Working Women and the Stay at Home Mom

Linda Levin M.A. evaluates the pros and cons of being a stay at home mom verses being a working woman with a family.

Business TeamBecoming a mother is one of the most important jobs we will ever have in our lifetime. Many women today have postponed childbirth in order to achieve becoming a self-sufficient or career woman. Is it possible to be both? This is a personal choice that every woman has to make in order to be happy with their own lives. I have been fortunate enough to enjoy the pleasures of pursuing my chosen career as well as having time for my two, now grown, daughters. However depending on each mother’s financial situation, others may not be so lucky.

In order to make this decision, we must look at the pros and cons of returning to a job or career from many different perspectives such as finance, interest level, passion, and capability. The most important objectives are to become empowered, independent, selfreliant, responsible and capable of decision making when considering this crucial choice. reported that 67 percent of women in 2012 were working outside the home and 33 percent stayed at home with their children. Often women experienced anxiety and guilt when they were at work and they were thinking about their babies or children at home. This is the common denominator for many working women.

Sometimes during a friendship women can experience being criticized by other women because of their decision to either choose being a “stay at home mom” or a “working mom.” It can be a difficult situation for both and may even create jealousy or rivalry. It is important to have a strong support system for both working and stay at home moms.

Linda Gellman Levin holds a dual Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and in Special Education. In this new exclusive SmartFem column Linda will address your tough questions on the difficult and important job of raising children. suggests that, “Some of the pressure could be lifted if there were more social supports for women who work, such as improved childcare programs and more flexible working hours– as well as a higher standard of involvement for fathers.”

Women may need to ask their partners/husbands, if they are married or living together, to share in the chores, child rearing practices, and working as a team from a financial perspective.

Some of the most important decisions parents make is who will take care of the child if a wife decides to work part time or full time. Childcare decision making is critical.


Advantages of choosing to employ a childcare center or daycare are: (Taken from My Baby Manual written by Linda Levin M.A. and Eileen Bropson R.N.)

  • Most centers are open Monday through Friday
  • There are planned activities for the children
  • There are playmates for your child
  • Qualified centers follow state and health and safety regulations
  • Caregivers usually have child development, health, and safety training.

Disadvantages include:

  • Some childcare centers have high enrollment
  • Some may not accept children who are not toilet trained
  • Available hours may not fit your work schedule
  • Some centers do not take your child when he or she is sick
  • The number of caregivers may fall below the ratio of one to every three children
  • There may be a high turnover among staff
  • Your child could be exposed to other children’s sicknesses
  • Some centers are very busy and noisy


daycareThe cost of these locations may vary upon each center. Private homecare has advantages and disadvantages. They usually accept children and infants who are not toilet trained and they will likely be more flexible with hours. However, sometimes in private homecare some facilities may not be licensed, or even handle more children then they probably can. If the childcare person is sick, there needs to be a backup plan. Usually the price of private homecare is more expensive per week.

There are other possibilities to consider. You may hire an in-home/live-in nanny or a in-home daysitter.

Some of the disadvantages of not being a working mother, or staying in your profession even on a part time basis, can affect your knowledge/skills and not being updated year to year on all of the new technology and information related to your field. You no longer have a budget to rely on, which could effect your financial situation. Sometimes it may be beneficial for you and your spouse to seek advice from a financial planner whether you are working or not. “Jacqueline Plumez, PhD, a psychologist and career counselor in Larchmont, N.Y., proposes keeping current in your profession by taking classes, working part time, or volunteering in projects related to your career,” Web MD wrote.

It may be difficult if you get a divorce or you lose your husband/spouse to find a job if you have been out of work for many years. Your income may go down and your frustration level may rise due to being out of the modern workforce while you were raising your child. You also need to be empowered about finance and how to invest and save for the future for yourself and your family.

Culture/religion may play a vital role in choosing to be a “stay at home mom.” If a woman feels that her belief system has indoctrinated her, culturally or from a religious perspective, then she usually acquiesce to this dogma.  It is very important from a societal perspective to not judge a woman if her beliefs are important to her family system.

In the end, the most important thing is to feel that your choice has brought you and your family inner peace and happiness.