heard of mothers being forced back to work earlier than they were ready. In the US maternity leave is covered under FMLA (if you’ve worked at your job for a year) for up to 12 weeks. This time is illegal to refuse to any new mother. Yet women feel pressured to return to work early by their bosses or coworkers.
This is particularly paralyzing for a new mother that is trying to learn to breastfeed. After two months I started feeling pressure to return to work but my baby was still having latching issues and was still cluster feeding! I didn’t respond well to a pump at that time due to mastitis issues so I essentially had no stash. If I had returned to work my breastfeeding journey would have ended. I wouldn’t have had enough time during the day to pump enough to feed my baby. For parents that are insistent on breastfeeding this can be reason enough to resign and stay home.
Mothers need extended leave at no risk to their job. Hopefully soon the US will follow suit nearly all other first world countries and do right by mothers.
To Keep a Home
The keeping of a household can become very hard in this incredibly fast-paced modern age with both parents working. Between 40+ hour weeks and transporting the kids to and from daycare and sleeping, what else is there time for?
Of course many families are able to make this work! However my household began running 100x smoother when I became a SAHM. When we both worked while I was pregnant, I cleaned every hour I was home (nesting to be sure) and could still not keep up with the workload. There were always dishes in the sink and laundry piling up in a corner. The house was usually in disarray. And heck I never got around to grocery shopping properly. Now I am able to monitor finances, buy groceries, and keep a tidy house. I worry about the home and Isaac worries about his job. We both worry about our daughter!
And there’s also the issue of love. You can plan to work before the baby is born, but something happens when you give birth to that bundle of joy. Your heart opens in a way indescribable to anyone but a fellow parent. You want to be there to experience their joys and sorrows and kiss their boo-boos and cuddle them. I could not imagine spending my days with anyone but my daughter.
Educated & Mothers
We are educated. We are mothers. Being one does not lessen the other. In-face your children will benefit immensely from having such a strong smart woman to learn from and care for them. Carry that knowledge with pride and enjoy every day!