Jason's Blog

Should a parent stay at home?

by on Jul.16, 2006, under General

I’ve been thinking about the topic of a parent staying home while the kids are growing up. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and more and more come to conclusion that this is a most important factor. There’s a number of reasons for this, but mostly what it comes down to is I feel that it’s best for the kid(s). Some may disagree with this viewpoint, and that’s fine for them. I’m not in the mood to argue it, but mostly just to state that I’ve realized I view things this way, and it’s very important for me, and in whomeever I marry someday.

Some people may ask why isn’t it really up to whomever I marry? Well, simply put, it’s because to me the needs of the kids outweigh my wife’s or my viewpoints. It’s much more important to me that when I have kids, they turn out well, as that’s the most important action and plan I can make. I think kids who grow up with a parent at home turn out far better, have more guidance, etc. etc. etc. than kids who come home to no supervision, or who are raised by non-parents, such as a TV or daycare. There’s numerous other reasons as to why I view things this way, but just wanted to state this for now.

I’ll leave with this last thought – that it’s not so much the woman’s job, as a parents’ job. This role can be the father or mother – it’s up to the parents to figure that part out. Stephen Kropp for example seems to do an amazing job as a “housedad” and that’s a model I wouldn’t hesitate to follow, should I get married and my wife want to work. Of course, these thoughts are more for the future than any immediate presence, but just some things I’ve seen and read lately make me more and more sure of this viewpoint – that YES, a parent should stay at home while the kids are being raised, at least for an extended period while they’re raised.

6 Comments for this entry

  • alaina

    this actaully tends to be true(not all the time but quite a bit) kids get more love and focus from their parents because most of time when a parent is working long hrs the’re sidetracked or tired and can not focus on whats going on in that childs life(you should see hte kids around here and how they act). bad enfluences from friends. although other side is that your child(depending of friend enfluence)will disobey anyways(lots of the growing up factor in my opinio is how your raised)(parents act around them)

  • Stephen

    Parenting is definitely an interesting endeavor. I’m of the belief that if we’re selfish enough to have our own kids (as opposed to adopting the many already out there) that we also have a responsibility to expose them to many different paths, and to give them the tools necessary to make the planet a better place. My mom stayed at home until she went back to finish college while I was in jr. high and high school, and I’m quite thankful for the sacrifice she made, as it influences me today in how I view staying home with my kids.

    If a parent is to stay home with the kids, I think it helps if the two parents/partners are on the same page, and want pretty close to the same thing. I’m lucky in that respect. In staying home, I get to make choices as to how my kids see the world, and I’m not depending on someone without a real vested interest (or a really distorted one) to form the way my kids think. I also think it’s very important to act the way you want your kids to act, and being around them constantly gives them the most chance to absorb that.

    I absolutely love the fact that if one of my kids is pointing out another kid on the playground to tell me something they did for example, that they never refer to them by their ethnicity – instead they will use their name. I also am proud that when those of a different sexual orientation come by for dinner that the girls treat them as human beings and find their relationship completely normal. I also love the fact that they don’t mindlessly regurgitate one singular religious philosophy to identify and explain everything in the world.

    I would say that we’re (the parents) the absolute biggest influence on our kids, and staying home in their formative years is a very cool gig if you can get it. Our pursuit of money seems to rule almost everything in this country, but there are a few people I know who have actually made the choice (to their distinct financial disadvantage) to be home with their kids. It seems that many parents think they both have to work so that they can give their kids all the stuff that the kids next door have – but I place much more value now on real memories and time my mom spent with me, than anything my parents ever bought.

    There are also many people I know who didn’t have the luxury of a parent being home all the time, and many of them turned out to be great people, so it can definitely go both ways. I like the choice I’ve made though. I occasionally miss working, but not anywhere near enough to compete with one of my daughters running towards me engulfed in the biggest gleam imaginable, as they just discovered something and are about to tell me about it.

  • Jason McIntosh

    Some very good points there Stephen – kids may turn out just fine with both parents working.  Also, it is required that both parents cooperate on having a parent stay home.  Additionally, the focus on kids and memories vs. material items is a key factor.

