Stay at Home Parent – Double Edged Sword?

When I committed my family to relocating to Atlanta I knew there would be great change for all of us. One of the largest sacrifices made was from DH. He agreed to leave his position as a Juvenile Probation Supervisor for Chester County. Given current economic conditions, jobs in general are few and far between, let alone trying to find a position in government.

Always trying to make lemonade from life’s lemons, we tried to view DH’s lack of employment as a win-win. First, we wouldn’t have the added expense of a second child requiring daycare. Second, DH would have the opportunity for continued direct bonding with Jed.

My only hesitation came when I thought about Jed’s exposure to other children. Again we weighed the positive…no cold and flu season. Big win. As a child under one and the many strains of flu this past season, we were happy to keep him home.  Negative, he wouldn’t have any playmates every day. Kids need other children in my opinion. They learn from each other. It’s important for their development. With Jed at home, was he developing at the same rate as other children?

I decided to look for a mom and dads group of other working parents. I was already a member of Meetup.com for Social Media, so why not expand my member interests to family meetup groups? I found a group, RSVP’d for the first arranged play date and crossed my fingers my darling boy would cooperate.

I worried about his lack of exposure to other children over the past year. How would he behave? Would he be shy? Would he be aggressive? He is part shark, ya know. What would the other children be like?  Were they all in daycare?

All my worrying was for nothing. The first play date was great fun. After a few shy moments my big boy made himself right at home with many of the host child’s toys. All the children were wonderful and the co-playing was adorable to watch.

I was very lucky to find a great meetup group with children similar in age, not only to Jed, but to Baby as well. And the group isn’t just for moms, dads come too!  If and when, Jed needs to go back into daycare, I can relax and know he is developing just fine and he will be ready.

 

Are you at home with a child instead of having them in daycare? What do you do to enhance their learning, interacting, and sharing skills?

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4 Responses to “Stay at Home Parent – Double Edged Sword?”

  1. Kristen June 7, 2010 at 7:14 pm #

    I’ve had a very similar experience with our 2 boys. I was working and commuting full time when Colbmeister was born (almost 3 years ago). He spent the better part of his first 2 years in daycare. Although we were fortunate to only have to send him 3 days a week (I worked from home 1 day and my mother in law watched him the other day), it was still ‘full-time’ in my eyes because of how long he was there on those days. I have since left that job and now work from home so that I can be home with the boys and still bring home a paycheck for our family. It has its obstacles, but has been a very positive experience thus far. I work when they are napping and sometimes after they have gone to bed, but my day is spent with my children instead of feeling like someone else gets all their love instead of me. When our 2nd son, PJ, was born I was already working from home and I was thrilled that he would never have to step foot into a daycare setting. I have the opportunity to experience the firsts and get to teach the boys all those life lessons instead of the daycare provider. Don’t get me wrong there are some fabulous daycares, and not everyone has this opportunity, I’m not passing judgment on that at all, I’ve lived that too. I’m just outwardly appreciative of our current situation. One of the most drastic differences I have seen recently, now that PJ is closing in on his 1st birthday, is his “clingyness”. He sure does love being with his mommy and I think that’s because I’m with him all the time. Colbmeister used to be so easy to hand off and walk away, he’d play with whoever and I never thought twice about whether he’d be ok because I had to do it every day. PJ, on the other hand, has our household routine down and isn’t exactly as adaptive as Colbmeister was since he had to deal with other kids and schedules in the classroom all the time. But, after a few test runs with other kids in our church nursery during the service, it appears he’s turning out just fine after all. Maybe, like you thought with Jed, it was us who had the questions surrounding how they would react and not the little guy at all! Perhaps this is the best of both worlds! I get to be home with them and yet we can choose what activities and settings and groups of children we expose them to instead of whoever was in the class is in the class. I don’t think I’d change anything after all :) Great topic. Thanks for sharing! I think our little guys would be great pals!!!

  2. Lindsay Lebresco June 8, 2010 at 8:13 am #

    You know I get it Karen! There are some great things about it and then there are some drawbacks- as with most option honestly. I’m not real worried about you making new friends for Jed- it’s the dads I worry about- Chris isn’t a real playdate kinda guy :) Glad to hear you’re all making the most of it!

  3. Shandell June 8, 2010 at 3:21 pm #

    I watch another baby, about 2 months older than my son, 12 hours a week. It’s great for both of them to get the socialization. I also get together with other stay at home mom friends and while we chat, the kids play. It’s great for everyone!

  4. becky June 8, 2010 at 3:37 pm #

    i am a stay at home mom, i have an 11 yr old and a 14 month old, i help my little one learn by reading to her, and using letter blocks to spell words and learn numbers

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