"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
- James 1:27
I am a stay-at-home-parent (SAHP), but I work one afternoon and evening a week. My kids go to a day home for about 5 hours on that day, and occasionally go another day if I need extra childcare. I know this is not everyone’s choice, or not everyone is able to choose this even if they want to, but for us it is ideal.
This conversation came up in a FB group I am part of and I loved that it made me sit down and think about the "whys" for our lifestyle. As adoptive parents, Shawn and I feel very strongly that it is best for our children to be with a parent the majority of their time, especially in the formative preschool years. For us it just comes down to intentionality in parenting, attachment, and spirituality.
We learned early on to be intentional and careful with finances, and it has really paid off in the long run to be disciplined with finances. One way in which we set ourselves up to be able to have one parent stay home, was that we committed to living on one income, even though we had two, before we even had kids. Our reasons for this were twofold: to be generous and to save money. But the extra benefit was that we knew that if one of us was going to be a stay-at-home-parent, this would set us up to be well practiced at living on one income. I was the practical financial choice, but for the record, Shawn would be an amazing stay at home parent!
As Christians, our deepest desire is for our children is that they love Jesus. Apart from that, we don’t think much else matters. But I think as humans our default is to do what comes most naturally, is the easiest decision to make or is the most socially acceptable. It is so valuable to have someone say point blank, “Why?” because it forces us to analyze the choices we make. So, here were my pros and cons.
PRO: I get to share in almost all my kids’ life experiences since they joined our family; we have the most influence over diet, disciplinary methods, media intake, etc. as well as who they spend time with; we get better downtime in the evenings and weekends by being able to plan activities during the weekday; my husband gets to spend more time with us, instead of chores, when’s he’s not at work since I can do a lot of the household chores and errands; I don’t have to grocery shop on busy Saturdays; I am almost always off work when my husband is; being together is best case scenario for strong and healthy attachment between us and our children; we have the most influence on our children’s spirituality.
CONS: sometimes I get sick of being with my kids (that’s no joke!); sometimes I wish I could just go to work and pay someone to clean my home; I don’t always get enough adult interaction; we have one income. Obviously I am biased one way, but to us this is a really simple decision. All concessions that have been made are worth it to us.
This is not meant to judge anyone for making a different choice than us. I have godly, intentional, intelligent friends who choose otherwise, or whose previous choices or life circumstances that have taken away this option. But it is good to check our decision making process, and evaluate our life from time to time. And maybe it’s valuable to someone else out there too.