Our guest writer is Caroline Kasaya from Nairobi Kenya. She has been a wife for 15 years to Bramwell Kasaya and they have one daughter Lisa Neema. Caroline describes herself as a contemplative woman, who is great at analyzing situations and helping herself and others make seasonal decisions. She enjoys mentoring and counseling with those who need the help. Born in a family of four girls, she is a “girl-child enthusiast” by choice and experience, hence channeling her energies thinking of girl-child empowerment initiatives. She writes to be a voice for the voiceless women, girls and the men who love them in this matter. She is a former student ministry worker with Fellowship of Christian Unions (FOCUS-Kenya) where she remains an active associate.
Despite not being a new phenomena, the decision to be a stay at home parent is met with a number of myths and misconceptions that people have about SAHPs. These are just some of the myths people hold about SAHPs.
They Are Rich!
This must be the biggest on the list of myths because families that have a SAH parent are deemed as financially secure and swimming in money. Granted, there are families in which spouses agree on this arrangement because they have enough (a lot) to live on. I must add here that from experience it is not necessarily true. Having assessed the reason for why one spouse must be at home, then the family learns the discipline of stretching the coin to live on one income or from proceeds of the business.
They Have A Lot of Free Time
Another assumption is that if one spouse/parent is at home, then they have a lot of time on their hands and should be available for family, friends, neighbours, former colleagues, the church at the drop of a hat. At the beginning many a spouse of the stay at home parent have this assumption and can be frustrated when they find a house in disorder, children cranky, things undone and easily settle into blame and nag mode. We all have 24 hours whether at home working, minding the children or at an 8-12 hour job away from the house. The pressures on time for the different groups are definitely not the same and must be treated separately. Time management will require that appointments are kept, cancelled, declined so that the at home parent remains sober.
They Have No Ambition
Perhaps this is what puzzles most people when they perceive SAH parents as not expending themselves academically or having “wasted the degree”, “throwing away opportunities” and therefore assuming that they may be ill-advised or depressed. In our world today, you will be surprised to find that the “Stay a Home” mode is no longer a preserve of those who have not received a “proper” school education. It is still surprising to find highly placed professionals taking time-out to be at home for either a sabbatical, leave of absence or transitional times. Being at home does not lower your ambition, it may just redirect it.
Stay At Home Is A Preserve of Females
Our society is changing rapidly and it is slightly common to find men who stay at home due to various reasons minding the home and the children. This is a major point of departure between men and their relatives/ friends because of the cultural perceptions that have shaped our minds. The thought that the woman is out working while the man is at home continues not to resonate well with many people. During this Corona season, many a family have had to confront this possibility even if it was on a short-term basis and I hope the appreciation of whoever needed to stay at home in this season was given.