Feeling good about your choice to stay home with your kids
The Value of a Stay-at-Home Parent
by Pam Hutzler
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You've Got a Lot of Company
According to U.S. Census Bureau, in 2013, there were 5 million stay-at-home moms with "24% of married-couple family groups with children under 15 having a stay-at-home mother." Also, according to Pew Research, in 2012, there were 2.2 million stay-at-home dads in the U.S. Therefore, you can feel good in the knowledge that you aren't alone in your desire to stay home with your kids.
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Know Your Self-Worth
The first step in knowing your self-worth is recognizing the importance of your job as a stay-at-home parent. No one will love and nurture your child better than a parent, and many moms/dads with older children will say how quickly time flies. Therefore, it's important to realize the window of opportunity to be with your kids is fleeting. Instead of spending time wondering if you've made the right decision to stay home, enjoy each moment that you get to pour into your child's life.
Also, it's important to remember that your value as a person has absolutely nothing to do with your job title or earning capacity. At the end, when reflecting on one's life, no one will say that they wish they had earned more money, worked harder, or bought more stuff. It's always going to be about the people we love and how we made a difference in their lives.
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Your Contributions Are Significant
We all know that today's expenses can almost be crippling, but there are benefits of having one parent at home that some may not realize. When a person works outside of the home, there's the cost of lunches, commuting, professional attire, etc. to consider. These expenses will decrease with the choice to stay home. Also, a stay-at-home parent has plenty of time to clip coupons, shop thrift stores, prepare homemade meals, and tend a little garden. Stay-at-home parents can essentially become professional cost cutters.
Congratulations! You saved your family in another important way. Despite the loss of earning, converting to a single-income family can put a household in a lower tax bracket. For example, married couples who will file their 2014 taxes jointly and have a household income of $18,150 to $73,800 will be in the 15 percent tax bracket, while those with a household income anywhere from $73,800 to $148,850 will fall into the 25 percent tax bracket.
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Improved Family Relations
Let's face it... Stress is a common part of modern life. But, as a stay-at-home parent, there are significant ways that you can make your home a refuge from the stress. When the working parent comes home at the end of the day, he/she can find a home that's running like a well-oiled machine. The once hectic evening hours can now become a time for a leisurely dinner and a time to unwind and enjoy time together as a family. Instead of both parents frantically preparing after work hours for the next day, throughout the day, the stay-at-home parent can calmly prepare the evening's meal and make preparations for the next day, taking the stress out of the hours before bedtime. And, less stress equates to a happier home, marriage, and kids.
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Enjoy a More Relaxed Lifestyle
What you once needed to get done during weekday evenings and on weekends can now be spread throughout the week, leading to a more relaxed lifestyle. You have time to run errands and do chores during the week, so your weekends will include more free time. Instead of cleaning the house on a Saturday morning, maybe your family will take in a bike ride or go on a short road trip to a fun location.
Also, more free time means more time to pursue a hobby that you've always wanted to try. Maybe you've always wished you had time to volunteer and give back to society. Or maybe you've wanted to learn how to garden and can your homegrown produce, sew, or cook up a dinner that even Bobby Flay would enjoy. Well, now is the time! And, you can feel good in the knowledge that some of these hobbies will also cut family expenses.
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Get Your Pride On!
Is it better to have two working parents or to have one parent at home with the kids? There's not a "one size fits all" answer to this question. The best answer is unique to your family. If you've found that it's better for your family to have one parent home, then run with it. Don't look back and stop questioning your choices. Enjoy each and every day because in the end, all that will matter is that you've given your very best to your family.
Take the Next Step:
- Learn smart ways to raise your family on one-income in this two-income world. The Dollar Stretcher's Guide for One-Income Families will give you ideas for reducing expenses and making money from home.
- It's tough raising kids today! You need every time and money saving idea you can find. That's why you'll want to get our free weekly Dollar Stretcher for Parents newsletter. You'll find great ideas designed just for parents that will help your family 'live better...for less'! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE.
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