Unemployed Mothers or Working Moms?


credited by Isabel S.

Stay at home moms devote most of their lives to their children.

Carolina A. and Mikah C.

Jamie G. goes home every day to find a prepared meal or snack to satisfy her hunger. This is a result of her stay-at-home mother. Jamie is quick to voice her appreciation for her mom and begins to wonder. After her bite, she asks, “Why did you become a stay-at-home mom?”

Mrs. Jenny Gesiriech became a stay at home mom “to take care of the twins. I am an immigrant from South America, from Peru. I was a lawyer in Peru.” she said. She left her job when she learned she was going to have twins and stayed at home to help take care of them. She did not have any relatives here in the United States, so she didn’t really have any choice. However, Mrs. Gesiriech agrees that being a stay-at-home mom was beneficial to both her and her children, yet it also had its negative side. 

Many parents are faced with the dilemma of choosing between a steady source of income or the more moment-to-moment upbringing of their children. Instead of mixing parental duties with outside work responsibilities, stay-at-home moms choose a 24/7 commitment to their families. Many parents put hours of consideration into this matter, “You sacrifice your career to focus on your kids. The work never stops. Being at home, I am always home. 24 hours,” Mrs. Gesiriech. said. 

Staying at home with a child has its benefits. Gone is that long commute to work. Though some parents succeed in maximizing their productivity on that daily drive to work, most can’t and their travel time is wasted. Toss in the financial benefit of less time at the mechanics and in the line at Costco for gas, and the gains begin to grow.

Many mothers value staying at home because they have the ability to spend additional time with their kids and observe those growing up years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Full time employed persons averaged 8.5 hours of work time [per day].” If a shift starts at 9 am, it would end around 5:30 pm. Any extra time at home is often spent preparing for a day at work, making dinner, and taking care of children. That doesn’t allow mothers much free time. Parents often savor any amount of time they have with their children. There is no way to recover a child’s first few months of life, not to mention those developing years before kids get cars, driver’s licenses, and lives of their own. There’s no way to go back or replace the time that a stay-at-home mom enjoys. 

Moreover, when a mom stays at home, she has an opportunity to explore new career possibilities. After completing a degree in college, some people may find that they have other interests. “Just 27 percent of college grads had a job that was closely related to their major,” the Washington Post said. Some people find that the old hobby they’ve had since they were seven was actually something they would consider pursuing! Stay-at-home moms now have the time to go look into those career options.  

Although there are many positives to becoming a stay-at-home parent, some mothers regret the choice. ¨I miss that part of my job. I miss socializing with others and talking to other people. I loved my career, so it was kind of hard for me,” Mrs. Gesiriech said.

In the “8 reasons why I quit my dream job to be a stay-at-home mom,” author Casey Slide said, “You have to be financially prepared should your spouse become ill, disabled, or deceased.”  Your spouse could also lose his job. If there is sudden death, illness, or job loss, finances would be a challenge needing immediate attention.

Another negative to quitting work is the fact that a mother’s retirement fund stops growing, and their “employability quotient declines,” said  Casey Slide. If you are without a job, your contributions to a company retirement plan are canceled. Therefore, nothing is going towards a pension plan or social security. Also, future employers may be less likely to hire those who were unemployed for an extended period of time.

Another reason people may choose to work instead of staying at home with their kids is that their lives have become more unpredictable. Most stay-at-home moms find themselves living by a schedule, but not always following it. “[I run almost] the whole house. The automobiles, whatever comes up. I am responsible for everything. Cooking, the laundry, the cleaning.” If a car breaks down or something unexpected happens, Mrs. Gesiriech is the one to drop what she’s doing and go assist the problematic situation. 

Being a stay-at-home mom can be instrumental in the upbringing of a child, but it can also undermine the mother’s freedom and work against her in the future.