Skip to comments.Ranks of stay-at-home mothers on the rise
Posted on 06/16/2003 11:12:09 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
WASHINGTON -- Nearly 10.6 million children were being raised by full-time stay-at-home moms last year, up 13 percent in a little less than a decade.
Experts credit the economic boom, the cultural influence of America's growing Hispanic population and the entry into parenthood of a generation of latchkey kids.
Of the 41.8 million kids under 15 who lived with two parents last year, more than 25 percent had mothers who did not have a paying job, according to a Census Bureau report. That was up from 23 percent, or 9.4 million children, in such situations in 1994, a bureau analyst said.
Full-time stay-at-home dads took care of 189,000 kids in 2002, up 18 percent.
Heather Stergos, 29, of St. Louis, quit her job as a child care worker six months ago so she could stay home with her own newborn full time. She brought her infant son to work with her for four months before deciding she wanted to spend more time with him.
While her family's budget is a little tighter, Stergos says she is happy with the decision and plans to stay home until son Charlie is in grade school.
"There was a lot of `Oh my God, why would you want to do that?' I got a lot more negative responses from friends, though my family was very supportive," Stergos said Monday.
Both she and her husband were raised by stay-at-home moms. "It was more beneficial than having someone else take care of your kids," she said.
Kelly Miller, a stay-at-home mother of a 4-year-old daughter and 16-month-old son, decided to quit working full time as a marketing director after giving birth to her second child. Miller, 38, of Fairfax, Va., said the cultural perception that raising kids full time doesn't equate to work still exists, though not as widely as a decade ago.
With unemployment low in the late 1990s, many companies offered more work-from-home options or extended leave as enticements to retain qualified female workers, said Joanne Brundage, executive director of Mothers & More, an organization for mothers who have adjusted their careers to raise children.
But Brundage said the flailing economy of recent years may have forced more women back into the work force, either because their spouse has been laid off or benefits have been cut back.
Children with married mothers who stayed home tended to be less well-off economically than those in two-working-parent families, according to an analysis of the March 2002 census data by William O'Hare, a researcher with the children's advocacy group Annie E. Casey Foundation.
For instance, about 16 percent of kids with stay-at-home moms lived in poverty, quadruple the rate of those whose moms had outside employment, O'Hare found.
And 14 percent of kids with married stay-at-home mothers lacked health insurance, compared with 8 percent of those with moms who also worked outside the home.
High birth rates and increased immigration helped the Hispanic population more than double in the United States during the 1990s.
That may have also influenced the trend, as some Hispanic cultures place more emphasis on women staying home to raise children, O'Hare said.
Many younger women who now have kids grew up when placing a child in day care was the norm, said Susan De Ritis, spokeswoman for the Fairfax, Va.-based Family and Home Network, which represents stay-at-home parents.
"Those children that were in day care growing up are now becoming mothers themselves, and now they don't want their kids to become day care children," she said. "Their mom may not have been home when they got home from school, so perhaps they want something different for their family."
The Census Bureau also reported that 55 percent of women who gave birth between July 1999 and July 2000 returned to the labor force within a year of having their babies.
That was down from a record high of 59 percent the last time the survey was conducted in 1998.
Our older daughter is having her first child this year and is going to suspend her career to stay home and raise her child. Our younger daughter plans to do the same. They've planned with their husbands to achieve this goal and I'm fully supportive. They both have good degrees and good jobs, but see parenting as their first obligation and know how rewarding it will be.
No. They want something BETTER for their family.
More moms are staying home, census survey finds***Danielle Marshall, 32, of Altamonte Springs left her 61/2 -year career as a program manager for Volusia County Environmental Management to be a stay-at-home mom to her two daughters, ages 4 and 2. Marshall, now the president of the MOMS Club of Longwood/Altamonte East, said she and her husband decided she should stay at home after their second daughter was born. She didn't want to put both children in day care. "The difficult part is balancing money more than anything else," she said Monday. "Staying at home is a difficult job."
Melissa Tomasso, 31, left her "dream job" as the manager of the public-relations department at Kennedy Space Center to care for her 3-year-old son and 91/2-month-old daughter. Stepping away from a high-profile job was tough at first, said Tomasso, who recently moved to Windermere. But the benefits far outweigh the negatives, she said. "I think it's great," she said. "I get so many rewards. I don't look back. I'm glad I made this decision."***
All day care does to kids is turn them into pack or herd animals...
Townsend takes helm of education nonprofit of national organization 'Operation Respect'*** Operation Respect provides educational programs that can be used in schools, camps and other programs involving children to try to teach respect and compassion. Townsend said a big part of her job will be traveling throughout the country helping start state offices for Operation Respect. "This program started as an anti-bullying program because there is so much bullying," she said. Townsend said while respect and compassion should begin at home, many children don't learn those lessons from their parents.
I wish I had figured out the myths earlier; I did as soon as I got married, and before the first kiddos showed up -- however, I had to stay in the work force for a bit until the finances worked out (all those student loans for the gadzillion graduate degrees in the family), but AS SOON AS that was realized, I was home with the kids in the next split second.
When leaving the job, I didn't say much about it (I would dance my jig of joy privately, with my office door closed), as there were several working moms in the office, and I didn't want to offend by my joy and exuberance (plus, there are a huge number of single moms, where the need to work is not going away); turns out, several of the married moms plan to come home, too, as soon as possible (it seems the birth of a second child is the final straw; perhaps child care costs do the trick).
Anyhow, I have no trouble at all "defending" myself, in fact, it's more of the need to use sensitivity not to offend with my overflowing happiness/satisfaction. All the gals my age who are not married are not happy about it, but thought that career was the thing to pursue, and that they had to be "just like men", all that bologna....now they're in their thirties, and not thrilled about their station at all. Perhaps because I don't watch much TV ("Sex in the Urban Centers" and all that), my view is limited to those I can personally observe, but that's just what I see.
I dare anyone to accuse me of sitting around on my tail all day as a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom; and when I have extra time/energy, it goes to volunteering to make my community a little better (by taking a meal to a new mom, or picking up a prescription for an elderly person next door). When moms are working, who does these priceless things in the neighborhood?
You won't ever see me trading in my two boys for a Lexus. I know there are moms out there (as well as Dads) that have to work in order to feed their kids, keep clothing on their backs and a roof over their heads.
However, there's too many that have kids and then hand them over to the "Nanny" to bring up...or they leave it to the school system.
If you don't want to raise your own children, then don't have them.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.