Why do some women choose to be stay-at-home moms? Find out some of the most commonly cited benefits that come along with the job.

Perhaps you have but a few months left of your maternity leave and are desperately trying to figure out which path is best, being a stay-at-home mom or working Mums. Or, perhaps, you’ve been working for some years, have long struggled to “make it all work,” and are now considering the possibility of quitting your job to be a full-time, stay-at-home mom. Whatever your reason(s), this article, which is part of a two-part series on the topic, is a great place to start. Here, you’ll learn about some of the benefits that many stay at home moms have experienced in their line of “work.”

These benefits are not meant to promote being a stay-at-home mom as the easiest path, nor as to the best path for all women. The decision to stay home is personal, and one that requires you to assess what matters most to you. The benefits are here merely as a resource to help you begin to think more critically about your imagined path as a mom.

#What are the Benefits of Staying Home Full-Time?

Some of the most commonly touted benefits of staying home full-time are that you can:

Play a central role in your children’s early development. This one is big for many moms and dads. By staying home, you become, in a sense, your child’s first teacher, first mentor, first cheerleader. You have the opportunity to see them through all of their developmental milestones and can be the most critical influential force in their young lives.

Always be physically available to your children. Whether they have a fever or are teething, in choosing to stay at home, and without having to worry about other commitments, you will always be available to attend to your children’s wants and needs.

Have less stress in your home. Many families in which one parent decides to stay home with the kids claim that with the arrangement, things are a lot less stressful. This is because when both parents work, the hours at home can seem like a “rush-to-get-everything” done, with weekends serving as the time to “catch up” on the things missed. With organization and planning, it has been argued that the flow of a household can go much smoother with one parent at home to handle much, if not all, of the household affairs.

Save more money in the long run. Did you know that it’s not always true that two incomes equal a better lifestyle and more money? To determine whether you can afford to stay at home, you’ll need to review your financial history, your taxes, your expenses, etc. Often, and you’d be surprised, many couples learn after sitting down and reviewing where their money is going in their household that having a parent at home is the more cost-efficient option.

#What are the Challenges of Staying Home Full-Time?

Some of the most commonly cited challenges of staying home full-time are:

Struggling with feelings of isolation, loneliness, boredom, and depression. Many first-time, stay-at-home moms battle, sometimes, regularly with feelings of isolation, loneliness, and depression. Seemingly removed from the rest of the “functioning” society, many moms struggle to stay connected with their peers and community at large.

Making it work on a single income. Moving from two incomes to one, while rewarding in the long run, can prove very challenging at the outset. Gone are the days of seemingly careless spending on a whim. With only a single income, budgets must be carefully scrutinized and belts tightened to “stay above water.”

Accepting the loss of an older identity. For women whose identities were tied to their careers, becoming a stay-at-home mom can be especially tough. Removed from the career that once provided them validation, tangible rewards, and a sense of accomplishment, these women struggle to make sense of their new role as a stay at home moms.

Receiving little to no recognition for a job well done. In the corporate world, you receive performance reviews to track how you are doing and things you need to improve upon. But, life in the stay-at-home world is without these tracking mechanisms. As a stay-at-home mom, you may receive an occasional compliment by way of a spouse or friend, but these compliments are often few and far in between.

Accommodating to changes in one’s marriage. In single-income families, the wage-earning spouse feels “an enormous amount of stress of produce and keep the family finances in the black.” While the parent at home may feel “like she’s not earning her own money or contributing to the family kitty.” And, this feeling of “not earning…or contributing enough” can lead moms to devalue their roles as a stay at home moms and second guess their “rights” to happiness within their marriages and families.

#Is it Worth It to Become a Stay at Home Mom?

This is a question that you must answer on your own. Every woman (and man) is different, so to say that one path is better than another would be misleading and, well, downright wrong. As with most things, there are trade-offs to both, trade-offs that you should consider when making your decision.

Becoming a stay-at-home mom is not always the easiest choice for some women. And, it is not without its fair share of challenges. The “worth” question should come after you’ve assessed the benefits and challenges and thought deeply about the collective goals of your family and your personal goals for yourself as a parent and individual.