If told me 7 years ago I would be a full-time SAHM (stay-at-home mom), I would have definitively said, “Hard pass. Nope, not me.” I had dreams of working throughout my kids’ lives. I am a teacher by trade, and so was my mom.
I thought my children would live a childhood much like mine – getting to school early with me and staying late, spending most days in the halls of school while I prepped my own classroom. However, all of that changed the moment we got pregnant with my oldest daughter. Now I have been a stay-at-home mom for 7 years, and I do not see an end in sight.
I taught preschool and kindergarten before we started our family. I loved it. But, when we got pregnant with our first child, we realized day care for an infant in California would cost more than I earned. Financially, it did not make sense for me to work.
So, two weeks before she arrived, I left my job. My husband is military and deployed 3 months after she was born, so I was thankful I could be home with her instead of having to get up for work every morning. Since then, I never really considered going back to a traditional job.
What About When the Kids are in School?
Since becoming a Mom, I do work from home. I run my own business in branding and virtual assistant services, and I have a military spouse YouTube channel. I also teach preschool two days a week from home. I LOVE IT.
But do I plan to work a traditional job when the kids are school aged? Short answer: No. I have no desire to get up early or spend my days in a classroom or office. I love the flexibility to be there when my kids are sick, to run errands, or simply to workout.
Back when I was going through the whole “should I work, should I stay home” debate, I read several articles about how developmentally it is more important for you to be present with your child during the later stages of their development versus the early infant and toddler years.
Most parents feel that they should be present when their kids are young so they don’t miss out on milestones. However, basic albeit, loving, care can be provided by any caregiver without major repercussions to a child’s development. But during periods of major personal development, like the pre-teen and teenage years where they are so easily influenced by peers and social media, children need the positive influence of their parents.
Sometimes it is difficult for parents who work full-time and believe their child is self-sufficient to recognize negative patterns. When a parent is able to be there for their child right after school, attend games, and be a listening ear, they will be more aware of the unspoken needs of their children.
This isn’t to say that working parents can’t be present for their children or recognize negative patterns. Many parents are able to balance the changes in their child along with a career. However, for many of us, work gets the best of us and even with best efforts we may miss the signs that our child needs help.
What are some work from home jobs?
There are many work-from-home job opportunities for moms of school-aged children, so you can contribute to the family finances and be flexible for school pickups and activities. Work from home jobs include everything from freelance writing to virtual assistants.
Why is it important to have a stay-at-home parent during middle and high school years?
Being a stay-at-home parent can offer many unique benefits to a family, especially during the middle and high school years. Studies have shown that children of stay-at-home parents tend to have better behavior, less substance abuse, and higher academic achievement than those with working parents. A stay-at-home parent typically has more time to provide emotional and academic support for their tweens and teens. They can ensure their children get adequate physical activity and nutrition, which can help them stay healthy and focused on schoolwork.
Being a SAHM is my greatest joy. I am grateful for the opportunity. I have worked to develop businesses that I can do from home which is important to me as a mother and as a military spouse. I plan to be home and available to my three girls as they go through puberty and high school. My job right now is Mom first. And I’m lucky enough to be able to make that choice.
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For more tips on what parenting style is best for your family check out the post, Working Mom vs. SAHM: Mapping Out The Best Decision For You.