Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Occupation: Homemaker

In this day and age, women are pressed to go out and bring home their own share of the bacon. The household has become a dual income situation. Couples are bringing in more income which betters the finances. However, is it truly better for the family as a whole?

Until the Women’s Rights Movement and through most of the century, there was no taboo against a wife and mother staying home to take care of the house and raise the children. It was expected! Well, if your man’s bringing home the bacon, the least you could do is clean house. I’ve heard the grumbling about the unfairness of this arrangement. After working even a short while in this full time job and seeing my mom the homemaker’s schedule on a normal day, I’d say each job is pretty equal. My mom stayed home and raised us, never going back to work except to take in kids to babysit. Raising and cleaning up after three children is a lot of work.

Speaking of children, how would they react to both parents working? It seems like it would harm the kids, especially young ones, to have only “nighttime” parents. The first few years are integral to a child’s development, which means it’s crucial that either or both of parents are there in the child’s life to mold and teach and bond with the child. In my situation, my older sister and I developed a wonderful relationship with our mother. Of course puberty threw us a detour when mom just wasn’t cool anymore, but overall having my mom here when I needed her was a blessing. Even to this day she’s there to be called upon. In my dad’s defense, he is the more easy-going of the two, so when he got home the reins were loosened.

There are a few alternate options that can go along with being a homemaker. This would of course assume that you can find free time! If you can find time, pick a hobby! There are several to choose from that can benefit your sanity and offer a chance for group and one-on-one projects. Another good option is to return to work once the kids are in a stable school environment, if you think you’re ready for it. No pressure though! Or if you’re not ready to return to the workforce but still want to make a little spending cash, offer to start babysitting other kids. My mom did this for several of our relatives for several years and managed to put that aside for saving (which helped her buy a new car after the storm!).

Now there will always be setbacks with your decision to be a homemaker. Obviously with one parent working, there will be a… well, not a shortage of money but not a surplus of it either. Just plan your budget wisely and it’ll be fine. My family made it! Another problem is an overbearing mother! Just because you stay home all the time doesn’t mean you have to do everything for your kids. It’s very important that your kids learn independence before leaving the nest because that can affect their ability to cope in the wide world. Most importantly, moms, don’t let yourself go! Put on that dash of makeup, borrow a yoga dvd from the library, walk around the block, involve the kids and hubby. There’s no excuse!

So, see, it’s not so bad being a homemaker. There are so many positives to it, mainly being the time you spend with your kids. Just watch out for the problems and you’ll be fine. It’s time to be proud to be a stay-at-home-mom again!