Making the decision to be a stay-at-home mom is one of the best things that a mother can do for her young children. While the decision is ultimately a personal choice recent research has found that having a parent stay home to take care of the kids and home makes a big difference in the learning and development of a child.
After reading this article you will have a better understanding of how stay-at-home mothers raise children with better school performance, less stress on their mental health, and other benefits that make significant differences in not just the early years of a child but forward into adulthood.
Are Stay-At-Home Moms Better Than Working Moms?
If you are a working mom faced with the big decision of whether or not you should pursue stay-at-home parenting or continue as a working mother it is important to first understand that this decision is ultimately an individual choice based on several factors.
For many families having one parent stay at home is the best option due to childcare costs. Recent inflation has made the cost of child care so high that in many cases the child care is higher than the income from a full time job.
While there are certainly numerous research backed benefits for children the final decision has to be made based on your family life, financial situation, and if you have a personal desire to remain at an office job and pursue career advancement.
One of the biggest challenges a mother may face in making this choice is the peer pressure that comes from both sides of aisle. However, it is very important to do what is best for your family. You are not a better or worse mother based on your decision to either follow career goals, stay at home, or even find a work-life balance that includes any work-at-home jobs.
Stay At Home Mom Benefits
According to Pew Research Center‘s Social and Demographic Trends, 60% of Americans say a child is better off with at least one parent at home. The same study found that in the past decade the number of women choosing to stay home with their children has been on the rise. In 1999 Pew Research Center recorded that 23% of all mother’s were stay-at-home moms. A more recent study from 2012 showed that number had risen to 29%.
Some information from this study that is particularly interesting is how public opinion has shifted. As more research on child development has been conducted and a better understanding of the benefits a stay at home parent has the public opinion has grown more supportive of stay-at-home moms.
It is wonderful to see how the more informed we are about the impact of having a parent at home with the children the more supportive we, as a society and culture, have become.
Benefits Beyond Childhood
The benefits that a child receives from having their mother stay at home is seen well beyond the toddler and elementary years. A study conducted by the Norweigen government stated, “We find a significant positive treatment effect on older siblings’ tenth-grade GPA, and this effect seems to be largely driven by mother’s reduced labor force participation and not by changes in family income or father’s labor force participation.”
Essentially, the researchers found that the children had an increased educational performance as high school-aged children. The hard work that a stay at home mom does is a benefit to her children even as they become teenagers and adults. This is good news. There are plenty of benefits of being a stay at home mom and these benefits do not stop as the child grows up.
Improved Mental Health
A study by the Society For Research In Child Development looked at the cortisol levels in young children (ages 3-4.5) over the course of the day. The data was compared between children who attended daycare and children who remained at home with their parent.
“Compared to cortisol levels at home, increases were noted in the majority of children (63%) at day care, with 40% classified as a stress response. Observations at day care revealed that intrusive, overcontrolling care was associated with the cortisol rise. For girls, the cortisol rise was associated with anxious, vigilant behavior, while for boys the rise was associated with angry, aggressive behavior.”
Compared to children who were cared for at home by their mother the children in the daycare were 63% more likely to experience stress. Out of those who did experience stress when being cared for outside of the home 40% had level of cortisol high enough to indicate a stress response. These were very young children between the ages of 3-4.5 who were daily exhibiting a stress response.
According to the American Psychological Association a long term stress response will affects all systems of the body including the musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, nervous, and reproductive systems. This is in no way ideal for a child’s physical or emotional development, especially during such crucial and formative years.
Increased Academic Performance
In 2014 a study on child educational performance found an increase in school performance all the way to high school-aged children.
Homeschoolers, who are instructed through parent-led home-based education, generally score 15 to 30 percentile points above public school students on standardized tests and achieve above-average scores on the ACT and SAT tests. These homeschoolers score above average on achievement tests regardless of their parents’ level of formal education or their family’s household income.
Children who are educated through parent-led home-based education, or homeschool, are a great example of the benefits that a stay-at-home mom can have on her child’s education.
Greater Environmental Control
Another of the stay at home mom benefits is found in the mother’s ability to better direct and supervise the influences in a child’s life. In fact, a new study has shown that more parents are staying home for the specific purpose of having more control over the environment and influences that their child is exposed to.
With the rising risks for children in the age of the internet it is no surprise that parents are concerned. The University College of London says that research shows a link between a child’s environment and his or her development.
The internet is not the only concern however. The physical environment plays an immensely important role as well. In a compilation of studies Gary Evens, from Cornell University, has found that, “Indeed, the physical environment profoundly influences developmental outcomes including academic achievement, cognitive, social and emotional development as well as parenting behavior.”
The ability to spend quality time with and nurture her children is a driving force behind many mother’s decision to stay at home with her children. The overwhelming majority of mothers say that choosing to stay at home was the best decision of their lives.
Do Children Benefit From Having A Stay-At-Home Mom?
Research shows us with an overwhelming certainty that children do benefit greatly from having a stay-at-home mom.
A great reason to be a stay-at-home mom is the many benefits that children receive. Academically, socially, emotionally, mentally, and more.
What Is The Value Of A Stay At Home Mom?
Financially speaking if a stay-at-home mom were to be paid for her work she would receive an estimated annual salary of $178,201.
However, I am a big believer that the value of any person is far greater than what is found in their checking account. The true value of a stay at home mom is immeasurable.
When we look at the mountains of research that show the staggering benefits to the child it is clear that the value of a stay at home mom is unfathomable.
First Steps To Becoming A Stay At Home Mom
If you are longing to stay home with your children I promise you that it can be done. After talking things over with your husband the best thing to do is start learning more about how to budget as a one income family.
Look into ways you can save money as a homemaker. A great place to do this is with your grocery shopping. As the cost of food is rising the grocery store is one of the most offensive line items in a budget.
You may also want to look into the daily life of a homemaker. What is her schedule like? What routines does she follow? While the exact ways that another woman runs her home may not work for you it is a great place to begin to gather inspiration. This is especially true if you are used to working for a boss and having someone else call the shots.
Find resources for stay-at-home moms so that while you are waiting for the opportunity to leave the work force you can be learning, growing, and preparing for the new job of being a homemaker.