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Staying Home with the Kids vs. Going to Work

At some point every parent is faced with a decision to make. Do they continue working, slaving away hours for monetary compensation or do they try to trim the fat off the family budget and make being a stay at home parent work? The battle over the best way to raise children whether at home or while working is one that will never be answered completely. It is as old and weathered as the debate over whether the chicken or the egg came first. Staying home with the kids or going to work; which is best for you? What every family has to consider in order to make a valid decision that they will feel good about is which option will work the best for them. Since every family dynamic is different – there is no one answer that works for everyone.

Sometimes people know long before they have children whether or not they are the kind of person that can stay home to raise kids or whether they are the kind of person that thrives in the fast paced business environment. Obviously, the best solution is that people would be able to hold onto their jobs, make compromises and be able to commit to being both a full time parent and a full time employee. Many large organizations are making strides to make this a reality; understanding that the perfect balance between home and family leads to better production, less turnover and less stress for their employees which unequivocal leads to a better bottom line for them. Even with progress – much more needs to be done. Options like job sharing, shortened work weeks, flexible hours, and telecommuting for some is the perfect solution. Yet for others the costs of day care, struggling to get time off when children are sick or in need and exhaustion make staying home the best solution. For millions of other families the decision is made by financial obligations. What people on both side of the fence need to develop is a sense of liberalness for those families who have decided against their personal beliefs. It isn’t a matter of right or wrong.

Staying Home With the Kids or Going to Work- How to Decide

If you are faced with the decision to stay home or go to work; consider the following questions before making concrete efforts to support your choice.

  1. If you go to work, will the costs of child care consume the extra money you will be making? If not; how will you effectively handle days when the children are sick, holidays and other times that will entail you missing work. Is your employer stringent or lax on their paid time off guidelines?
  2. If you stay home will you be able to budget monthly expenses in a manner that will still enable you to save around $50-$100 a week? Will you be able to afford routine living expenses and which areas of the budget are you willing to make cuts in?
  3. Do you feel extremely guilty about working; often to the extent that you use props, gifts and a lack of proper discipline to handle your children’s behavior? Are you constantly in the mode of a “make-up” when it comes to you and your children?
  4. Do you feel that staying home would personally deprive you of the passion that you have for your own life. Do you feel that staying home would not be challenging or suitably use your skills and education?
  5. Do you feel that staying home with the children would be difficult, test your patience to the extent that you would not enjoy your children? Do you feel that your children are exposed to more stimulating activities during their day when you are at work then you personally could provide at home?
  6. In either case whether staying home or working – Are your children’s needs – physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual being met? Are your children happy most of the time; do they cry when you leave; are they confident in your love for them?
  7. Have you looked into or thought about opportunities that would offer monetary value and more time with the kids, slashing child care expenses to a point that the choice would be lucrative and support your desires to stay home.
  8. Is your partner supportive of the decision you have made? Do you and your partner often have disagreements about working too much, or about “getting” to stay home with the kids all day? Is your partner willing to help make the decision work either by working more or by helping out more with the kids?
  9. What would you gain from your decision either way? What would your children gain? Make a comprehensive list of pros and cons and weigh the differences. Consider your emotional needs as well and be brutally honest. What would you lose from your decision?
  10. If you had to consider nothing else but the way you feel deep down inside – which decision would you make? Consider nothing but your deepest internal feelings – not money, guilt etc.

Staying home with the children versus going to work is often a decision that will be made several times in your life. So many parents believe that in the first years they will stay home and return to work once their children hit school only to realize that as children grow older they actually need your physical presence more. Many try to return to work during the teen years only to find their children begin ending up in trouble and plenty more go to work right after their children are born only to be filled with regret, remorse and guilt for missing out on so many aspects of their child’s life. No matter what your decision is; you must be able to feel good and justified in it in order to provide your children with the type of parenting that you want for them.

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