Life After Baby: The Saga of the Working vs. Stay-At-Home Parent
In being nine weeks postpartum, I am constantly amazed at how wonderful of an experience becoming a parent is. I am constantly learning and I am truly awed by watching my son take in the world around him. It is exhausting, rewarding, and terrifying, but more on that later.
In my recent post on maternity leave policies, I reflected on how the United States, in my opinion, is sorely lacking in the amount of leave time granted to parents. With some fathers not even receiving paternal leave, and some women only receiving six weeks of Short Term Disability (paid at a percentage), I see the intrigue of working from home and raising your children.
Now, I know that it isn’t just moms that are choosing to stay at home, but many dads, as well. Regardless of the parent that is staying home, I cannot help but think of how the working parent must feel.
Since giving birth, I have seen a plethora of enticing work-from-home-esque opportunities. Whether it be a fitness supplement or writing product reviews, all seem to target women. It almost, at least to me, makes me feel guilty for returning to work and not staying home to raise my kids. If, let’s just say, the mother decides not to return to work, and the husband becomes the sole breadwinner, how must he feel?
I’ve never been in that situation before, but again, how must the working parent feel? Not only does an enormous amount of responsibility fall on their shoulders, but in returning to work, they have the potential to miss out on their children’s lives.
In becoming a parent, you are learning from your child, just as much as they are learning from you. To go from having zero patience, to having nothing but patience, it’s the biggest amount of personal growth I’ve ever had. The more time you have with your child, the more opportunity you have to bond with the child. If a family can survive, or chooses to live on a sole income, then one parent is forced to separate from the child. I wonder, how does a family decide who stays at home and who works? I feel like from a societal standpoint, it is typically the mother that stays at home.
If that is the case, is husband resentment a thing? No? Is spousal resentment a thing? For the parent that must return to work, do they experience jealousy towards the spouse that is remaining at home? No parent receives a salary for childrearing, so when that parent no longer contributes financially to the household, what must the burden be like for the working parent? According to this, there are both pros and cons to being the parent that stays at home.
For those stay-at-home parents out there, do you contribute financially to your household, or does it fall solely on the working spouse? If you are the working spouse, do you ever feel like you’re missing out on your child’s early life? If you are currently a stay-at-home parent, what is the reason you stay at home? Is it to save on childcare or is it for parental bonding? Do you plan on returning to work at some point or always staying at home? Will you switch off with your spouse at some point? If you do stay home, do you actually like it?