8 Comments

  1. Brian V. Menard, Author August 27, 2013 at 12:38 am .

    Very interesting topic and article, Ruth! My opinion is that this ultimately should be a matter of personal choice, however, that being said, the well being of the children also needs to be carefully considered as well as the happiness of the Mothers. . There are many pros and cons to both choices. I don’t believe either choice is right or wrong, but needs to be determined by each family.

  2. Ruth Mancini August 27, 2013 at 6:32 pm .

    Absolutely Brian. I added the caveat that the care provided for our children must be good enough – and that includes the care we give as parents, in making the right choices for our children. But if we are talking about relative happiness, as these studies are, then I think that having a happy parent makes for a happy child and that happiness comes in part from living the life that is right for you. There is no reason in this day and age why we shouldn’t all have those choices open to us – whether we are men or women, parents or not. Our energies should be focused – as Lisa Belkin suggests – on ensuring that the framework is in place to help parents who are struggling with the work/home balance – and to help those that are struggling with life in general, come to that. We all deserve to be happy.

  3. Brian V. Menard, Author August 28, 2013 at 9:54 am .

    I agree that either way the parents choose, they deserve to be happy. I know some parents who wouldn’t dream of not having a stay at home parent with their children. I also know of many parents who would be absolutely miserable if they had to be at home all the time. This is why it’s so important that people can be allowed to choose for themselves without feeling guilty about outside opinion. I have eight children who are all grown up now. My wife was a Proofreader for a large publishing firm when we first met. We agreed to go the “Stay at home” parent route before we were engaged. My wife was a stay at home Mom for the rest of her life. We did home schooling with all of our kids and I was able to do a lot of extra activities with my sons that this lifestyle afforded us. In 1997 my wife passed away from a very vicious form of cancer and I took over as the stay at home parent. My wife always loved being home with the kids. It was a lot more difficult for me because I was accustomed to working outside the home in a regular career. I would have to say that I fall into the category of parents who would be much happier working outside of the home and leaving the kids in the hands of daycare or a Nanny. However, my situation was such that I was concerned about the emotional damage that leaving the kids without either parent after having had a stay at home Mom all of their lives. That’s why I chose to stay with them and do the best I could. I can tell you from experience that working an outside job is much easier and a lot more fun.
    Being a stay at home Dad has not been a great time for me. But if I had to do it all over again, I’d still do it the same way. However, that’s not to say that I don’t understand why people would choose to do otherwise and maintain a career. If they feel comfortable doing so, more power to them.
    Six of my adult children now have kids of their own. So far, most of them have opted for having a stay at home mom. But I suspect that may change when the kids reach school age. It’s a different world we live in than when I was growing up. When I was young, most households had only one income. These days, financial pressures mandate that two incomes are often a necessity. As a result, I suspect that stay at home parents will continue to decline. As for me? I think I’m ready to take a break and get back into the workforce. :)

  4. Lizzie August 29, 2013 at 8:54 pm .

    Great blog again Ruth! I’ve recently become a stay at home mum, having quit a job I really was not enjoying. And I feel alot happier and less stressed now. I hope to go back to work when both kids are at school (my eldest starts this September), and being at home is by no means the easy option. But it’s less complicated for me. And I think my kids and husband are all happier with a happier mum. If one member of the family is unhappy, it affects everyone else in the family.

  5. Ruth Mancini August 30, 2013 at 8:30 am .

    Thanks so much for your comments Brian and Lizzie. I very much admire the choices that both of you have made. You have clearly made a lot of sacrifices Brian and considered the needs of your children very carefully. What you have both said emphasises the fact that it needs to be a personal choice taking into account what’s right for your family. I’m glad you have mentioned that it’s not easy raising children full-time. I have chosen to be a working mother – as in working outside the home – but it doesn’t stop me feeling cross when I hear people expressing the view about women that “she’s had children so that she doesn’t have to work”. I think that view usually comes from people who have not had children, or at least from people who have never looked after their children full-time. All mothers are working mothers. Being a parent is a 24 hour on-call job with no holiday or sick pay.

  6. Mary Rowen March 13, 2014 at 5:41 pm .

    I agree, Ruth, that women should stop judging each other. I don’t know why they do. As a mom who’s tried a number of solutions–going back to work after having children, staying home full time, working part-time from home, and now attempting to be a full-time writer while the kids are at school–I feel that everyone needs to figure out what works best for them and their children. Also, different kids need someone home with them at different phases of their lives. My neighbor, for example, worked full-time while her kids were in elementary school, but started making sure she was home in the afternoons when they started middle school. Other people I know have done just the opposite. There’s no one solution, and all we can do is our best.

    1. Ruth Mancini (@RuthMancini1) March 17, 2014 at 12:30 pm .

      Thanks Mary. I’ve actually made some changes since writing this post and am working from home writing full-time at present, like you, while the kids are at school. One of the things I want to achieve during this time is a toilet training programme for my eldest child, who is disabled. I’m hoping he’s ready but it will be hard work (not to mention the amount of washing there will be!) and I need to be at home for this. So, as you say, we adapt to different needs at different times.

      1. Mary Rowen March 27, 2014 at 3:54 pm .

        For Sure, Ruth. Best of luck with the toilet training. I’m really looking forward to reading Swimming Upstream.

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