A few weeks ago I ran a couple of posts, rich mom, poor mom and the myth of the parent that NEEDS to work that inspired a fair amount of comments. Most of the comments were in agreement, but a few people did take exception with my reasoning and I decided that it would be a good idea to let some of the arguments in favor of working parents be heard. I asked plonkee of plonkee money to write a response based on a comment she left, and fortunately she agreed. She has a terrific blog of her own (here is the feed) and it’s well worth checking out for an English perspective on personal finance. Let us know what you think!
A little while ago brip blap posted a couple of times, with a very positive view of one parent in a two parent family not working outside the home.
Based on my own childhood experiences, I’m not sure that I can agree with the blanket assertion that one parent (either one) staying at home is always a good thing.
When I was young, my mum stayed at home and didn’t work; in our neighbourhood, this was pretty normal. My closest siblings and I had a very happy childhood and we’ve all grown up to be well-adjusted and successful adults.
However, I have some other siblings who are quite a bit younger. By the time they were born, my mother had gone back to work and they were left in the care of a childminder (family daycare) as very small children. They have had a happy childhood and have grown up to be well-adjusted and successful adults.
What is the difference between our childhoods? From our point of view, almost nothing. From the point of view of my mother, her experiences are worlds apart. She didn’t enjoy staying at home and looking after us, craving non-child related adult company, and a professional life. This didn’t affect us but she was much, much happier when she went back to work.
Now, it is true that my dad could have stayed at home instead. Aside from probably not enjoying subverting stereotypes, I’m pretty certain that, although he loves us dearly, he would have enjoyed it even less than my mum.
I’m pretty sure that my parents aren’t the only people with kids who don’t or wouldn’t enjoy staying at home full-time. And there are lots of adults now went to daycare as kids without adverse affects.
Being a stay at home parent works well if that is what you want and makes you happy. If it doesn’t, then it’s not a good choice. After all, parents’ happiness matters too.
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