Return to work or stay at home?

But is the working life ideal? During the day, working parents enjoy adult interactions and rewarding careers. Their children may thrive in a daycare environment, learning important social skills. Furthermore, two working parents bring in more income, contributing to the family's financial success. Michigan resident Tracy Dusenbury comments that her job "helps us pay off debts. And I like to know that I have my own spending money."

However, the decision to return to work is not without its own baggage. As working parents attest, putting their children into day care for up to ten hours per day can add to the painful sense that they are missing their children's growing-up years. Hearing about a daughter's first step, or a son's new word from a child-care provider can be an anguishing experience. For parents who return to work solely because of financial reasons, the guilt can be even more unsettling.

Some parents have the best, and the worst, of both worlds. They contribute to the family's financial bottom-line while taking care of their child on a full time basis. Jackie Mygrant, from Arizona, runs a home-based Discovery Toys business. She enjoys being home with her daughter, Kyra, and comments that, "I get to be there for every step of her development. I am in control of her well-being." However, Jackie admits that it can be difficult at times, "putting things off until someone else can watch her, or during her infrequent naps."

All in all, there is no perfect solution. Parents must acknowledge that they have arrived at the decision by carefully examining the needs and desires of family members. Displaying confidence in the choices you make will only affect children in a positive manner. At the same time, it is vital that parents view other's decisions with the same kindness and understanding. Everyone is, first and foremost, a loving parent who has the same common goal in mind: to raise spirited, happy, healthy children who will contribute greatly to the world in which they live.


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