Opinions remain divided on whether a mom should stay home with her children, and the research shows a mix of pros and cons. Every mom has to decide for herself what's best for her and her family, but it's good to do some research before making that decision.
At this point in time, sixty percent of Americans believe that children are best off with one parent staying home to care for the children. A little less than a third of moms are full-time parents, and that number is slowly climbing. Not so long ago, about half of mothers were not employed and remained with their children. So what do the scientific studies reveal? As it turns out, there's both good news and bad news.
Let's begin with the good news. Children whose mothers stayed home to raise them full time showed increased school performance and showed lower stress and aggression than their peers in daycare settings. Both of these effects proved to last over the long term. Stay at home moms also felt a sense of approval from society. Unfortunately, the moms also faced some challenges. Many of them wanted to work and felt a strong sense of social isolation, spending all of their time with their children. These mothers showed increased rates of sadness, anger, and depression.
A sad, angry, or depressed mother isn't good for her children or herself. As much as kids benefit from a parent at home with them, they also need a happy mother. Since the effects of leaving the work world behind definitely influence children's lives positively, it would be wise to look more deeply into why mothers don't always see the benefits themselves.
Based on the research, we can infer that moms need more social connections, and would gain from joining groups of moms to fill that void. Alternatively, stay at home moms may want to reserve a weekly or monthly night for a social outing with their existing friends, while dad stays home or the parents hire a babysitter. And truly, the more the number of women who stay home with their children rises, the more connected and less isolated these women would feel.