I'm going to go out on a limb here and just say it. I think all moms should stay home with their kids. Now, I am also going to say that I understand that it isn't always as black and white. This society is made up of a variety of family structures. I sympathize with those who truly cannot stay home with their children (extreme circumstances including single parent families, husbands who are unemployed or disabled and the like). While some of the information presented on DIYparenting may not pertain to you specifically, I would encourage you to read on nonetheless, if only as a means of educating yourself to the importance of making the most of your every minute with your child.
Having said that, I also understand that there are a slew of mothers who are using their God-given gifts in today's workforce. And, again, while all of the information presented here may not be 100% applicable to each unique family, I earnestly hope that this site reiterates the equally important calling of motherhood.
With all of the niceties out of the way... I continue!
Throughout the U.S., 72% of mothers with a child over the age of one works outside of the home, according to Workforce Moms. That figure decreases slightly to 55% when the mother has a child under the age of one; and merely drops to 50% when the mother is working regardless of the age of their child.
It is no secret that, in a suffering economy, American families find themselves in a financial pinch quite regularly. However, I hesitate to say-- and will not say-- that the possibility of mothers staying home to care for their families and homes is impossible. Women are called to be "keepers at home" (Titus 2:5). And I sincerely believe that God will provide for families who choose to uphold such truths. This does not mean we become complacent, blowing money on meaningless possessions and disregarding stewardship. Instead we should scrutinize our spending, seek to live simply and prayerfully consider all things.
Likewise, it is so important to recognize that our precious little rascals are highly impressionable and highly influenced especially in the early years of their lives. A strong home influence in the early years is nothing new to researchers. In fact the topic was researched by Maslow (1970), Erikson (1963) and Piaget (1967). Education publisher Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall elaborates that the fore mentioned researchers all focused on the ever-important need for attachment and environmental support of infants and toddlers.
Obviously every family situation is unique, but here's a hypothetical illustration of how a working mother's attention might be divided:
A five-day work week consists of 120 hours
During that time young children are sleeping for 60 hours (12 hours/day, 5 days/week)
which also means that they are awake for 60 hours
If a mother is gone 45 hours each week (full time employment, plus commute)
but her child is sleeping 10 of those hours (2 hour nap time each day)
she is apart from her child for 35 awake hours each week
35 awake hours apart out of the total 60 awake hours results in the mother being apart from her child 58% of the time, during the five-day work week
How can we carry out our parental and Biblical duties of training our children (Proverbs 22:6) when we are absent for 58% of our child's awake time during a typical, Monday through Friday work week? Something has got to give and it shouldn't be at the expense of our children!
I am fully aware of the plethora of reliable childcare facilities caring for many American children each day. I am also aware of the fact that many children are being cared for by loving grandparents and reputable nannies. There are many ways in which our children can be cared for, but would you not agree that if you want something done right, you do it yourself!? And what I think is right for my children (for instance, the right amount of time spent in front of the television) will likely look completely different to someone else!
I've only just scratched the surface on both the importance of staying home with our children as well as the solution to achieving more time with our children. Please take these realities to heart! My goal is to elaborate on ways to increase our time spent at home (as well as living within a tight budget), offer more research into the value of the DIYparent and provide support for all moms-- past, present & future!