Plonkee wrote a guest post for Brip Blap that really struck a chord with me. She took issue with Steve’s “blanket assertion that one parent (either one) staying at home is always a good thing.” Plonkee used her own childhood as an example, noting that her mother stayed home with the oldest kids but went back to work after having the youngest, and that she was happier when she went back to work. Plonkee’s conclusion rings true to me:
Being a stay at home parent works well if that is what you want and makes you happy. If it doesn’t, then it’s not a good choice. After all, parents’ happiness matters too.
I know many stay-at-home mothers feel judged in a negative way when they tell others what they do, as if being a stay-at-home mom is not enough of a job. But I feel pressure the other way – that I’m not a good enough mother because I work. And the truth is, there are times when I dream about being a stay-at-home mom. But most of the time, I’m grateful to be able to work. I have a challenging job that still gives me lots of time with my kids (and admittedly, pays well). And especially as my kids get older, I think that I’m not cut out to spend all day, every day with them. For one thing, I am much more patient when we have some time apart.
However, I think sometimes about becoming a stay-at-home when my kids are older – say, middle-school age. I’ve heard that this is when kids really need someone to be home after school. They’re old enough to get into trouble but not old enough to have great judgment. An available parent might help prevent certain situations that could escalate into big problems. And I think it would be fantastic if our house were the place where my children and their friends hang out after school.