It’s no surprise that the job of a stay at home parent is one of the most undervalued careers in the US today. As someone who has chosen to stay at home fulltime, I am here to speak out about the immeasurable value a stay at home parent has.
I am not writing this post to devalue the working parent in any way, but instead, I am writing this as a voice for the stay at home parent who rarely if ever receives recognition for their hard work.
Sometimes, as a stay at home parent, we question if what we do day in and day out is doing anything, or whether it’s important enough to sacrifice a second income…Well, I am here to reassure you that your job is the most important! I understand that not everyone has the choice to stay at home, but I also know multiple families who made great sacrifices so that one parent can be at home raising kids, so I do think that the choice is yours (to an extent).
This topic is near and dear to my heart as a 20 something millennial stay at home mom living in a somewhat selfish self-driven society.
A stay at home parent takes care of everything from chauffeur, to psychologist, money manager, chef and maid all while making sure tiny humans are alive and thriving. According to Salary.com a stay at home parent can easily clock in an average 94-hour work week with an estimated salary at $113,000.
Just to put this into perspective, a physician works a 54-hour work week earning on average $150,000. This is crazy to me. Again, this is not to devalue the importance or hard work of a physician but more so to show the number of hours of unpaid hard work a stay at home parent does in comparison to another career.
The sad thing about this projected salary, is that it has dropped over the years. This is due to stay at home parents feeling undervalued and turning in their role at home for a high paying job instead of the most important job: raising their kids.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but life is supposed to change when you choose to have a child. Your world is no longer revolving around you but is more importantly about raising up good human beings. Kids weren’t meant to be raised by a business model dedicated to watching, feeding, entertaining and disciplining them; no, in my opinion, this is the parent’s responsibility.
Home is a safe place where a child can learn who they are and discover the unique qualities, talents, and personalities they have to offer the world. By removing a child from this foundation and away from the adults who should be helping them discover this, we are doing a disservice to our children.
A recent article from The Spruce stated, “two studies state a parent being at home with the kids during the early stages is better for the kids than them being in childcare full-time. The studies from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Institute of Child Development of the University of Minnesota found that children who spend a large amount of their day in daycare experienced higher stress levels and aggression as opposed to those who stayed home.”
If this doesn’t convince you do hang up that suit and get knee deep in diapers and tantrums, I don’t know what will. The value of a parent staying at home to raise the kiddos immeasurable, and according to research is better for the overall wellbeing of a kiddo.
The Time is Short
Trust me, I am in the trenches of raising little ones and I know full well, the work, patience, loneliness, and frustration that comes with being in this stage of life with littles. But guess what, the seemingly long days of tantrums, “no don’t touch that” and potty training, are ceasing.
And I hate to break it to you, but these days are not about us, it’s about making sure our children have the foundation they need to be successful as they grow up. It's about being present and available to our kids and teaching them the morals and values we deem important.
I have some really great days and some really hard ones that cause me to leave the room and take a breather, but in the end, I know that my days with at home with Millie are slowly counting down. In just a few short years, she’ll be heading off to school and will slowly need me less and less.
Someday, my time will be up and my job of shaping and molding Millie into the women she is supposed to be will be done, and I will be longing for the days that were messy, long and exhausting. So, in the hard moments, hours and days of being a stay at home parent, I try and remember that truth, and you should too because the value of taking the time to stay at home is ceasing.
Balance is important in every aspect of life, especially in parenting. Of course, there is value in staying at home to raise kids, but there is also value in making sure they are socialized and given opportunities to meet and interact with other people.
Take advantage of becoming part of a mom group, the public library or other clubs or organizations that will expose your child to fun learning experiences. Being at home with your kids does not mean you are sheltering them, it means you are the one raising them.
But for everyone’s well-being and sanity, build in some activities outside the four walls of your home to give balance to your and your child's life. This balance also goes for making sure you get time to yourself. This can look different for everyone, maybe it’s a few hours a week, or an evening with some friends, but taking the time to take care of yourself will only make you a better you and a better parent to your kids.
Whether you are reading as a stay at home parent, a working parent or maybe not a parent at all, I think it’s important to understand the value, hard work, devotion and selflessness that goes into being a stay at home parent. I know I can get caught up in questioning if my role at home is valuable especially when society, family or friends can cause us to question it.
So if you are a stay at home parent I hope you feel valuable, important and proud of the role you get to have. If you are a working parent, I hope you feel inspired to possibly making a career change. And if you have no kids at all, I want to encourage you to hug a parent and tell them how good of a job they are doing, because no parent can hear that too much!
Keep on keeping on Mama and Papa Bears, and know that you are not alone in the trenches of parenting!
Abby is a Mom and an amazing team member of Baja Baby. She lives in Colorado with her husband Alex, their beautiful daughter Amelia Grace, baby boy Amos Lee and Maple the dog. You can find Abby on Instagram by clicking here.
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