The family dynamic and how it works within modern society has changed a lot, which is bloody good news, I say. There are still a lot of stay-at-home parents (mums in particular), but the equation is different. Nowadays, it’s very difficult for anyone apart from perhaps those at the highest levels of their career, to support a family on just one income. If you're expecting a little one soon, you've probably considered exactly the following kinds of factors to see if becoming a stay-at-home parent is not only right for you, but if it's feasible at all.
The dreaded financial situation
It's no secret that it's becoming increasingly difficult for families to live on one income alone. The reality now is that most can't manage it, even when one is a stay-at-home parent. Sometimes, one partner might take on a part-time job or find remote work that allows them to take care of parental duties while still making some money for the family. This is a really difficult balance to maintain and you'll need the support of those around you if this is what you plan to do. Of course, family budgeting becomes more important than ever, so ensure that you and your spouse are on the page regarding finances. If you don't have one already, I'd recommend considering a joint account so neither one of you has to serve as gatekeeper for access to the money.
Securing yourself in the future
It’s not something that any one of us wants to think about, but it can help to consider different eventualities. In the event that a marriage / relationship doesn't work out in the way that you would hope, would you still be secure? A stay at home mum divorce can be all kinds of difficult. You could ensure that you’re able to get the assistance you need in maintaining your own financial security in the event of the breakup, as losing a spouse (for some people) can mean a huge loss of income. Of course, given that stay-at-home parents take on the majority of domestic and child-rearing labor in most relationships, a good lawyer can help you avoid that.
The question of loneliness
It's very common to experience feelings of loneliness or isolation when you spend most of your time at home with children. This is definitely something I've experienced myself, and it doesn't mean you love your children any less. Not getting as much adult company as you might have had while actively working can be tough, and many parents felt this especially during the recent lockdown. Of course, children can be wonderful company, but you can also look at ways to ensure you keep your connection to family and friends while raising kids at home. I'm a big fan of blogs, podcasts, WhatsApp groups and some social media platforms when getting out and about is not the easiest option to get that adult company!
Impact on family life
Stay-at-home parenthood can certainly be challenging, but it’s definitely not all negative. Research shows that children can benefit greatly from having a parent at home with them and building bonds and connections every day is an absolute gift, even if it doesn't always feel like it. Being at home more of the time, gives you extra chances to catch those all-important milestones, and, if nothing else, can save the soaring costs of childcare. All in all, family life can be greatly improved by having a parent in the home raising the kids - but it's got to be right for YOU.
If you're thinking about having children, or if you’re expecting, I'd highly recommend thinking through the above factors. There are many different ways to do it, and being a stay-at-home parent certainly isn’t for everyone . . . but for some people, it can work beautifully.
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