Ducks In A Tub

Taking life's adventures one day at a time.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Top 10 unusual reasons to stay home with children as long as possible (in no particular order)

October 8, 2006

Anyone can give you 10 “nice” reasons why they stay home with their children. I won’t deny that there are many glorious rewards to being present for all the “firsts.” But today I am talking to all the skeptics. This list is for all those people who CHOOSE to work because they see more trouble than reward out of staying home. Each of these ideas revolves around an idea that is perceived to be a negative, a sacrifice that many people are unwilling to make. I am going to show you how these “negatives” aren’t really negative at all, they are the biggest positives in the list for why we at-home moms and dads do what we do.

Top 10 unusual reasons to stay home with children as long as possible (in no particular order):

Crying. That continual wailing and screaming of a newborn. The louder and more controlled manipulation of a toddler. It can really grate at your nerves and make you wonder if you will ever succeed at parenting. BUT, crying is a form of communication. A newborn cries because they need something – food, a clean diaper, snuggling. Toddlers cry because they can’t find the words yet to tell you what is wrong. Maybe they fell down, maybe they are bored and need to play. It is your challenge and duty as a parent to find the source of the displeasure and heal it. As soon as you rescue your child from their woe, you become their hero!! Do you really want someone else, your babysitter, to take your place as that esteemed person in your child’s life? Just think…you, a SUPERHERO!

Meals. You can’t tell a child to wait just a little longer for lunch. A baby, or a toddler, does not understand the concept of delayed gratification. All they know is “I’m hungry and I want food NOW!” Your day has to stop and then the feeding frenzy begins. There are spills and messes and sticky fingers to clean up and all for what? A few bites of food that could never be enough to satisfy your hunger, but somehow it completely satisfies your child. Meals are the best time for teaching your child manners and the best time for learning how to communicate. Teaching your child to say “please” before giving him Cheerios, and teaching him to say the name of his favorite food, “spaghetti,” turns this mess-fest into a memorable moment for you to treasure always.

Naptime. Ah, yes, the quiet time of day when you finally get a few minutes to yourself. But wait, before you can relax you have an unhappy, tired child who refuses to go to bed and only wants to make your “down time” difficult by proclaiming their misery at the top of their lungs. The neighbors probably hear your little one’s screams and wonder what is going on at your house, when really the only problem is that your child won’t admit he’s tired and go to sleep. Take this time before bed to talk softly to your child. Find a toy or a blanket that is reserved strictly for the time your child spends in his bed. Maybe you and he snuggle for a few minutes before the inevitable desertion in his room. One way or another, this is a battle that you win, but you win it through kindness. Why put yourself through this struggle? Because when your child wakes up you get to experience the joyful smile on his face and the fresh step in his play and that’s worth it all.

Teething. All the horror stories are true. A baby cutting teeth will scream for apparently no reason, at all times of day and night. There will be no warning, it comes and goes, and it lasts for months. Many teething babies will also get runny noses and diarrhea to accompany the ear-piercing wails of pain. You want it to stop, but you also can’t wait to drop the kid off at daycare and let someone else worry about it while you go merrily off to work. That is not the right attitude to have. If you stick out the teething at home and see the misery that your child is going through you will feel so much more triumphant when you witness the first (or second, or third) tooth finally break through those soft little gums. You will feel the exultation of “WE did it!” It is not an accomplishment that your child makes alone, but it is one that you make together as you do all that you can to sooth his pain throughout the process.

The never-ending “no.” Everyone knows that once a child learns to speak his favorite word is “no.” You tell him to come here, he says no. You tell him to eat, he says no. You tell him to get off the couch, he says no. He is pushing your buttons, he knows it, and you can’t stand it. It is much easier when you only have to fight with him in the evenings and on weekends because, ha-ha, the sitter has to deal with attitude the rest of the time. Your little one is learning his limits. He is developing his personality and it is essential that you are present for the formation that takes place during this sensitive time. If you were home with him, he would probably not behave as defiantly as he does. Why? Because he would learn what is expected of him. You’ll experience so much joy and pride when your child finally responds to you in a positive way instead of automatically rejecting your commands. You will know that he learns his behaviors from you and he wants to BE you as much as his little self can imitate.

Getting into forbidden places. Oh, how many times parents tell their children to “get away from that!!” Kitchen cupboards are always a fun place for a toddler to explore. And remember the time he crawled into the fireplace? Let’s not forget when he tried to take a wine glass out of the china hutch. Doesn’t he understand he could get hurt? NO, he doesn’t! Kids will only understand their limits if they are surrounded by the same environment. At the sitter’s they know what is fair territory and what is off-limits, but at home he gets into everything. It’s that sense of the explorer within him. He is curious about his surroundings and he wants to learn by touching and holding and, yes, even eating things that he shouldn’t. Aside from the obvious answer of getting child-proof latches, you need to be in your home to teach your child what is safe and what is not so he can learn through experience. Eventually, he will trust and obey you. When you go to a new place and he goes exploring, and you have to tell him to stay away, he will understand and you will feel relief at him finally accepting your authority.

