Forget The Haters, There's Nothing Wrong With Being A Stay-At-Home Parent

For a major part of my childhood, my dad was something of an anomaly among men we knew in that he used to stay home to watch over the house and me while my mom was working elsewhere.

This was the result of a mutual arrangement between them that whoever found work first would focus on their careers while the other partner served as a stay-at-home parent. And while this was an arrangement I was very comfortable with as a kid, it's hard for a mind that young to understand just what was required when you do a job like that.

But while he returned to the workforce when I grew up, I'm not sure that either of us would have traded those years for any opportunity. And for those who can afford such an arrangement and feel the most comfortable within it, you shouldn't have to feel pressured to do any differently.

When we look at bygone eras, the problem has more to do with what women were expected to do rather than what they did do.

The problem wasn't that women were working hard as teachers, nurses, or homemakers during the 1950s, but rather that the societal expectations and glass ceilings they tended to come across often stood in the way of doing much else.

So it was undeniably a major win when trailblazing women spearheaded a difficult and in some ways ongoing cultural shift away from these conventions.

But at the same time, it's hard not to notice that this can sometimes come at the cost of looking down on women who still take on these "traditional" roles.

And if anyone's looking down on stay-at-home parents for "having it easy" or "doing nothing all day," they're sorely mistaken.

In one case, a stay-at-home mom heard the latter claim from her boyfriend and made a video showing him exactly what she does all day.

And not only did it involve a significant amount of tiring housework, but that work had to essentially be done around two energetic, messy children who gave the impression that taking care of them could feel like herding cats at times.

Let's just say he didn't make that mistake again.

With that in mind, the stay-at-home parent lifestyle is one you have to want to lead.

For instance, one mom spends every night getting everything ready for her family the next day, which sometimes means she doesn't get to bed until midnight.

But even on those days, she stays committed to waking up at 4:30 am to make her husband breakfast.

To be frank, this sounds like a nightmarish scenario to me and it did to many commenters, but she's made a point of insisting that she's happy living this way and that her husband would help more if she asked for it.

Why fault her for that?

And while finding work can be hard at the best of times, it's a little easier to re-enter the workforce than it used to be should the day come when the stay-at-home lifestyle no longer works for you.

Pexels | Christina Morillo

I've mentioned that my dad was able to find a job after I had grown up enough to be home unsupervised and he still works for the same organization to this day.

But of course, that depends on finding managers and recruiters who don't have any weird hang-ups about a work history gap that centered around homemaking.

However, institutions like LinkedIn are starting to take notice of the problems with this way of thinking and this year saw them add "stay-at-home" parent to their list of official job titles.

So while I'm not pretending it will necessarily be easy to find work if you decide this is no longer for you, I'm also saying that homemaking isn't some trap that has to prevent you from pursuing any goal you want.

And those who want to deride people for being stay-at-home parents are only showing their ignorance.

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