Staying Home After Baby: Still a Woman's Duty?

moms stay home

Photo by PrincessRSX03

In 2009, is it still safe to say that, after baby, women will become the stay-at-home parents? Does society still believe that if one parent is going to be giving up the career, it's going to be the woman?

Talitha over on Momlogic asks this very good question: Staying home after baby: Why me?! 

Of course, many families, especially in today's economy or in the case of single parents, don't have a choice to have a parent stay home—even for the first year or the first few months. Giving up an income is definitely a privilege not every parent has. However, when staying home with baby is an option, why is it still assumed that the parent who stays home will be the woman (or maybe more importantly, why do women accept this assumption?)?

Talitha at Momlogic asks: "Who's to say that I want to take on the new job of staying up all night, staying home during the day, and giving up my work for an uncertain amount of time? Have you asked me?" She continues: "I would like to be asked: 'Hey, are you OK with staying at home and giving up your job for X amount of months?'"

I know when the "Who will stay home with the baby?" discussion came up (and only because I initiated it) in my household, one in which I consider the marriage partnership to be very equal, my husband didn't even consider staying home or quitting his job. At the time, I made a higher salary than he did and threw out the option for him to stay home with our son, which he, without the blink of an eye, declined.

At the same time, I was pretty torn, wanting to find a way to balance work and family. I really enjoyed my job but felt driven to find a way to stay home with our son for awhile, even if that meant working part time. Many of my girlfriends felt the same, quit their jobs, and never looked back while their husbands (and mine) seemingly never even considered staying home for one second.

No matter what you chose or what you feel is the right choice about working or staying home, do you think society still assumes the woman will be the stay-at-home parent or even that women want to stay home with their kids rather than work?

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xxPau... xxPaulaxx

At least for the first bit of time, it makes sense for the mom to stay home, because she just went through labor/pregnancy and she's getting on her feet. Not to mention if she's breastfeeding. That woman wouldn't be talking like that if she'd had a c-section I bet. Those take time to recover from.
Although, after all that is said and done, I see no problem with the man staying home to take care of the child if he so chooses. But I don't think it should be a requirement to stay home for either parent if they WANT to work. I'm choosing to work even though my income is not required to pay bills... it will just be extra.

catho... catholicmamamia

It is only natural for a mom to stay home and mother her child(ren). From both a physiological and psychological viewpoint, ideally children's needs are best met by their mother. If at all possible, mothers should do her best to be there for her children, at least for the early/formative years.

mom2q... mom2queenie2004

The mom staying home and caring for the little ones is the way nature intended it. If not then men could produce milk.  Having said that, some women are not ready to have to give it all up(IMO they should not have kids then,,,,but that is just MY opinion.) If the man is ready to step up and do that it is better than dropping them off with someone else.

lovep... lovepotato

I don't understand why its the public's decision to decide who stays home. Its a couple's choice together if a parent will stay home and which one. I don't know of any law that says someone has to stay home while the kids are little.

I stay home with my son because it doesn't make sense in any way for me to work. People say little things under their breath all the time about it, but they're not paying my bills or taking care of my son. My husband and I decided together what we would do, and that's for me to stay home. You can't please everyone, if you try, you'll end up pleasing no one.

Lanasmom Lanasmom

I think its assumed the mom will stay home--but it is ultimately up to the parents. -- I stay home because i haven't found a job yet since i graduated college, and i enjoy staying home; however, if i were to find a job that paid more than my dh's job--he has said he would be more than willing to be stay at home dad.--And mom2queenie--men can produce milk! They have mammary glands too, and if they are stimulated, they can produce milk.

Freela Freela

I don't know why society has to assume one or the other.  I chose to be a SAHM... two basic reasons why it was me and not dh. The first: I make milk, he doesn't!  Second: my job brought in a lot less, we could afford to lose my salary but not his.  That being said, I do know SAHDs and more power to them... it's up to every family to decide what is going to work for them.

jcsmummy jcsmummy

we share the time off after baby. here we are allowed 15 weeks of maternity leave, obviously i take that,directly after we get 35 weeks parental leave, which either of us can take. my husband took the parental with our daughter, i took it with our son.

Charl... Charlies_mommy

Personally I see nothing wrong with a dad staying home, but I would rather stay home instead. One I raise them better and they are better cared for...

ethan... ethans_momma06

I actually feel that there is more pressure from society for the woman to leave home to go to work after having a baby. It was something I have had to struggle with because I feel that it is best for me to stay home with my DS until he is ready for school and I got an incredible amount of negativity for making that decision. Comments from how I am not helping support my family, to how selfish and clingy I am being to my child to 'force myself on him all day', to how staying with him was going to ruin my life.

So yea, for my situation society had an active role in discouraging me  from staying home.

Spiri... SpiritedTigress

My husband would LOVE to be a stay at home dad. He'd be stressed out ofcourse and they'd drive him crazy but he'd still love it. I wouldnt give it up though, i love being a stay at home mommy.

I think the woman should stay at home, only because i think breastfeeding is best. If nursing is not avaiable or the mother doesnt want to or cant then i think either the mother or the father should do it. I dont see why it has to be the mothers "job", the fahter is just as much a parent.

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