Not doing what you want to do. You figure that you’ll stay home and get so much accomplished because you’ll have all day to do all sorts of things, and how hard could it be to watch your child play, right? Dream on! It is a very busy day taking care of children. More than likely you will put a list together for the tasks you want to do that day and only half of them will get done. You need to get used to finding accomplishment in the smallest, most menial of duties, and it is a real blow to your pride. After all, in the world of paid employment you are an important person who gets this, this, this, and that done all in one day. Not any more, though. Or so you think. How many company executives can say that they formed the mind of the future, witnessed a one-of-a-kind musical performance, and built a city all in one day? Stay-at-home moms can say all of that and more!

Repetition is boring!! Wake up, feed kids breakfast, play, feed kids lunch, naps, wake up, play, feed dinner, play, bath, bed. It’s the same thing every day…day in…day out…week after week. Sometimes you’ll decide to go to the park or to a friend’s house for a little change, but the schedule persists, even throughout small variations. It is not exciting. It is does not have surprises. It is what it is. But, your child loves it! He knows exactly what to expect every day from the time he wakes up in the morning until he goes to bed at the end of a weary day. He knows and understands what time to expect meals, when he can run around, and when it is time to cool off by reading a book. The same routine every day is boring for you, but it gives your child security. He trusts you to do the same thing today that you did yesterday and the day before and the day before. The schedule and the repetition are his friends and he loves you for them. Your reward comes when he acknowledges the schedule and goes to bed on time, because he does not know how to stay up later than usual. J

It never seems to end. You only need to stay home until your child is old enough to go to school, but you can’t get yourself to do it. Five years is such a long time and you don’t want your career to suffer because of five years of absence. You think that work can’t get along without you because you are sooooo essential to the company and to your clients. Newsflash: They will survive!! If you died tomorrow I am sure the company that you work for, the company that calls you an employee, the clients who give the company money, will manage to continue their course of operations with only a minor bump. So, if you made the right choice and stayed home with your child, they would also continue to be in existence. The work you do at home is infinitely more important than any work you could do at an office. At home, with your child, you are teaching and molding a young, impressionable mind how to think, how to act, how to speak. You are creating another you, or a better you, if that’s what you desire. The time and effort that you invest in spending most waking moments with your child will result in his being whole-heartedly devoted to you. What client is that loyal?

Money. I know, I know. You can’t afford to stay home. You need to work because you can’t keep your current lifestyle with just one income. Don’t you think your children are worth a little sacrifice? If it takes a change of lifestyle and a reduction of expenses to allow for you to be home fulltime, then make it happen! Everyone says it, and I won’t be an exception: there is no pay that could ever equal the reward that you get from being a fulltime parent. What price do you put on a smile, or a hug? How much would you exchange to be present for your baby’s first steps, first word, first song? Most of the “first’s” you can’t control and they might (and probably will) happen at the day care, when you’re not around…because you’re making money. Just think about that.

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  • At 5:41 PM, Blogger Lisa said…

    Great post. When I have children I would love to be able to stay home with them for all the reasons you mentioned (plus all the nice stuff too). I think it is important to be a part of everything you can as your child grows up.

    Here via the Carnival of Family Life

  • At 6:55 PM, Blogger Tracie said…

    What a great post!! For all these reasons, and more, I stay at home with my daughter!

  • At 8:12 PM, Blogger Holly said…

    Thanks for all the reminders and reasons that made becoming AND remaining a SAHM worth it. ;o)

    Holly's Corner

  • At 8:14 PM, Blogger Holly said…

    Sorry! Meant to remember to say welcome to the Carnival of Family Fun which brought me here!


  • At 10:15 AM, Anonymous kailani said…

    I work only 2 days a week so I feel I get the best of both worlds. Yes, staying home is more work than actually going to work but it's worth it!

    Here via Carnival of Family Life.

  • At 7:45 PM, Blogger Momma Duck said…

    Thanks for all the comments from you SAHM and one-day-will-be SAHMs.

  • At 8:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Please keep in mind that most working parents would love to stay home with their kids. There are extremely few families with two working parents who do so out of choice. Please don't assume that working parents are just doing it because they can't imagine giving up their new Lexus and vacation to Figi.

    Just like millions of other moms, I am working because without my income, we'd be on the street. We drive my in-laws' old car, we live in a broken-down apartment, and we never take vacations or buy new clothes. It breaks my heart that I can't spend all my time with my daughter.

    Don't get me wrong, I loved the list. Until I got to that "Money" part. Working parents aren't shallow, selfish, greedy jerks. Don't lecture me about my "lifestyle."

    All parents work hard and need support. We need to stick together. Let's not fight each other.

  • At 8:44 AM, Blogger Momma Duck said…

    I'm sorry, I think you misunderstood me. My preface explains that I was speaking about people who don't NEED to work, but who CHOOSE to work. They "don't feel fulfilled" unless they work, even though the money is not necessary for survival. I understand there are single parents out there who can't help but work, and there are people (like yourself) who need to have two incomes. I'm trying to make the point that if staying home is "optional," then it is NOT optional, you should be home with your kids.

  • At 7:25 PM, Blogger Hueina Su said…

    I certainly remember those exhausting yet exhilirating early years of motherhood. Thanks for a great reminder! :-)

    Here via the Carnival of Family Life

    Intensive Care for the Nurturer's Soul


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