Saturday, May 14, 2011

10 Big Reasons To Stay Home With Your Children

This post is one of a series about Stay at Home Moms.  You can find others at this link. The series is specifically targeted for Christian stay at home moms, as it is based on notes put together for a Christian ladies' panel discussion, but of course anyone is welcome to read it.

Let's talk about benefits of being a "stay at home mom," so they can be there to compare the struggles to when we get to them. :)  I came up with ten (not in any particular order):

1) You get to enjoy being with your children!
This is a big one that incorporates so much, it's hard to quantify.  Seeing all the firsts, all the in-betweens, sharing their joys, watching them grow up, hearing the things they say.... You get to be a firsthand witness to so many events in their lives throughout the days of their short childhoods, building memories to treasure for years to come. Childhood really is so fleeting and precious.

I don't have personal experience leaving my children to work outside the home, but check out this story from Connie. She learned the value of being with her baby when she gave up the opportunity.

2) It's easier to protect your children from poor influences if you are with them.

It's easier to know what's going on in their lives.  You are better suited to know how they are feeling and thinking, what their influences are, and what they are doing, when you are there with them.  In the home you can control to a large extent what they are exposed to, if you so choose.

God had reasons for giving children parents. He didn't have to set it up that way. Generally speaking, parents are children's best chance at protection because of the natural love that most parents have for their children. You will be able to protect and shelter them as you see fit.

3) It's easier to influence your children for their good if you are with them more.

We ARE a tremendous influence in the lives of our own children, whether we want to be or not, and even whether we are with them at all or not.  The family bond is apparently just that strong.  People who grow up abandoned by a parent are deeply affected by it.  That's influence.  So influencing our children is inevitable -- we can't opt out.  We only get to choose whether our influence is an overall positive one or a negative one.

How our children ultimately turn out will be up to them, but the things they have to overcome, and any advantages they have, will be partially due to what we give them -- and not just genetically.  Most parents, Christians or not, want to give their children good things, and be a positive influence on their lives, but for Christians this is especially important.  For Christians, being a responsible parent requires watchfulness, vigilance, and just generally being engaged and connected, as does all of the Christian walk.
We should take care not to carelessly neglect our children in any area, but especially pay attention spiritually.  This seems to be the area that's most easily neglected, in ourselves as well as in our children.  Yet, teaching them about God is the most important thing we can do for them, and if we don't do it, it's probably one of the things they are least likely to learn elsewhere.

Young children are open.  They are ready to learn, but they won't be that way forever, and if we parents aren't there to answer their questions and guide them, someone else will be, and it may not be someone who provides the kind of guidance we'd like.  

The Bible instructs Christian parents (specifically it says fathers, which is worth emphasizing, but of course mothers are part of parenting as well) to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the LORD (Ephesians 6:4).  This is a serious job, not to be taken lightly.  You can teach them what you know to be important, and set the stage for their maturing at a pace that is comfortable for them.

I'm not saying you can't influence your children if you don't stay home with them, please don't get me wrong.  Nor am I saying that if you stay home with them it's any kind of guarantee in and of itself.  Those of us who stay home have to take advantage of the time and be engaged, not just be physically present.  I'm just saying it's easier to influence them if you can be around them more, and if you're working an outside job that's likely to be harder.

4)  For me, a big benefit is that I can homeschool.

This is part of parenting for me, and very related to the topics above. I'm not going to discuss homeschooling at length right now, as that's a whole other topic. I simply want to say that it's a lot easier to homeschool if you don't work an outside job, and I consider it a big benefit of staying home. I don't know that I would personally be able to work outside the home and also provide my children an education, although I have heard of some who try it.

For those who choose not to homeschool, don't dismiss the potential benefit to your child's academic education that can still result from your staying home. You will probably be able to be more involved with your children's school(s) if you are home, and perhaps more likely to have the energy to support and encourage them in their education. You'll be there when they leave and when they get home, and won't miss out on the hours when they are home. And of course you'll be able to make baked goodies for teachers, or even whole classes, and be available to cart Junior's math book to school when he forgets it... Okay, so maybe those last two are only benefits from your child's perspective, but they are some of the things I remember as benefits of my mom being home when I was in public school. ;)

5) You are probably better able to focus on the tasks of caring for your home and family.

You're involved with the household on a full-time basis, instead of juggling an outside career and your role as keeper at home. When children enter the picture especially, the homemaker wears lots of hats as it is. Adding another one or more by holding an outside job would surely complicate matters.

