Most parents believe in mindful parenting, but it might not always be easy. As parents, you need to spend considerable time analyzing personal needs as well as the needs of your family. And in most situations, one of the hardest decisions parents make is whether one or both parents should work once the baby arrives. Your kids and family situation is unique and your decision should be a reflection of what makes most sense for you and your family and not just what other parents around you are doing.
So do you or do you not go back to work? This area involves a tremendous amount of debate. Women and men who work often feel guilty about not being able to spend enough time with their children. And those who are stay-at-home moms or dads feel isolated and resentful sometimes given that they’re at home for most of the day. As a parent, whether you or your partner should stay home is a decision your family needs to make together. For many families, both parents not going back to work is not even a choice, there are plenty of people in the U.S. who cannot manage their household without a dual income.
Whichever route new parents take, there always seems to be an unnecessary opinion floating around it. People become skeptical of moms who get back to work after their maternity leave, or question career goals and ambitions for those moms who decide to take an indefinite break from work to raise their kids. And when it comes to men who adopt the ‘stay at home dad’ title – we’re all well aware of the inner judgments that come with that.
The reality is that each family has their own personal way of functioning and this is something we cannot and must not judge. Becoming a new mom or dad is overwhelming and how people grow into this role and choose to manage and maneuver themselves through it is something that is completely personal to their situation. Being a parent is no easy task, overnight you become 100% responsible for the life of an entire human being! And every single thing you do is a reflection of what kind of person you’re raising and will eventually share with the world. Good parenting isn’t just about sacrifice; it’s about showing up with intention and meaning so that your children can learn to do the same.
If your family is lucky enough to have a choice about whether one parent can stay at home, the goal here is to give you a framework for how you could go about making this super important decision.
Structuring the Decision
How exactly should you think about it? Consider these three components:
1) What is best for your child?
2) What do you want to do?
3) What are the implications of your choice on the family budget?
Make a Choice
Data suggests that there is absolutely no evidence to prove that having a stay-at-home parent positively or negatively affects child development. Some working moms have a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment and can serve as role models for their kids. While on the other hand, some moms might feel overburdened with trying to balance their work and family life and by bringing that frustration home, their children could negatively be affected by it.
Some people love being with their baby every minute and cannot imagine being away. Some people eagerly look forward to returning to work on Monday morning, even if they love their kids just as much.
In the end, it comes down to what works for your family, which includes thinking about your budget but also thinking about what you want. Being honest with yourself about what you really want is very, very important.
- There is little evidence suggesting that having a stay-at-home parent after the parental leave period has good or bad consequences for children. It is a personal choice.
- Decisions about whether to have a parent stay home should consider your preferences, along with consequences for your family budget in both the long and the short term.
- Stop judging people!
By acknowledging the fact that the choice of having to stay home or not is just an option, with factors pushing you in various directions, we can perhaps start to move away from the judgmental attitude that seems to crop up on both sides of the discussion.