When Will We Admit That Stay-At-Home Parenting Is Better For Everyone?

When Will We Admit That Stay-At-Home Parenting Is Better For Everyone?

I think we will find that America’s weight problem has less to do with fats, sugars, paleo, gluten… and more to do with the eating that goes on at our desks being the only thing that we have to look forward to–in our 10-hour, work-a-day, every day, minimal paid vacation and family time (if we even take it), for-as-long-as-we-live existence.

I think we will find that Dementia has everything to do with stress: the stress of working too much, or the lack of stress and mental disengagement from working too little; and we will discover that this is why it strikes more women than it does, men.

I suspect that it will be admitted, once again, that laundry doesn’t, in fact, get done while both parents are at work. The house doesn’t actually clean itself while it sits empty of its otherwise weekend-warrior, nocturnal inhabitants. Quality food is left unprepared, to rot in our crisper drawers. Thoughtful correspondence is left unsent. Gifts are hastily and thoughtlessly bought for more money than the recipients would probably want spent on them. Friends and family march toward death while everyone is at work.

It will be found that an “equal” household isn’t equal at all, which we are slowly discovering on the backs of our children who come home to their screens while parents make dinner and elbow each other out of the way. I suspect that we will be known as the generation that tested how much better it makes us to do it all just to try and have it all. We will be the generation that found and finally admitted that this modus operandi fails. It makes us worse.

Maybe it will be found that the wage plateau of the early 1970s is less of a mystery and has a relationship to half of the population newly identifying as being part of the workforce–skewing the unemployment rate, stalling minimum wage as a direct relation of the unemployment rate, and making it less likely for any gender to be able to support their family on a single income.

I think we will find that it’s better to make do with eating iceberg lettuce instead of microgreens, if there is someone at home to ask a kid about his homework or to clean the house so neither parent has to on the weekends, and time can be spent actually together. Maybe our kids who grow into adults–will stop seeking attention through gunfire.

Maybe it really is a job–worthy of actual value and respect–to be a parent and a spouse, considering that being one shapes the very core of the members of our society as we know it–for better, or for worse. I think we will decide that the job needs to be done well, once again.


Carisa Peterson

Carisa Peterson is a worker bee, mother-of-two, and writer whose work can be seen online, in print, and on stage. She writes in the wee hours from her home in the Colorado Rocky Mountains and enjoys doodling topiary trees in her spare time. Follow her @LynnoType, or visit carisapeterson.com

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