Reasons You Might Choose to Be a Stay-at-Home Parent

Whether or not to become a stay-at-home parent is a big decision. Making it all the more difficult is that there is no right or wrong answer—only what works best for you and your family. But if you're on the fence about making the transition from working parent to stay-at-home parent, there are some key factors to consider. Weigh the pros and cons to decide which role is right for you. Start with these 10 reasons why you might choose to stay home with the kids.

It Makes Sense Financially

Mother and daughter (3-4) putting coins into jar

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For some families, finances play a big part in the decision to have one parent stay at home. Childcare is expensive. Depending on your earning potential, paying for daycare or a nanny can eat up almost every dollar of your paycheck. When comparing your salary to the costs of childcare, be sure to include all the extraneous fees involved, such as gas and your work wardrobe, as well as the time and energy it takes you to transport your child to daycare.

This is especially true if you have more than one child, have an infant, need after-school care, require unpredictable coverage for school-age kids, or want night care. In other words, sometimes it's just plain cheaper for you to stay home with the kids rather than to work outside of the home. Additionally, the costs of childcare vary quite a bit from place to place, so if rates are higher where you live, it's more likely that it won't pencil out for you to work outside the home.

It Can Be Temporary

It's easy to think you'll never get back to where you were in your career if you quit your job to stay home with the kids. But if you want to stay home, it doesn't mean you need to abandon your professional aspirations, While there may be a hit to your career and future paycheck, there's plenty you can do to cover your employment gap.

Make peace with the fact that taking a few years off can make it challenging to get back into the workforce—and you may have to start at a lower wage than when you left. To combat this, keep up with your contacts, consider part-time work, volunteer your time in a related field. or do continuing education so that when you're ready to re-enter the workforce, you still have one foot in the door.

With planning, a little patience, and a lot of hustle, you can reclaim your position on the career ladder when you're ready to—and keep on climbing up.

It Can Be Less Stressful

Life is full of stress and work is just another factor in that stress level, regardless of what you do for a living. Add in juggling kids and making time for your partner on top of a full workload and stress may go through the roof. Staying home is one way to simplify your life and focus on your family.

You may decide that the right balance for you and your family is to eliminate the stress of your work responsibilities. The promise of a calmer, less chaotic lifestyle might just be enough to make you want to trade your paycheck for some time away from the office.

It Streamlines Your Lifestyle

Being a stay-at-home parent can be much easier on the whole family. You are available to take care of your kids, your home, all the various appointments (from the dentist to the dry cleaner), and the shopping and meal preparations. You and your partner aren't juggling schedules to decide who's going to pick up which child, from where, and at what time or who's going to be at home and wait for the appliance repair technician.

You're the master of the family schedule and have the freedom to put as much energy as you want into your children's upbringing, from doing art projects with your toddler to going on school field trips with your kindergartener. Plus, being there all the time can be a great support to the other parent who is working outside of the home.

You Won't Miss Milestones

When you're a stay-at-home parent, you're pretty much guaranteed to be there for all of your children's major milestones. You won't miss the first time baby sits up, takes those first steps, laughs, or says their first words.

You'll also always be there for those in-between moments, like when your child wakes up from their nap or gets home from school. You'll be there when they scrape their knee, have a tummy ache, or just feel down in the dumps. You'll be there when they want to kick a ball, play a board game, or bake cookies. No need for Skype or ​daycare cams to see what your child is doing. You're there, literally, every step of the way.

You Can't Get This Time Back

As much as we don't want to think about it, our kids are growing up every single second of the day. When they're all grown up, that's it. There's no getting that time back. Yes, being a stay-at-home parent with your kids full-time is a challenge some days, but you'll never be able to put them in a time machine and make them little again.

You're Their Primary Teacher

When you stay home with the kids, you are their teacher, protector, and guide. You're their first influence before they head off to school and you're continually teaching them something new.

While you will always make time for your children whether you work or stay home, being a stay-at-home parent gives you many more opportunities to discover and learn together throughout each day. Plus, you are their primary role model each day.

You Get to Focus 100% on Your Family

Stay-at-home parents get to focus 100% on their families. This doesn't mean working parents aren't dedicated to their families or aren't thinking of their kids throughout the day. Working parents just have work commitments that stay-at-home parents don't. And being home with your child all day allots you much more time to focus on your children.

Stay-at-home parents have it easy in this area. They don't have to worry about daycare being closed, that big deadline for work, who's going to take care of the kids when they're on that business trip, or how they're going to tell their boss that they have to leave to pick up a sick child from school.

It Is Rewarding

Staying home with your kids is truly rewarding. There's a reason people quit their jobs when their babies are born. Certainly, there are downsides to being at home, but the pluses are big for those who enjoy lots of one-on-one time with their kids.

No one's saying being a stay-at-home parent is going to be easy. You'll likely have days you wish you could get dressed and dash out the door for an eight-hour workday. As you adjust to your life as a stay-at-home parent, though, you'll probably find the rewards come to you on a daily basis.

However, the stay-at-home life isn't for everyone. And whether or not it's right for you is no reflection on how much you love your kids or if you are a good parent. Some people thrive in an office and will sorely miss it if they stay home, or feel unrelenting stress from living on one income. Others find that they get into their groove when taking strolls with their kids, making snacks, singing silly songs, reading stories, and playing hide-and-seek. Whatever feels right to you is what's right for your family.

You Won't Regret It

No matter what your experience is with staying home will your kids, you're unlikely to regret it. Sure, it can be frustrating or even boring at times—and you may long for adult conversation or to get back in the office.

But no matter how long you decide to stay home, whether for a few months to many years, you will be forging lifelong memories and putting in time with your kids that will reap rewards as they grow and develop into adults.

A Word From Verywell

Whether or not you decide to become a stay-at-home parent is a personal decision. But it's also one that you can change at any time. There are huge advantages to staying at home, just as there are big pluses to continuing to work. Ask yourself what your instincts tell you. If you think you'd like to try being a stay-at-home parent, go for it! It just might be the best decision of your life.

8 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Apryl Duncan
Apryl Duncan is a stay-at-home mom and internationally-published writer with years of experience providing advice to others like her.