The objective of this article is to make some suggestions toward the question about work for mothers if there is a choice.
Summary: I am often asked by parents who have a choice if it is damaging to their children if the one with the kids returns to work. The preparation to avoid troubled teens begins at birth so deciding how much to be at home with young children--or older ones is very important. This article addresses some of the issues.
What about the woman who has a choice between taking a job or staying at home with children? A great deal depends upon the personalities of those involved.
I saw a woman who managed to live modestly on alimony and child support payments and devote herself entirely to her three children. when the children were l3, 9, and 5, she was offered her old job back and didn't know what to do. She told me that sometimes she thought it would do everyone good if she got away from home and the extra money would be helpful. Then she worried that she would be away all week and worried about how the children would be affected.
If you are used to mental stimulation like my client, and if out-of -home contacts have provided them, and then you became a full-time homemaker on your own, you can get bogged down in household chores and feel terribly isolated. The double deprivation--no partner at home and little chance of new contacts outside it--can make you depressed and angry.
Nevertheless, the prospect of a job, however inviting, should give you pause to think because a job will mean a great change for everyone in your family.
You might talk the situation over with others in similar situations. Ask yourself how comfortable you would be to be away from home and how much of the day would that be? Is it possible to wait until the younger children are well launched in school before going back to work? For children who are part of a divorce where mother stayed at home, the divorce plus return to work if not necessary can result in the sense of loss for the children of both parents.
On the other hand, are you the kind of person who gets so stale and irritable in unrelieved domesticity that you take it out on the children? If the latter is true, you may have more to give them after the refreshment of other work during the day. This may then be preferable to staying home all day.
It is also a good idea to sound out your older children to see how ready they are to help with child care if necessary and other household chores. your decision also depends on what practical arrangements you can make for the children's care while you are away.
Solo fathers too, have problems in reconciling the demands of their jobs with their responsibilities to their children. However, by and large, it is solo mothers who have the hardest time providing the family income while seeing to the care of their children. For many of them it is a continual juggling act fraught with much anxiety.
There is another issue. what about two parents who live together and the family is traditional in which the husband is the breadwinner and his wife is bored and want s to work? It is very important that she discuss this with her husband and have his support to do it. It is also important to then work out guaranteed time with the children and to consider part-time work so as to be at home when the kids get home from school. Whether you work or not, it is important to be sure the children feel loved and cared about and know that they matter and they are your first priority. Keeping the communication open and going is the best preventative for troubled teens at a later date.