What is a Stay-At-Home Parent?

Sheri Cyprus

A stay-at-home parent is a parent who stays at home to raise his or her children rather than going to work outside the home. Traditionally, a stay-at-home parent was always a female, or stay-at-home-mom, but today some stay-at-home parents are fathers. Stay-at-home parents may or may not also do paid work from home while parenting their children.

Traditionally, the stay-at-home parent was the mother, but today, fathers sometimes put off work to raise their children, too.
Traditionally, the stay-at-home parent was the mother, but today, fathers sometimes put off work to raise their children, too.

Many parents wish to stay home with the kids once they start a family, but for mostly financial reasons, not all parents have that option. Some careers don’t transfer well to working from home and often both parents must work outside the home to earn enough income to support the family. If one parent earns enough, then the other parent often has the option of being a stay-at-home parent. This often means giving up some potential income, although when daycare costs are factored in, the income loss may not be very substantial.

Stay-at-home parents can help with a child's education before they start school.
Stay-at-home parents can help with a child's education before they start school.

Some stay-at-home parents, usually still mothers rather than fathers, provide daycare for other children so that they can earn an income from home while looking after their own children. This can be a good arrangement as the children can play together, but it does require a lot of patience to look after additional children in the home all day. Some states also have restrictions on how many children can be cared for in one home without a daycare license.

A stay-at-home parent may run a home-based  business while watching the children.
A stay-at-home parent may run a home-based business while watching the children.

A stay-at-home-parent may also run a business from home and watch the children full time as well. However, it can prove challenging to manage enough billable hours while caring for the family and income from a home business may not be steady at first. Increasingly, the options for being a stay-at-home parent while earning an income at home are expanding. It's now fairly common for companies to give employees the option to work at home if they have proven to be good workers. Studies have shown that company loyalty and productivity tend to increase when those who want to work from home are given that option.

Some stay-at-home parents earn money doing freelance or other part-time work.
Some stay-at-home parents earn money doing freelance or other part-time work.
Some stay-at-home dads also do part-time work while rearing a child.
Some stay-at-home dads also do part-time work while rearing a child.
Stay-at-home parents are able to care for sick children easier.
Stay-at-home parents are able to care for sick children easier.

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