    Last, I have to mention – the reason this is MY viewpoint (keyword on MY there ), is that I do make enough to provide for a family.  I’m making a decent paycheck, more than enough to pay for such a future.  SO, for me, having a parent stay home is the route I intend to take Now, let me make a note real quick – if my wife made less and wanted to continue to work, I’d have to re-evaluate things, but I’m not sure I could be in a relationship where work was the priority over family.

  • alaina

    mostly, how a child turns out has alot to do with the living situation. personally for me if the husband makes enough money i think its a smart idea for the mother to be a at home mother for awhile(while that child is growing up), you wouldnt have to deal with baby sitters all the time or other form, also you can spend time in that childs life and figure out whats best for them in future. id say though at a certain time in that childs life its perfactly fine for both parents to be working(and at some point your child will become independent more and learn on their own). so although its good to have one parent home awhile they grow up so much of influence is outside of that household to.(gotta love life experiences)

  • Anonymous

    Well, I came looking for Pinnacles pictures, but this is an interesting topic.  I hesitate to leave a comment b/c this is a subject that I dont so much as have thoughts about, but could write a ten page dissertation.

    I believe you are correct that spouses should be on the same page on the working versus stay-at-home parent issue.  First and foremost, children need a stable home and two parents in a strong, committed relationship are the basis upon which a stable home life is built.  It is much easier for two people with similar viewpoints on most major issues (child rearing, spirituality, etc.) to establish and maintain a strong relationship.

    In the end, I dont believe that there is a right or wrong answer to the working versus stay-at-home parent debate.  People will base their opinion on the matter from personal experience and observation, not on clinical studies.  That said, Id rather see children raised by two working parents who are actively involved in their childrens lives than by one stay-at-home parent and one workaholic parent who is essentially absent from the childrens lives. 

    As someone who was raised by a single mother, I absolutely, unequivocally believe that children need TWO active parents.  As Stephen (aka the expert ~the parent~) pointed out, parenthood is a sacrifice of time, finances, and sometimes career.  I dont believe that one parent shouldering the total demands of breadwinner, caretaker, accountant, housecleaner, chauffer and counselor can fully meet the emotional needs of a child. 

    The total demands of parenthood are a struggle for two people to work out.  I think the trick is to for both people start same page and then both be willing to sacrifice as needed.  As two professionals with full time careers, my husband and I have come to the conclusion that we would not be able to adequately parent a child with both of us working fulltime.  We dont have children yet, but I expect that the decision to have a stay-at-home parent is the easy beginning.  Putting our plan into action will be the challenge ~I do expect that a family will be worth the effort ~.

    Well, I managed to write less than ten pages, so Ill close by stating that you shouldnt compromise on such a major issue.  If you believe that children need one stay-at-home parent, that is your definition of family and it is perfectly ok.  I think the important thing is you and your potential wife would have a similar definition of family.  But let me stress that in everything, you must be flexible.  Life circumstances could change, i.e. the breadwinner could lose the one job that supported the family requiring both parents to work two lesser paying jobs to make ends meet.

  • Stephen

    I completely agree with the anonymous poster that kids can turn out to be great people no matter what their parental situation, and I especially agree with the assertion that kids would be better off with two very loving and working partners than a stay at home parent with not enough energy or attention devoted to the child.

    In many a case, it has been shown that early exposure to other kids is beneficial to development, which makes a pretty good case for an early daycare scenario.

    Ally (my daughter who has just turned 4) is starting pre-k in a few weeks – I could most likely teach her (at her speed and pace) everything she would learn academically that she would learn at pre-k, but I cant come close to giving her the experience shell gain from interacting socially with other kids her age – so a very strong case can be made (and has been in more than a few tests) that sending kids to day care doesnt put kids at a disadvantage (depending of course on the day care, and the parental alternative) at all. Im really not looking forward to the day I drop her off though – Weve been together every day for four years, and turning over the keys while being very beneficial and necessary, certainly wont be very easy.

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