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Thursday, April 10th, 2014
The number of mothers in the United States who stay at home is rising after decades of declining, according to a study released on Tuesday. In 2012, 29% of moms did not work outside the home, compared to 23% who did so in 1999. This news might seem surprising considering the can’t-miss-it “Lean In” campaign from Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, and the fact that women made up 46.9% of the workforce in 2012. Are more working moms deciding to take a step back? Not so fast.
This upward trend is not necessarily the result of society reverting back to the old-fashioned view of traditional parental roles, but rather it’s the result of the current economy and growing minority populations in the U.S. As NYTimes.com reports:
The report found that, in 2012, 6 percent of stay-at-home mothers said they stayed at home because they could not find a job, compared with just 1 percent who gave that answer in 2000. And it found that a third of stay-at-home mothers live in poverty, while 12 percent of working mothers live in poverty.
America’s changing demographics might also play a role in the study’s results. Asian and Latino mothers, two rapidly growing populations in the U.S., were more likely to stay at home with their children than white and black mothers.
Education level is also a factor, says the NYTimes:
The report found that less educated women were more likely to be stay-at-home mothers; 51 percent of mothers who had not completed high school did not work outside the home, while 21 percent of mothers who are college graduates stayed at home with their children. Just 5 percent of married stay-at-home mothers with working husbands have at least master’s degrees and family incomes exceeding $75,000.
Whether choosing to stay home with your children is based on your financial situation, parenting philosophy, employment status, or heritage traditions, it’s a personal decision. Ultimately, you know what’s the best choice for you, your family, and your career path.
Are you thinking of staying at home? Use Parents.com’s Stay At Home Calculator to find out if you can afford not to work. You could also find a happy medium and work part-time. Know that whatever decision you make will be the best choice for your family; and don’t forget to consult your partner before making the final verdict.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Thursday, February 13th, 2014
Odds are, your Facebook feed has been inundated with a set of letters one blogger wrote — kind, gentle “I get you” notes from a stay-at-home mom to a working mom, and vice versa. Basically, one blogger’s attempt to stop the imaginary “mommy wars” with imaginary love notes. And maybe you’ve also seen the blog posts shredding apart these letters as retro drivel that doesn’t do any good for anyone, disrespects moms who work (or don’t) because they have no other choice, and basically read like they’re written by someone who doesn’t know any better.
So here’s the letter you didn’t get—from the work-from-home mom, the hybrid mom who kinda understands both the SAHMs and the working moms. The one who shushes her kids for work calls and feels guilty when she’s revising a report on her smartphone during the school concert. The one who blocks off her calendar to read stories to the first grade class and folds laundry on conference calls. The one who will be letting her kids spend their sixth snow day of the year tomorrow playing Disney Infinity ad infinitum, so she can attend to a series of meetings and must-dos.
But the truth is, there’s no one perfect way to be a mom—we’re all just doing what works best for our families (and hopefully, ourselves) at the moment. Whether we work or stay at home or work from home, we’re all stretched too thin, we’re all losing patience with our partners and our kids, and we’re all doing something that would lead to lots of snickering and eye rolling from other moms. We’re all soldiering on with too little sleep and too little time. And we’ve all internalized too many blogs and Pinterest posts and media stories that make us feel like we’re not measuring up if we don’t have a clean house, fancy handcrafted valentines treats, a C-level executive job and a hot date with our spouse on Saturday night.
We need to Just. Make. It. Stop. We need to throw our fellow moms a lifeline, instead of a snarky comment. We need to keep our mouths shut about others’ parenting choices (unless it’s something that’s truly, absolutely dangerous—like a toddler in a high wire act). We need to mind our own business, keep our eyes on our own papers, and vow not to be the catty commenter or the queen bee mom who looks down our nose at our friends’ baby name choices or vaccination regimen. Don’t rock the boat—we’re all on it.
And while we’re cutting other moms a break, we need to cut ourselves one, too. Because if you’re anything like me, you probably beat yourself up on a daily basis for at least half-a-dozen things you think you did wrong, the countless ways you don’t measure up to an arbitrary ideal that no single supermom could ever become. You are worried that you’re ruining your kids by letting them watch too much TV, or yelling when you’re 10 minutes late for school (again), or picking up a birthday cake from the supermarket instead of handcrafting a Pinterest masterpiece. But that worry—that’s exactly what we’re all doing wrong. Because in the end, it won’t really matter if you feed them sugary cereal or fresh-made organic granola, if you work a crazy-hours job or homeschool them, if you cart them around to 20 different extracurriculars, or don’t sign them up for a single one. The key isn’t doing this whole crazy mom thing “right.” The key is making sure that your kids know they’re loved. And if you’ve accomplished that, you’re golden.
What kind of parent are you? Take our parenting style quiz to find out!
Image: Working Mom by Pim/Shutterstock.com
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Thursday, August 29th, 2013
By Rosie Pope
Check out blog posts by multitalented mompreneur Rosie Pope every week at Parents.com!
Regardless of a mother’s work situation, I bow my head to her and respect what she does for her family. And when it comes to our kids, I feel passionately that mothers—both working moms and stay-at-home-moms—must be considerate of each other and our schedules so as to put our children first. Fall is just around the corner and with it comes a new school year. For many, it will be their first time attending pre-school, kindergarten or perhaps a new school after a move over the summer. Nerves are high, and parents hope their kids will fit in and make friends. As a mom of three young children, I realize that a lot of my children’s success with their friends depends on my ability to keep up, arrange, and encourage playdates after school. These opportunities facilitate after-school bonding, and I don’t want to be the reason that my children miss out.
However, the problem arises when playdates are arranged in the middle of the day, while I’m still at work. I know that proposing a 6am playdate that I could squeeze in before my morning commute would be asking too much. And I can hardly expect stay-at-home moms to hold off on hosting playdates until moms like me get home from work or save them for an already jam-packed weekend.
I am hyper-sensitive to this issue because of my own experiences. In my children’s last preschool, I noticed that my kids received fewer and fewer playdate invitations and weren’t included in birthday gatherings or other activities they should have been a part of. It’s a miserable feeling to realize that your child has been excluded because you didn’t have time in the day to get to know the other children’s mothers, and for that reason, your child gets left out.
Must my kids miss out because of this? Or do I choose to only become friendly with other working moms whose children have similar home situations? I hope not. Rather, I want us to come to reach some understanding of each other—our strengths, our needs, and our limitations—so our children don’t suffer from what’s beyond their control. More importantly, though, I want my children to see variety and learn this message: Some mothers work and others don’t, yet both are exceptional role models.
As we head into this new school year full of new faces, let’s all try to make and nurture friendships—between our children of course, but between mothers, too. I urge us all to try to find some middle ground, whether it’s a working mother getting home early one day to accommodate an afternoon playdate or a stay-at-home-mom being flexible enough to meet in the evenings or during the weekend. If we are respectful of our different schedules, you never know whom you might meet and become friends with.
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