More and more children are being raised by a parent in the home instead of in a daycare facility or babysitter’s house. These parents tend to fall into one of two categories; Stay-At-Home-Parents who choose to stay home and raise their children or Stuck-At-Home-Parents who can’t afford the choice because getting a job outside of the home would cost more than it pays.
"It's a complex decision where you are weighing all sorts of factors," President and co-founder of non-profit Families and Work Institute, Ellen Galinsky explains, "It's your current costs and your future earnings and your desire to be at home, in combination with the desire for your children to have early educational experiences."
The cost of childcare for two children easily surpasses the monthly rent payment. Then factor in maintaining an additional vehicle, commuter costs, wardrobe needs and work supplies and the option doesn’t seem to add up for many moms and dads these days.
Because this task typically falls on mom, many women are leaving large gaps in their work experience making it harder to re-enter the workforce once the kids are capable of caring for themselves. Some can even grow to resent the situation. It’s not that they wouldn’t choose to be home with their children. Not having the option is what is frustrating.
Some parents have exhausted all options but others don’t realize that there are alternatives out there. Check these out:
WFHP – Most parents think a work-from-home job would be a dream come true but speaking as a work-from-home-parent I’ll tell you it can be tough. I did a happy dance when spring break ended and the kids went back to school. Sometimes employers will agree to a split shift where parents come in during school hours and telecommute in the afternoon and on holidays.
Part Time Professional – Find a part time gig that offers a shift during your partner’s off time and tag team on child care duties. Some part time jobs might not pay well when it comes to salary but their healthcare benefits may make it worth synchronizing schedules.
Ask Grandma – Multi-generational childrearing is also in the rise in the United States. Parents who are fortunate enough to live close to their parents are relying on grandparents to help care for the children while they are at work. Some families are even cohabitating in order to keep living and child raising costs down.
Be the Babysitter – If you have a “more the merrier” attitude when it comes to kids, help a mother out and watch someone else’s kids while you’re home with yours. Be sure to research licensing laws in your area. If it’s feasible you could even open a home day care center and start cashing in on the soaring costs of child care.
State Assistance –Some states offer financial assistance to low income parents who are trying to work or go to school and afford child care. Programs typically offer a list of preapproved providers to choose from who the state will pay directly for their services based on when the parents are working or in class.
You don’t have to feel like a Stuck-At-Home-Parent. Stay home with your children because you want to, not because you have to.