Stay-At-Home Parent: How Does it Affect the Family?
Wed, April 14, 2021

Stay-At-Home Parent: How Does it Affect the Family?

Parents, more than ever, are finding themselves hard put to finding options to source out funds for their home and the children’s various needs amidst growing expenses and rising costs of living / Photo by: Olena Yakobchuk via Shutterstock

 

Raising a child is expensive. And the cost piles up even further if it’s multiple children you are trying to raise. Parents, more than ever, are finding themselves hard put to finding options to source out funds for their home and the children’s various needs amidst growing expenses and rising costs of living. They need to make tough decisions when it comes to working. Among the many debatable topics in raising a family includes whether or not both parents should work or if one should just stay at home to take care of the kids and the house. 

 

By the Numbers

The general profile of families today is quite different from what can be observed in the 1960s. More than 11 million US parents or 18% of their total population were not working outside of the home in 2016. Verywell Family, an online resource centered on family issues, explained that in 1967, 49% of women were stay-at-home moms. Contrary to what many believe, this number is rising again after having bottomed out in previous years. Recent studies have shown that more mothers are staying at home again, although more than two-thirds or 71% of their total number are still working outside of the home. This number is a reversal from the initial decline that reached 49% made up of stay-at-home moms, according to the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan American think tank based in Washington, D.C. that provides information on social issues, public opinion, and demographic trends shaping the United States and the world.

The percentage of stay-at-home moms declined to as low as 29% in 1999 but saw a rise in 2012 and continued to do so until today. In addition, 21% of millennial parents (ages 20 to 35) are stay-at-home, compared to 17% among Gen X parents when they were of the same age in 1999. Among fathers, 6% were at home with their children in 2016 compared to only 3% of the Gen X dads at a comparable age.

The Pew Research Center further shared that the majority or 60% of parents today believe that there should always be one among them to stay at home. But this answer, broken down, varies by religion, ethnicity, and education. More than half of the respondents were not whites but mostly immigrants, described as Hispanics, Protestants, and who haven't attended college. They expressed the opinion that children are better off with one parent always at home. Moreover, the think tank said that most stay-at-home moms surveyed were in a situation of poverty compared to those who were working, 34% in 2012 versus only 14% in 1970. A growing share of stay-at-home moms said they cannot find a job, 6% in 2012 compared to only 1% in 2000. This showed that stay-at-home parents are not able to maximize the earning potential of two individuals and that whether or not a mother would want to work or contribute financially, unemployment is the main hindrance. But the difference is seen in the amount of time spent in housework and childcare in non-working mothers.

Not looking at genders, the number of stay-at-home parents has mostly stayed constant since 1989, with a minimal increase in fathers who stay at home rising from 4% in 1989 to 7% in 2016. Roughly three-fourths of stay-at-home moms and one-fourth of stay-at-home dads care for the family. The changing gender roles have impacted the number of stay-at-home fathers today although, as the numbers showed, not that much. The reason for such a situation has moved from economic, such as unemployment, to specifically a need to care for the children. 

The general profile of families today is quite different from what can be observed in the 1960s. More than 11 million US parents or 18% of their total population were not working outside of the home in 2016 / Photo by: Flamingo Images via Shutterstock

 

Top Reasons

Verywell Family mentioned that a 2014 study found that the benefits of having a parent at home have an effect that goes beyond the early years of a child’s life. The performance in school of 68,000 children was measured in a study, and it was established that it was a lot better and goes all the way to high school compared to those whose parents were both working.

One stay-at-home parent could also mean minimal expenses for childcare. Today, the average cost of daycare stands at $211 per week while a nanny charges around $580. One in five families spends more than a quarter of their income on childcare, estimated at $10,000 per year. The flexibility of schedule is also favorable to the family they won’t have to work around the time of a limited daycare.

On the other side of the coin, according to a Gallup poll, more stay-at-home moms reported having bouts of depression, sadness, and anger although only by a smart margin. The poll revealed that 42% of stay-at-home moms struggled compared to 36% of working moms.

There are different and specific reasons why one parent should stay at home or why both parents need to continue working. But this boils down to preference and the needs of the family, such as if they desperately need additional income or if they much prefer that children grow up with one parent always around. Foresight, planning, and cooperation among parents are needed in such a crucial decision in growing a family.

There are different and specific reasons why one parent should stay at home or why both parents need to continue working. But this boils down to preference and the needs of the family / Photo by: Myroslava Malovana via Shutterstock