Stay at Home Mom or Working Mom

Do you think it is better for a mother to stay at home with the children or go back to work?


This is a great question to ask but not an easy question to answer. There are benefits to both sides and a debate that has been going on for quite some time; the stay-at-home moms versus the working mother. There are of course two sides to this question. But the ultimate answer is what is best for that specific family. Because simply put there is nothing wrong with a woman staying home with her children or for a woman going back to work.

I was raised by two working parents and went to daycare for most of my childhood. I feel that I came out just fine and had some great experiences that I remember as well. This did not make me love my parents any less because they went to work. In fact I remember spending a great deal of time with my father simply because he went to work at a later time than my mother but at the same time the experiences that I had with my mother were just as great and memorable simply because she made them that way. What I feel is most important is the time that you spend with your children whether or not you are at home with them or whether you choose to go back to work. This is why it is important to choose what works best for your family specifically.

When I found out that I was pregnant I had planned to go back to work as soon as I could, for me that was the best solution for me and my family. However, shortly after finding out that I was pregnant I found out that I was having triplets and what was once the best idea for my family completely changed. Having triplets for my family meant that the best scenario would be for me to stay home with the children. Because it was a very difficult transition going from From Career Woman to Stay at Home Mom I decided to do a subtle twist and chose to be a combination of both therefore I am a work-at-home mom. This way I get the benefits of working fulltime and being home with my children.

For some families there are various deviations from these two choices. I have friends in many different situations; situations where the mother is a stay at home mom, where the father is a stay at home dad, where the mother works a few days a week, where the mother works from home part time, where the mother works from home full time and finally where the mother went back to work outside of the home. Some families have the luxury of having daycare at their workplace, others where a family member is able to watch the kids while the mother works and so many other variations. So the decision is not so necessarily cut and dry and it may be that you do not have to choose one or the other.

The factors that I think that the family should consider when making this decision are:

1. The emotional factors – How the father and mother feel emotionally about staying home or going back to work.

2. The financial factors – Can the family afford for the mother to stay home with the children (in some cases it is financially smarter for the father to stay home with the kids)? Can the family afford for the mother to go back to work with the cost of daycare?

3. The alternatives – Is it possible for the mother to work from home? Is it possible for the mother to work part time? Are there other solutions that the family can utilize?

4. What works best – What is the best scenario for your family all around, regardless of what others think.

5. Being flexible – If the situation does not work for you, understand that you can make changes. If you become a working mother or a stay at home mother and you are not happy or it does not suit your needs you can make changes; these decisions do not have to be permanent especially if they do not work for you and your family.

There are numerous solutions out there; it’s important to find what works best for you and your family. Not every situation is cut and dry and nothing is more important than doing what is right for your family regardless of what the other side of the argument presents. There will always be a battle between stay at home moms and working moms but neither side is really right or wrong. The most important thing to remember as a mother or parent is that as long as you are involved with your children and are doing what is best for your family you are doing what is right.

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Comments 37 comments

kerryg profile image

kerryg 8 years ago from USA

This is a really well-balanced look at the situation. I absolutely agree with you that the most imporant thing is to do what's right for your individual family. Personally, it was important to me that I stay home with my daughter, at least until she goes to school, but I am lucky enough to be able to work part-time from home and also started hubbing as a way to get more adult interaction and intellectual stimulation. (And money!) It's worked out well for us, but every family has different needs and expectations.

Triplet Mom profile image

Triplet Mom 8 years ago from West Coast Author

Thanks kerryg! Yes I just cannot see making a choice for everyone, since everyone's situation is so different. For me I wanted to stay working but it just wasn't financially smart, however like you I started working part-time from home and have supplemented in other ways. Now I can see how this was the right choice for our family even though I thought it wasn't at first. Thanks for your comments!

C. Stewart profile image

C. Stewart 7 years ago

Great article!

I planned to go back to work until I found out I was having twins. Now I work from home -- not the easiest thing to do with multiples, but it gives me plenty of flexibility, and allows me to contribute to the household financially.

Triplet Mom profile image

Triplet Mom 7 years ago from West Coast Author

C. Stewart - That is the same thing that happened to me. I was going back to work and then found out I was having triplets that changed things rather quickly. I agree its not easy but you have to do what you can. Thanks for your comments.

mommygaga profile image

mommygaga 7 years ago

Great article. I too was in the market of going back to work after I had my son, but things just didnt work out that way. I commend you for doing it with triplets! WOW!

I ended up starting my own website in 2007 and helping other moms who wanted to work at home too.

Triplet Mom profile image

Triplet Mom 7 years ago from West Coast Author

Thank you mommygaga, its not for everyone but we each have to do what we can. That is great that you are able to help other moms. Much success to you.

joshandkaren profile image

joshandkaren 7 years ago

Ask any child if they would prefer mom not to work. I've been asking kids this question for decades...ALL would rather have mom at home.