It seems worth mentioning that there's a lot of benefit to staying home even if you don't have children, or once yours are grown. You'll be better able to meet your husband's needs and work on your relationship with him as well, which is just as needed when you don't have children as when you do. Working outside the home swallows not only a woman's time but also her energy. Also, it may not help her develop a heart for her home, but instead a heart for a different kind of work. It can condition her to seeking a different kind of fulfillment than she will find in the home most of the time. It also divides the home, and puts her subject to another man's (or woman's) authority besides that of her husband -- that of her employer. Sadly, workplace interactions sometimes even result in affairs and consequential broken marriages and homes.  Something to consider.

6) It's likely that your children like having you at home. 

And if not, you might need to be concerned!  I was always glad my mom stayed home, and felt sorry for children who had to let themselves into empty houses with a key after school and fend for themselves until a parent came home.

7) You are your own manager of your time and resources.
Being at home can be liberating. It sounds ironic, but the woman at home is really the liberated woman in general. The woman who holds an outside job has taken on additional responsibilities, hired herself out to someone else, and is therefore less free.  She has less control of her own time and how it will be used.

Generally speaking, at home you're more free.  You can likely be more creative. There are so many possibilities of things you can learn and do. You decide what is best for your family and yourself (of course you want your husband's approval).

8) You are working for yourself and the ones you love most, instead of someone else.
Your work goes to sustain and strengthen your home, those in it, and those who will go out of it into the world someday -- your children.  And yes, even your children's children.  Now that's something that's worthwhile!

9) Being with your children will teach you so much. 

Maybe not in areas you'd expect, or even ask for, but I fully believe God uses our children to teach us things that are important for us to learn.  I think the Bible teaches us that.  It's this thing called character. 

Are you saying this is a dubious benefit? ;)  Okay, so building character isn't always the most pleasurable thing, but benefits aren't always about fun, either.

10)  You know you are doing something God supports.

More on that at some point, I hope. For now, consider this Bible passage:

"...that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,
to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed." (Titus 2:4-5, New King James Version, emphasis mine)

What other benefits can you think of to staying home with your children?

This post is linked to Top Ten Tuesday at Oh, Amanda, and a Homemaking Link-up at Raising Homemakers.


  1. Oh thank you for this post! So often there is little encouragement for stay at home moms. My husband is so supportive but everyone else is always pressuring me to go to work or put the kids in daycare. Our current concern is finances and making it all work, but we know God will provide somehow.

  2. To answer your question, another advantage is they get to watch you as you watch them! Goes along with your points on influence; if you want to make a difference with your kids, act as you would want them to act, talk as you would want them to talk, respect others as you would want them to do, be industrious as you would want them to be, be sincere, pleasant, thankful, loving, disciplined, kind, the list goes on and on...they're watching! You get an extra boost of accountability at home "from the mouths of babes".

  3. Another benefit is to be available to serve others... with our children in tow. Sometimes we have had to stop what we were doing (schoolwork) and give a friend a ride. Or, during a flood, the boys and I had the opportunity to fill sandbags. Also, we've worked all day at making food for a sick neighbor or someone else in need. We've had many teachable moments!

  4. What great thoughts, Amber. I have to say that probably my greatest reasons for staying home lie heavily within numbers 2 and 3. I have often wondered how different my children would be had I chosen to go back to work after I had them. This I am sure of, our lives would be exponentially more stressful with Matt's work schedule the way it is.

    I have a neighbor who has recently gone back to teaching whose children are middle school age, and she has encouraged me to stay home even when the kids are older. She said it has added so much stress to their lives.

  5. Excellent sharing, Amber! I think reason number 10 speaks volumes, and the other reasons (including those found in the comments section) show us WHY God supports us mamas staying home to bring up our children. I see more and more as the years go by why God's commandments are NOT grievous, but rather are for our *good* because He loves us and knows what is best.

  6. Amber, great job!!! I was fortunate enough to be able to stay home with #2 and 3, but HAD to (unfortunately, no choice here) go back to working full-time when #4 was 4. I saw the change in who he was becoming when I was at home to what he became after I went to work. He's still a really great kid, but there are definitely some struggles that are there (he's 8 now) that weren't there when I was at home, and I'm sure that was a major factor. If I had to do it over again . . .

  7. Excellent post, Amber!! I appreciate you sharing it on the blog, and I look forward to following you in the future.

  8. Amber I am a 71 yr old great grandmother and had a stay at home Mom and truly appreciate the comments you have made. I was a semi stay at home Mom in that we owned our own business most of my childrens growing up years. I was fortunate enough to have my Mother living close to us and part of the time with us, so never had to rely on babysitters. Even with all those positive things I still feel I would have done a much better job if I had not worked. Thanks for encouraging women to be wives and mothers first. The years go by fast.

  9. Thank you to everyone for the comments and encouragement. I appreciate especially your additional contributions concerning benefits, and your life experience.