7 Reasons To Be a Stay-at-Home Mom

Stay-at-home moms, a.k.a. SAHMs, have it hard: There is no clock to punch to say "day is done!" -- just more sippy cups to clean, diapers to change, and other unsung endless tasks to get done day after day after DAY. Yet moms who choose this route are on the rise: A recent Pew report finds that 29 percent of mothers don't work outside the home, up for 23 percent a few years earlier. And this labor of love has definite payoffs -- not only in terms of your kids, but for your marriage and your own state of mind. The next time you're questioning your choice, consider these surprising benefits.

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  1. Your kids are fit. One study by Cornell University found that stay-at-home moms spend 3 ½ more hours a day than working moms tending to their kids' nutrition and fitness needs. And all that cooking and trips to the playground pays off with slimmer, healthier kids: Another study of children age 3-11 found that 10 hours of mom working outside the home per week increased their kids' odds of being obese by 1.5 percent.
  2. They're sick less often. It's a fact: day care is crawling with germs, which explains the results of a recent study by the University of Montreal in Quebec that found that kids who stay home with mom get sick less often than those in a group childcare setting.  In the 1,238 families in the study, kids who attended day care before the age of 2 ½ had higher rates of respiratory, ear or gastrointestinal infections than stay-at-home kids.
  3. They're less stressed. Day care isn't just germy, it's chaos defined! That may be why a study by the University of Minnesota found that many kids in day care had higher cortisol levels in their saliva -- and thus higher stress levels -- than those who get to kick back at home.
  4. Your kids are smarter. Stay-at-home moms should be bursting with pride on this one: Research by Columbia university tracking 1,000 children across the U.S. found that kids with stay-at-home moms score slightly higher on intelligence tests than those whose moms work. Plus, this edge persists at least until 1st grade.

    More from The Stir: 11 Things Never to Say to a Stay-at-Home Mom

  5. They'll likely be jocks. Let's hear it for soccer moms. A study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that kids with stay-at-home moms are more likely to participate in organized sports. Which makes sense: You're around and able to ferry them to practice.
  6. Your kids are better behaved. A 10-year study by the National Institute of Child Health found that kids who clock more than 30 hours a week in day care have more behavioral problems than others, scoring higher in categories including " talks too much," "argues a lot," "gets in lots of fights," "cruelty," "explosive behavior" and "demands lots of attention." In other words, kids of stay-at-home moms are angels. Well, not quite. But your constant surveillance may mean they're a lot less trouble.
  7. Your kids are more likely to stay alive! Bottom line is, no one looks after the cubs like mama bear: A study by North Carolina State University found that when mom works, her kids experience 200 percent more life-threatening events, including overnight hospitalizations, asthma episodes, injuries and poisonings.

Keep up the good work SAHMs! If you're ever wondering why you put up with the things you do, this list will no doubt serve as a salient reminder.

Do you ever question your decision to stay home with your kids?

 

Image © Isaac Lane Koval/Corbis; © iStock.com/TatyanaGl       

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