More than 25 % of Quebec moms with a child under six years of age are choosing to stay at home to take care of their families full time. In addition, according to a CROP-La Presse study, 70 % of working mothers are also entertaining the idea. This practice, once a necessity for families, has now become a choice for women. But what does it mean to be a stay-at-home mom today?
Choosing to be a stay-at-home mother
The reasons vary from one woman to the next, but often resolve around a desire to be with their children for the first years of their lives. Women who choose to stay at home see a range of great benefits that tip the balance:
- Having a front seat to all the steps of their kids' development and being able to help them evolve at all times.
- Better quality of life for some, as the work-family balance was stressful and difficult to manage.
- Having time to evolve personally, making dreams come true or undertaking a career change based on new passions.
Becoming a stay-at-home mom is therefore a choice women have to make based on their personal views and family values. This choice requires a lot of organization, financial and otherwise, but when done right, can be a very suitable choice for today's families. That's why it's important for you to assess all aspects and their impacts on your life before making the leap so you can be well prepared for this new adventure!
The first thing you must consider is the financial aspect because if you stop working, you will have less income to see to the family expenses. Of course, all work related expenses are gone too, but it's still important to make a realistic and detailed budget to know if your lifestyle must be changed to adapt to your new reality and so you don't find your self in a bad financial situation.
It's therefore essential to have an open and honest discussion with your partner about how you plan to manage the expenses when he becomes the only provider. You have to make sure your partner realizes that you are making a long-term investment for your family and that you should not become completely financially dependent of him because of that choice. Here are some important points you should address in this discussion:
- Does your partner really agree with the decision and is he planning on supporting you in your new reality?
- How will you share the income he brings home?
- Will you have to justify every family or personal expense?
- If you are not working, you can't contribute to the Régie des rentes du Québec. Does your partner intend to contribute to an RRSP so you don't fall behind?
- You are a common law couple? Make sure you have all your legal documents up to date to avoid unpleasant surprises if you were to separate one day.
Perception of friends and relatives
Once you have addressed the financial aspect, you will need to make sure the people in your life are aware of your decision to stay at home with the kids and that they respect that decision, even if they might not understand it. Many stay-at-home moms say they feel judged or misunderstood by the people around them and end up having to justify their choice.
Indeed, the choice of staying at home to take care of the family is still seen as marginal and can be perceived as a lack of ambition, laziness or even as an anti-feminist choice that is degrading for women. Although these misconceptions should not affect your choice, you must be prepared to defend your values on occasion. Talk openly with the people you care about and explain the benefits of your choice to them so they can support you instead of judging you.