Triplet Mom profile image

Triplet Mom 7 years ago from West Coast Author

joshandkaren - If only it were that easy to just ask the children what they want and to make it happen. The truth is that its not really up to the child what happens.

prettygirl1214 7 years ago

I really do NOT* believe you joshandkaren. ALL kids would not rather the mother stay at home with them. Infact, if they are old enough to understand what you are saying, they probably would love to go to a daycare or babysittiers house so they can make friends and learn how to be around others besides mommy. Mommy can't always be there 24/7. Why doesn't the father stay at home? You have to teach them not to be spoiled and that they can't have mommy whenever they want and that it will be okay and you still love them . You can always spend the rest of the day with them AFTER work.

Triplet Mom profile image

Triplet Mom 7 years ago from West Coast Author

Prettygirl - Thanks for your comments. Both of my parents worked when I was growing up and for my younger years my dad took care of me because my mother had to get to work earlier than my dad. I enjoyed every moment with my parents no matter what time that would be. I have very wonderful childhood memories even though they both worked.

Little Princess profile image

Little Princess 7 years ago

Hi Triplet Mom. I believe you made the right decision as I made a right decision too. Kids would prefer mom at home. Maybe you may want visit related hub - 8 WAYS TO HELP YOUR CHILD EXCEL IN SCHOOL. thanks.

Triplet Mom profile image

Triplet Mom 7 years ago from West Coast Author

Little Princess - I think that it really depends on the specific situation. Kids adapt to different situations and moms that work outside the home and moms that stay at home both have something very valuable to offer their children.

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bpapa 7 years ago

I think every family has to find their balance.

Triplet Mom profile image

Triplet Mom 7 years ago from West Coast Author

I agree completely bpapa!

zmansfam profile image

zmansfam 7 years ago

Great balance! For me I feel life goes by way to fast, I can enjoy each moment with them and budget a little tighter, or make a lot of money and hope they will be around to enjoy it with me when I have time! I decided to stay and enjoy each moment!

Triplet Mom profile image

Triplet Mom 7 years ago from West Coast Author

Thanks for the comments zmansfam!! There are so many different choices that people can make when it comes to staying at home or working. Families just need to make the best choice that works for them.

Property-Invest profile image

Property-Invest 6 years ago from London

Thanks for the great hub Triplet Mom. I think a lot of women who stay home to look after their children and run a business really work too hard. The ones who work out how to automate or outsource some of the more time consuming work, really tend to cope better. Have you read any of Tim Ferris's books? Excellent time management tips their.

Triplet Mom profile image

Triplet Mom 6 years ago from West Coast Author

Property-invest - Thank you for your comments. Tim Ferris has some great ideas and tips. Time management is key when you work from especially with kids.

izettl profile image

izettl 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

Great info, great debate. I tried going back to work after having my daughter and it was hell! Pleasing my boss, pleasing my baby, rushing around all the time, always being 50% instead of 100%.

I was raised by a stay-at-home mom who later became a working mom when I was 10 so I got the benefits of seeing both ways. What is best for the family is the best way and the great part about that is what's best for the family can change through the years. Flexibility is best no matter what.

Not having a choice to stay home or not is one of the biggest issues women shouldn't have to face. We've fought in the past for the choice to work and now it seems many women don't get a choice to not work.

Triplet Mom profile image

Triplet Mom 6 years ago from West Coast Author

Great points izettl! I think that it would be great for families to have that choice to do what they want how they want. But if there is not a choice they should do what is best for themselves and family without being persecuted for their choices. Like your mother I am going back to work outside of the home. I am starting part time and hoping to go full time soon. Now that my children are in school full time it is much easier. Thank you for your comments.

izettl profile image

izettl 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

I don't really understand your comment above about "if there isn't a choice than they shouldn't be persecuted for their choices", but you said they didn't have a choice so how can they be persecuted if there is no choice. I totally understand single mothers not having a choice at all- I feel bad for their situation. But I think two income households DO have a choice. I thought my husband and I didn't have a choice because I earned slightly more than he did, but we've managed to cut our expenses and live just fine- that's living on half our prior income. Many families are under the impression they have to have the woman work because of financial reasons, but many of those families don't want to cut their expenses and live on less.

Because I knew I had to go back to work I looked at being a mom in the beginning as temporary so I never even toyed with the idea of staying home, but when I went back to work and I felt like a failure in every area, and knowing myself and others were bringing their kids to daycare when they were sick just so we could go to work- something was seriously wrong with that.

