By Maryam C
Edited by Ali Reza
Stay-at-home parents are rarely given the respect and praise that they deserve. It is a job that is often undervalued and underappreciated. Many people brush it off as staying at home all day and playing with the kids. What could be so hard about that? But in reality, stay-at-home parents take on a wide range of responsibilities every day. They wear many different hats and must always be on their game. After all, the safety and well-being of their children rests in their hands.
Being a stay-at-home parent is not a nine-to-five job. It is an all-the-time job. Full-time employees earn their pay for generally 40 hours a week of work. They may use some personal time to get ahead or finish up, but that is a standard workweek. An at-home parent works far more hours than this per week and does not get a check in hand when it’s all over. Their work and life blend into one another.
Wearing Many Hats
An at-home parent assumes many roles all rolled up into one. On any given day they may act as:
- Child care provider
- Event planner
- Laundry operator
This list is only a fraction of the responsibilities they may take on. Not only are they caring for the children, they are also taking care of the house, pets, finances, and more. They make sure that everyone has what they need for the day and everything is scheduled accordingly. When something is broken or malfunctioning, they either figure out how to fix it or hire someone who can.
At-home parents are constant teachers and therapists for their children, helping them to learn, grow, and expand their minds. Every day presents teachable moments where they can instill basic academics as well as build character and positive values. Their lessons aren’t planned or scripted but rather on the fly.
While at-home parents may not bring in a regular paycheck for their work, they do help to keep costs down. Child Care, be it public or private, can cost hundreds of dollars every month and thousands of dollars per year. Staying at home with children means not having to pay someone else to watch them. Sometimes the amount the parent would bring in by working a traditional job is less than what it would cost them to put their child in daycare while they’re at work. So really it is costing them more to work.
All of the cooking, cleaning, and laundry that they take care of on a daily basis? If these responsibilities were outsourced, the cost would add up. By preparing meals at home, this can reduce the frequency of eating out and keep everyone healthier. In addition, children often catch many germs and viruses at daycare, so keeping them home can decrease illness and therefore medical expenses.
Crunching the Numbers
It is hard to put an exact numerical value on at-home parents. Each person’s situation is different. But many people agree that the work they do is worth a lot. Some even compare it to a six-figure salary. At-home parents choose this career because they love their children and being able to spend so much time with them. In case of Muslim women, it is an ideal type of job too and it is a win win situation. It is an arrangement that works for their family, their faith, and themselves. They don’t do it for the praise – which is often lacking – but because it is a job they find valuable and meaningful.
At-home parents are priceless. They encompass a multitude of jobs that they learn as they go. There is no formal training or education that prepares you to be a parent and assume all of the responsibilities that go along with it. When it comes down to it, it is not a job that everyone can handle and it takes a special kind of person to dedicate themselves to such a monumental task. So what is an at-home parent really worth? More than we may ever really know.