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Pro: Being a stay-at-home mom offers its own set of benefits

By ALLISON MILES
April 4, 2010 at 11 p.m.
Updated April 3, 2010 at 11:04 p.m.


SUPPORT GROUPS

Are you a mommy looking for support or a list of area events? Victoria boasts a number of groups. Those include:

MOMS Club of Victoria, Texas

Web site: http://momsclubofvictoria.com

E-mail: victoriamoms@hotmail.com

Victoria and Surrounding Areas Mommy Group

Web site: http://www.meetup.com/VictoriaMoms

Victoria Mommy & Playdate Group

Web site: http://www.cafemom.com/group/50103

Did you know?

In 2007:

The United States was home to 5.6 million stay-at-home moms.

44 percent of stay-at-home moms were under age 35.

34 percent were foreign-born.

27 percent were Hispanic.

28 percent had an infant in the household.

The number of stay-at-home dads came in at 165,000 nationally.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau Web site

What a mom would earn

Each year, salary.com studies the cash compensation a stay-at-home mom would bring in for the jobs she carries out, such as "laundry machine operator," "van driver," janitor and the like.

Compensation for 2009 rings in at $122,732 for stay-at-home moms. Working moms would bring in an additional $76,134 to the salaries they earn.

Source: Salary.com news release

Staying at home with the children offers its own benefits.

Shawn Whitt of Victoria has tried both methods, returning to her job as a dental assistant with her first child and, now, staying home with both children. While it's all a matter of personal choice, she said, staying at home offers advantages.

If the school calls because a child is sick or another issue arises, she said she can get there immediately, rather than checking in with an employer for time off.

"We both help out at the school, too," she said, pointing to her friend, Kim Koehl, who sat beside her. "It's nice to have that opportunity."

Other benefits come into the mix, according to findings from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development's Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development.

The study found that children who spent more time in child care throughout the week were 8 percent more likely to develop ear infections and 4 percent more likely to develop stomach illness than other children. They also displayed slightly more behavioral problems than other children, according to the study.

Linda Heald returned to work after having her first child 20 years ago, but now stays at home with her 5-year-old son. She said she missed out on that "together time" the first time around.

"With my first, I just felt like she grew up so fast," she said. "So, I'm staying home. I want to enjoy my son."

Heald said she's felt other advantages from her decision this time around, too.

When parents are more involved in the child's life, she said, the child is more willing to go to them for help or advice. Also, when a parent isn't trying to juggle both a career and family life, they have more patience.

Heald's mother, Diana Herbold, said she also supported stay-at-home moms because a child simply does better when around their parents.

"Kids need their parents," she said. "It's just better."

Related story:Con: Not every parent can afford to stay home

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