Parenting is a journey. It’s a learning process, especially if you’re raising your first child. One of the most significant decisions that new parents face is whether to continue working or to stay home with the kids. With the cost of childcare continuously rising, parents find themselves wondering if it’s worth it to miss out on bonding time with their little ones to bring home extra cash.
The Cost of Childcare
Recent reports state that childcare for just one child in America can exceed $9,000 a year. The United States Census reports that the median household income is just shy of $62,000 annually. That means that nearly 15% of a family’s income potentially goes to childcare- and that’s just for one kid.
Currently, reports state about 20% of families choose to have a stay-at-home parent. Other surveys say the number may be creeping closer to 30%.
It might seem like a dream to have unlimited time with your child, but new stay-at-home parents face just as many challenges as those who work. Here are the things that no one tells you about staying home full-time.
You Might Face Judgement
Unfortunately, we live in a world where no matter what you do, someone else will have an opinion. According to one study, almost half of all stay-at-home mothers state they feel judged by others for their choice to leave the workforce. When this happens, it’s important to learn how to deal with parenting criticism. What works for your family is a personal decision between you and your co-parent.
You Might Feel Guilty
In addition to feeling the judgment of others, you may feel guilty for staying home yourself. You may feel like you aren’t contributing to the economic success of your family.
When this happens, remember that you are pulling a weight of your own— full-time childcare, and often, the majority of household responsibilities. One man did the math, and it turns out that if a stay-at-home parent were to add up the market price of all the work they do, they would earn over $162,500 a year.
You Might Have to Re-Evaluate Your Lifestyle
While many families decide to have one stay-at-home parent due to the cost of childcare, you also face the loss of one income source. You may have to re-evaluate your current lifestyle, looking at luxury items you can cut from your budget or things like how to save money on groceries. You may have to take a hard look at your shopping wants versus shopping needs.
It Might Be the Most Rewarding Thing You Ever Do
Time is the one thing that we can never get back. The memories you make with your child, milestones you get to experience, and the laughs and snuggles you encounter along the way matter. All of this may be the most rewarding part of your life.
It Might Not Be for You
Alternately, other stay-at-home parents may ultimately decide that it’s not for them after months or years. And that’s totally okay. Remember, every family is different, and your needs as an individual are still important as a parent. Parents need self-care too, and that entails making sure that your emotional, mental, and physical needs are all met. Your family’s decision is just that – one that only you and your partner can make together.