Recently I read something demanding to know why stay-at-home parents automatically jump to the defensive side. The simple answer- society has painted the stay-at-home parent into a corner where the simplest comment can come off as an attack.
In an economy that almost requires two incomes just to make ends meet, society puts the blame on the parent that's not working when times get tough for the family. This is not fair. I know the contributions I make to my family are far greater than any monetary gain I would make if I were employed full-time. I know my children are safe and fed. I know what they are being exposed to. That, to my family, is the most important role I can play.
There's also the question of codependency. To this, I say, children need to be taken care of. They need to know they are loved and when darkness falls someone will be there to have their back. Codependency results come from a child not having room to grow and explore, NOT by having a parent around to guide and encourage them. In fact, proper guidance and encouragement can lead to higher self-esteem, in turn leading to a stronger, more independent individual.
Last, but certainly not least, is the stigma surrounding the stay-at-home parent: that they just lay around all day and do nothing. This is not the case at all. As a stay-at-home mom I can tell you my work is never done. There's always toys to pick up, or dishes to do, or meals to cook, the list is endless. To someone who faces these chores day after day, the idea that they don't "work" is highly offensive.
I'm not saying working parents aren't good parents. I've said on other occasions that what is right for one family won't necessarily be right for another. I honestly believe this, but I also believe that children are becoming so out-of-control and disrespectful because moms are returning to work (either out of necessity or desire) too soon in a child's life. I think, because of this, more and more people- children especially, are losing sight of family values.
Parenting choices are among the most important and personal choices you will ever get the honor of making. Each person is entitled to their own ideas and the ability to put those ideas into action. Rather than outsiders worrying about who will be working and who will be caring for the children, why don't we all start focusing on what's really important- the children?