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.
Since March 2020 when the Corona Virus landed on this side of our world, many households were unexpectedly jolted in a new realm where some parents for a season and others for a lifetime have tasted what being a stay at home parent entails. Are you at the verge of making a decision about this status or are you seeking to understand those around you who have chosen or are choosing this path? Then this is a read worth your time.
The basic definition of a Stay at Home Parenting (SAHP) is an arrangement where one of the parents stays back at home to look after the children and or manage the home while the other goes out to earn the family’s upkeep. I can say that this is a traditional definition where families have what we call the old-school model of family life. In our contemporary context, being a stay at home parent and especially a mother may not stem from the belief that a woman’s place is the home and nothing else.
Today, women also go out to make a living whether as single parents or not, the dynamics that make a family choose this mode of operation are as varied as the families and their circumstances.
The reasons for making such a decision to stay at home are not a one-size fit all outfit and so it is good to understand the reasons behind each family and the parents. However, from my experience and from those around me these are just some of the reasons.
Personal ideals, desires and beliefs play into making this kind of a decision. Couples when marrying or getting together, usually have a roadmap and a destination of where they want their family to go. This includes, children, education, where they want to settle, how long they want to work in employment before self-employment.
There are families I have met who believe that once the children are born and are in their infancy to early childhood, then one parent, mostly the mother is to stay at home and be the primary caregiver. Convictions are pretty much very personal and individual based, one must understand the person clearly to make any judgment on this decision.
The Schooling System of Choice
The education system chosen by a family greatly affects how a family makes the decision for a SAHP or not. In most societies where we have both public and private schools and both parents and children leave in the morning and meet later in the evening, the SAH option may not be very popular and it goes without saying sometimes that they both can go out.
However, where the education system involves models like the Home school method, then it is imperative that at least one parent stays at home even as a Working from Home parent, to monitor the processes of education happening in their home. Despite what I have raised above, many times you still find that there are parents who still choose to SAH even if their children attend public school therefore we revert to the basis of conviction and reason for making the choice as per family.
Special or Difficult Circumstances
When we get married and begin having children, we may never know which types of curve balls that life may throw at us. Our different situations are as different as the number of families on the globe.
Situations vary from job losses and protracted periods of unemployment, working from home to set up businesses, illness of either a spouse, a parent or a child, a disability either congenital or acquired at some point in time; all these and more can lead a family in making this decision.
Staying at home is not all based on gloomy circumstances, sometimes a spouse may be relocated as a career progression and that may mean that the other spouse then has to join them if it is in a new country or county.
All families have special circumstances that must be understood before judging and having misconceptions on the choice of such a parent.