Whether you’re a stay-at-home mum or a super hard working business mum, you’ll never satisfy anyone. So the best solution is to go with what’s appropriate for your situation and your environmental and financial circumstances. Experts recommend that early childhood development should have no substitute for the nurturing of stay-at-home parental care.
However following two groundbreaking studies, one conducted by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the other by the Institute of Child Development of the University of Minnesota, found that “kids who spent all day in daycare had higher levels of stress and more aggression than kids cared for at home. Follow-up research in 2010 confirmed these results, showing the continued negative impact of low-quality daycare on young children, even after they reached adolescence.”
But other studies contradict these findings, and most experts believe that the quality, not the type of childcare, is what’s most important. A great nanny, babysitter, daycare centre worker, relative, or other caregivers can make sure your child gets the stimulation and affection she needs to grow and thrive.
BabyCenter gives a lowdown of the pros and cons of being a stay at home parent:
As a stay-at-home parent, you’ll know that your child is being cared for by someone who’s going to be around for a long time, not a caregiver who might take another job next month. And you’ll be directly supervising your child’s care, making sure it’s in a relaxed, nurturing environment.
And you’ll be there to see all those “firsts,” which can be incredibly satisfying. Says mom Molly Olsen, “Staying home with Ezra allowed me to really focus on him and be in touch with his emotional and physical milestones. I’m glad it was me and not a teacher who saw him sit up or laugh for the first time.”
Margie Johnson, who’s been a stay-at-home mom for 24 years with seven kids, says staying home has fulfilled her more than anything else could. “It’s the most rewarding ‘career’ you could ever have,” she says. “You’re irreplaceable to your child, and you’re making an ongoing personal investment that will outlive you.”
(Johnson is on the board of directors of the Family and Home Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging mothers or fathers to stay home with their children.)
For some families, it’s actually less expensive for one parent to stay home than it would be to pay for childcare.
And if you can afford it, you may find that staying home reduces your stress level. Many parents decide to stay home after trying unsatisfactorily to balance work and family. The long hours and the feeling of cutting too many corners leave them feeling burned out. Staying home will give you more time to spend with your children, maintain your home, and help keep your family life running smoothly.