Does it pay to be a stay at home parent?

Parents say that watching their children grow up can only be described as priceless, but what if we were to put a numerical value on it? With the percentage of the younger generation growing at the highest rate, there is an obvious influx in new parents within the population. 

Many of these new parents take a term of absence from their workplace, which for mothers in Ireland this leave can be up to 42 weeks, or a bit over 10 months. During the first 26 weeks, you are compensated in the hopes that these funds can be used for immediate child care supplies; the minimum rate that you can be given per week is €235/week. 

Ireland’s benefits  in regards to maternity leave come in second best in comparison to other countries in the European Union. With a lengthy amount of paid time off and additional weeks allowed, many parents feel that they are being supported by the government during this stressful but exciting time in their lives. 

Once these benefits end and the child gets older, parents are faced with tough decisions about going back to work. Many times, parents are reluctant to go but find promising places or sitters to take care of their child while they go back to their daily routine. In some cases though, parents decide that it is in both their child and their own best interest if they refrain from returning to work and focus on family care. 

Many people find the position of stay-at-home parent to be a noble one, but not one that could make a lot of money. In a recent survey by protection specialist Royal London, most people would predict at home child care to make a salary of €27,000 or less. 

This is highly underestimated according to the company, who claims that at home care by parents would be valued at around €44,000 per year, which is around an average full time workers salary.

If you begin to take into consideration all of the responsibilities and tasks that a stay at home parent must complete each week, these average predicted wages will begin to seem extremely low. Stay at home parents are providing constant care, cleaning, cooking, performing maintenance, and completing other miscellaneous activities. Additionally, they are on the clock 24/7. 

Overall, the time, effort and skill level that a person must devote to raising a child is worth more than just memories and should be seen as such. 

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