Triplet mom- your decision to go back to work is great and good timing as well. I took a course in college- Work and Family- and what's proven to be the best choice is whatever makes the mother happy. If mom is unhappy, the child picks up on that. I think we should get 1 year maternity leave like Switzerland : ))

Triplet Mom profile image

Triplet Mom 6 years ago from West Coast Author

Izettl - Thats what I get for responding when I am tired and not rereading what I have written lol. To clarify: Some families do not have a choice either due to finances or because as you mentioned they are a single mother or father. Some people do not have the luxury of having two incomes or having enough money with two incomes to get daycare. I have heard some mothers comment about how another mother should stay at home or should work for whatever reason they want to give and it really should not be that way. What I am trying to say is that as mothers we should honor each other's choices because regardless of whether we stay at home or go to work we are still mothers and one mother is not better than another for making the choices they made. I hope that makes more sense!

I do agree with you my husband and I had to make some cuts in spending. Some people are just not willing to do that so there is nothing you can do about that but in those cases there are choices that can be made.

1 year maternity leave is a true winner! I think that gives just enough time instead of 6 weeks that most places gives.

izettl profile image

izettl 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

I would think with triplets it would make better financial sense for you to stay home- I can't imagine 3 daycare bills!

I get what you're saying about having choices. I find it ironic that women fought for the right to work, but now it's almost opposite- many have no choice but to work and some of them would like to stay home with their children. The financial aspect is a whole other hub.

Everywhere you go people have an opinion on this. SOme people congratulate you for "making the right choice" and staying home and others find out you stay home and say "is that all you do?"

Triplet Mom profile image

Triplet Mom 6 years ago from West Coast Author

izettl - You speak the truth! I love when people assume that when mothers stay at home that all they do is sit on the couch eating bon bons. This has always been so amazing to me. Yes the daycare bill for triplets was outlandish and really did not make financial sense at all, basically one paycheck would go straight to daycare with maybe a little bit left over. Thanks for a great discussion. This battle has always been so interesting to me.

Work at Home Dad 6 years ago

This is a very informative post. A big guide to all work at home mom. Thank you for sharing this one.

Sunnyglitter profile image

Sunnyglitter 6 years ago from Cyberspace

Every situation is different. This was a good article.

Triplet Mom profile image

Triplet Mom 6 years ago from West Coast Author

Thank you work at home dad and sunnyglitter.

Denise Roberts profile image

Denise Roberts 6 years ago from Mercer Island, WA

I love your hub. Very well balanced.

Triplet Mom profile image

Triplet Mom 6 years ago from West Coast Author

Thank you Denise!

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

I saw that I'm commenting on this about a year and a half after you wrote it, but noticed another comment appeared in the hub activity and i stopped and gave it a read. I wish we lived in an age where the parents could truly decide whether to return to work quickly or spend time at home raising kids. It is a shame that the decision is so often strictly one of finances--parents return to work because it's the only way they will survive. It would be so much better if families were more able to make decisions based on what they truly wanted to do or felt was right--but in the current economic climate, both parents usually have to work at a job as hard and as long as they can.

It is an interesting question, as you say--it depends on each family's needs and preferences, and there is no one right or wrong decision.

A good and thought-provoking article.


Triplet Mom profile image

Triplet Mom 6 years ago from West Coast Author

Thanks for stopping by Mike. It is truly sad that finances have to dictate our choices. I am not sure that this will ever change though. Thanks for your insight and comments.

Geolina profile image

Geolina 6 years ago

Lots and lots of comments - I guess that shows that it is a very important topic for many people! It would be nice if everybody just could take the decision wether to work or not without having to think about money!

Triplet Mom profile image

Triplet Mom 6 years ago from West Coast Author

Geolina - Thanks for your comments. It would be wonderful if money were not an issue. I am just still wondering if there would be a division?

azure_sky profile image

azure_sky 6 years ago from Somewhere on the Beach, if I am lucky :)

Great hub!!! As a single Mom, I felt so guilty leaving my daughters to raise themselves. You do what you have to do in this world, and the time you spend with them, you give them your all :)

Triplet Mom profile image

Triplet Mom 6 years ago from West Coast Author

azure_sky - Love the name! No truer words have been spoken. I have to give kudos to single moms because they are exceptional people doing the job of two. As moms we have to do what we have to do and the important part IS the time that we do give our children. Thank you for your comments.

LauraGT profile image

LauraGT 4 years ago from MA

Thanks for the article. As a part-time working mom, I think have both the best - and the worst - of both situations! It's a good compromise in a lot of ways - I get to stay in the work force and also spend a lot of time with my kids, but I am the primary homekeeper and kid care taker, so my job often gets squashed! My conclusion is that there are pros and cons of whatever situation you are in, and people have to find what makes them most happy. I feel like for a lot of people it's a privilege to be able to stay home, so I try to not loose sight of that on crazy days and feel fortunate that I have the opportunity to spend so much time with my kids while they are little!

Triplet Mom profile image

Triplet Mom 4 years ago from West Coast Author

LauraGT - Thanks for the comments. I think you are right you have to do what is best for you and your family and make that work. I think too many people feel guilty about the situation they are in because of the negatives. They should really look at the positive side as you suggested. Sometimes that is hard I know but if you are doing your best that is all that really matters.

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