Thursday, February 23, 2012

Stay at home vs the working mother

Today's health and beauty buzz  is on how being a stay at home mom or a working mom can impact our health.     There is a lot of criticism and judgement directed at the decision on whether to be a stay at home or a working mother.  Parenting is often referred to as the most difficult job that you will ever have. It is also the most important job that you will ever have. You are irreplacable to your child and you are making a personal investment which will long out live you. This is a personal descision and whichever way your friends and family push you, the choice must ultimately be yours. 

Whatever decision you make, all mothers should be acknowledged and respected.                     
There is a trade off for each. The cost of supporting a family is so high, often making it necessary for both partners to work. On the other hand, the stress which comes from both parents working, can often outweigh the benefits.
Recent results from a research institute found 71% of working mothers equated work with something done in order to pick up a pay check.

Advantages of the working mom:-

Many working mothers experience less depression and better health than stay at home mothers.
Financial independence and self sufficiency.
Men may feel less burdened by financial concerns when their wives are contributing although men whose wives earn higher incomes than them may become resentful at the high demands of the job. 
Many mothers say that working makes them happier, better mothers.
Working women tend to spend more quality time with their children.
Giving up a successful career may make it more difficult to later return to the work force.
If you are fortunate enough to have a parent or close family member to babysit whilst you are working, this can allow the child to develop a close bond with that person.


Working mothers say that they still find themselves responsible for most of the housework, cooking and childcare. So essentially they have 2 jobs.
Quality daycare is very expensive, so unless you are earning a reasonable income, it may not be financially viable. Low quality day care has been found to have a negative impact on children continuing into adolescence.
Day care centers are loathe to care for your sick child and this may result in a stressful last minute scramble to find alternative care.
Household safety becomes an issue when children are too old for daycare.
Many working mothers experience overwhelming feelings of guilt.
Although dual earning couples are not statistically more prone to divorce, studies have tracked an overall decline in marital satisfaction.

At the end of the day, most working woman feel emotionally and physically exhausted. Children eagerly await your arrival. All spare time is spent on giving your family the attention they need and deserve and trying to maintain some kind of semblance of order. There is little if any time left to actually take care of yourself.  

Advantages of the stay at home mom:-

Peace of mind. You know that your child is being stimulated, loved and nurtured.
You will be there to see all of your child's "firsts".
Stress levels are reduced by allowing you the time to balance children and keep the home running smoothly.
Joy and contentment. Nothing equals the deep love that you have for your child.
Husbands are often happier knowing their children are being well cared for and they are less likely to be coming home to disarray and tension.
New friendships are made through mothers groups for both mother and child. I have many happy memories from my times spent socialising with other mothers I met at prenatal groups.


Loosing the social aspect of being in the work force. Many mothers find this very difficult.
Lack of mental stimulation and boredom.
38% of stay at home mothers were found to be obese.
Caring for small children 7 days a week is extremely demanding.
There is little financial freedom.
Many stay at home mothers feel that they are frowned upon and feel guilty about not making financial contributions to the household.

Debbie- You will always have
 a special place in my heart.
I was fortunate enough to be able to choose to stay home with my children. I have always felt very strongly about this. We were blessed by having a wonderful live in housekeeper. This allowed me to be able to work from my home based salon during the morning whilst she took care of my baby girl and my little boy attended preschool. I could then spend my afternoons with my children. This was definately the best of both worlds. Unfortunately when we immigrated to the US, that was no longer an affordable option.
I feel it is equally important to be home when teenage children return from school. Most days they will pass you by with a grunt, but they know that you are there and available to hear about their day and concerns.Teens spending long hours alone are more likely to drink, take drugs and get into trouble. It is particularly important during the long summer break.

The stay at home dad:- 

Whist women have always been the primary caregivers,there were approximately 154,000 fathers who stayed home last year whilst their wives went off to work.
Often father's take a back seat in parenting and feel like
outsiders. Dad's parent differently from mom's and kids benefit from both. Mothers calm, soothe and nurture and dad's tend to interact through shared activities and
experiences.  The rough housing with dad that most kids love, aids in brain development, promotes courage, risk taking and confidence. Physical contact is important too.
Fathers have tremendous power over their daughters.
He is the most important man in her young life and is looked upon as provider and protector. Daughters watch how their father treats their mother, taking what they see into their own marriages. Dad's can impact academic and career success greatly.
Adolescence is a rough time for fathers with many dad's feeling uncomfortable with their daughter's developing sexuality. Rules and boundaries need to change at this stage. Ignore moodiness, antagonism and surliness. I was amused by a comment my doctor recently made.  He said that teenage girls were not human and he didn't intend talking to his until she turned 25!

Little boys idiolize their dads. The relationship needs to be worked on in the early years by showing plenty of affection, love and kindness. The bond you develop will set the course for a lifetime. Men who clashed with their own fathers, will often clash with their sons. Over time the relationship changes and boys rebel. It is vital, particularly during adolesence that fathers put forth a good example.

Whatever your choice may be, before you know it
your children will be heading out the door to college,
getting married and moving away from home.
Enjoy them now. Time rushes by too quickly.

I dedicate today's blog to my friend, 2nd mother to my children and
and an important part of my family for over 22 years.
Debbie Mkize born 27th July 1964
                          died 29th October 2011

Stay healthy, happy and safe.
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