Updated: Jun 26, 2020
Love education note:
According to a groundbreaking study by the National Institutes of Health, the most important influence on your child remains you and your family, regardless of whether your child is in daycare or stays at home with you. A home environment that's emotionally supportive and enriching, with parents who aren't too stressed out or upset, benefits your child more than anything else. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, reviewed 50 years of research on working moms and concluded that children of women who go back to work before their kids turned 3 years old were no more likely to have behavior problems or do worse in school than kids whose mothers stayed at home with them. In fact, in some families that struggled financially, the mom's salary might create more opportunities for her kids and ease family stress, the researchers said.
On the other hand, the study found that families that didn't need the mother's salary might benefit from the mom being at home for the first year – something the researchers said could ideally be addressed by a more flexible maternity leave policy for working moms. Only you can make the decision that's right for your family. Staying home could be for you if you're convinced that you're the best person to care for your child, your family can get by without your income, and you're willing and able to make the necessary emotional and financial sacrifices. On the other hand, if you need or want to work outside the home and you can rely on a nurturing childcare provider, there's no reason to feel guilty about your decision.