The Stay At Home Parent
Firstly, I’m not one – a stay at home parent. I have been and I mostly really enjoyed it, but I also enjoy working with adults. My husband is doing a lot of the parenting at the moment. Fitting bits of contract work around parenting. I could rant for hours about the benefits of the stay at home parent, but I’ll attempt to keep it concise.
The benefits of having a stay at home parent for a child are many. They have a strong connection with one person – often this is Mum, but not always. This gives them stability and helps them develop a special bond with a parent. This is not to say they can’t develop a bond with many people. They can. The parent who is the consistent factor offers a child consistency, regularity and meets their expectations of having someone familiar to rely on being there when they’re needed.
Recently friends decided they wanted a stay at home parent for their child. They both had a parent who did things like walk them to school, was there for them when they got home and had time do all the household chores during the day so evenings and weekends could be spent doing fun things. They decided Dad would be the stay at home parent. This was important to them and they can afford to do it.
For many families it’s a luxury to have one parent stay at home. For many it’s impossible. If you are fortunate enough to be able to have a stay at home parent the security and therefore confidence it allows a child will be so valuable throughout their life. It might seem cliche but the time – both quality and quantity – you spend with your children throughout their adolescence is worth more to both your lives than the extra money you might get from both working full time.
The benefits for society of a stay at home parent are the biggest. It annoys me that our society doesn’t support stay at home parents – both financially and socially/emotionally. Soooo many stay at home parents contribute a huge percentage of the volunteer work force. I don’t know the percentage but I bet it’s high. Parenting groups, community organisations, environmental groups, supporting schools and kindergartens. Even as a working parent – part time. I spend far to much time (according to my husband) volunteering for things that are important for our society – community gardens, parenting stuff, school etc. My husband volunteers at kindy and school. Already schools are suffering for lack of parent help. How will they cope if two working parents becomes even more of a necessity?
I find the benefits to the parent harder to come up with. I enjoyed it but struggled at the same time. The volunteer work I did helped me to have adult time – though never uninterrupted. I now miss not being able to attend all their Kindy/School events. I loved having the time to grow our food and make it from scratch. Now that my husband is home more he is finding the same thing. He has time to work on projects, attend our children’s events, be home with them when they’re sick or just need a mental health day. But when work arises it’s back to juggling and the stress that goes with it. Of course he is now finding the lack of adult time difficult and enjoys working outside the home too. Although we don’t have a lot of money to buy stuff or have big holidays we live simply and find fun, low cost activities to do with our children.
I am by no means saying that two full time working parents can’t provide the best environment for their children. I’m sure they can. What I am saying is that more than just the parent and child themselves benefit from having a stay at home (or very part time working parent). Society hugely relies on volunteers and many of these are stay at home parents.
Thank you all you stay at home parents who volunteer many hours contributing to our society. Be proud and know that there are many people out there grateful for what you contribute to the next generation and our current society.