Many home-based professionals and many people that dream of working from home do so because they want to be stay-at-home parents. However, even though being a stay-at-home parent is a rewarding choice, to say the least, it is not without its difficult moments. Some of the difficult things that happen when one or both parents chooses to stay at home are related to finances, trying to earn as much as possible from home and keep expenses as low as possible. These are not the things that trouble me the most. With good communication and a commitment to working together to make the finances work, most families can make it possible for one or both parents to work at home and be home with the kids.
The difficulties facing stay-at-home/work-at-home parents that concern me the most are those that come from being judged by others and by society for what we do. Some of these difficulties are things that we can not do much about. For example, there will probably always be people who will not acknowledge that what we do at home for our families is real work, with high social and economic value. The same goes for the misconceptions of who stay-at-home parents are and what they do all day. Stay-at-home parents are intelligent, talented individuals and many have high aspirations for their careers. If someone were to follow one of us around for a day there would likely be no soap operas or bon bons in sight – they would see us doing all kinds of things in the name of helping our children explore their worlds while keeping them safe and healthy.
Fortunately, there are some things that affect stay-at-home parents that we can do something about. The employment gap is one of them. For years it has been known that it is difficult to reenter the world of work after taking time out to raise children. Home-based professional parents are, whether they realize it or not, dealing with the employment gap problem before it becomes a problem for them. Since home-based professionals are working at least some of the time while they are home with the kids, they are staying active in their professional lives, keeping their skills sharp and their knowledge current. When these home-based professionals decide that they would either like to return to work or devote more time to their home-based businesses, they are in a good position to launch into full-time career mode. This is just one way in which home-based professionals are changing the way the world works for stay-at-home parents.