My husband and I have each had a chance to be stay-at-home parents. When our first child was born, I worked full-time, and my husband was in graduate school full-time. My husband reduced his school load to stay home with our child. He did the same after our second child was born. When our third child was born, I quit my job, and my husband became the full-time breadwinner. Based on our experience and the experience I’ve seen others have, I have employment advice for stay-at-home parents—continue working, even if it’s only a few hours weekly.
Why the Stay-at-Home Parent Should Continue Working
Being a stay-at-home parent is hard work. Your days are filled with cooking, cleaning, laundry, playing with kids, and taking them to activities. As a result, you may feel as if you have no time for yourself, let alone time for a part-time job. However, I urge you to find the time for a job for several reasons.
You May Want Adult Interaction
Being able to stay home with your kids is a privilege. However, you will likely long for adult interaction now and again. At a part-time job, you can talk to other adults and get out of the house for several weeklies.
Your Spouse May Die
If you’re a stay-at-home parent and your spouse dies, you may suffer severe financial difficulty, especially if your spouse does not have life insurance. You may think you’re young and you and your spouse have a long life, but that may not be the case.
I saw this firsthand when my father died at age 38. I was 15, and my brother was 8. My mom had worked from home babysitting while my dad was employed full-time. However, after he died, she had no source of health insurance or retirement. She was lucky to have a friend who found her a part-time job working with an understanding boss. In a few years, she was able to work full-time. I don’t know what she would have done if it were not for this friend.
You May Divorce
Likewise, you may never think you will divorce, but if you do, do you have a way to support yourself? If you work part-time while staying home with the kids, you’ll be better positioned to support yourself.
My friend had been married for 23 years when she left her husband. She had been a stay-at-home parent for two decades. She found a job, though it was low paying, and she struggled to pay for her own place and the expenses of maintaining a household as a single person. Eventually, she and her husband reconciled, but she confessed that part of the reason she reconciled was that she could not survive financially on her own and was exhausted from trying to.
You May Need/Want to Work Full-Time Again
Many parents stay home until their kids are in school full-time. Then, they plan to rejoin the workforce. However, if you haven’t done any professional work in the five or more years you were home with the children, re-entering the workforce may be difficult. A part-time job can help you find a full-time job more quicker and easier.
Find Ways to Start a Part-Time Hustle For Free or Minimal Startup Costs
It takes money to make money. But with the benefit of e-commerce and the online gig economy, you can start a small business at home if you have access to everyday items other people find valuable. You will need to network online to find clientele to buy your items.
If you know how to find old vinyl records, 1980s video game cartridges, or even old comic books, you can flip these items for profit. Such items can be valuable to nostalgic collectors. People give these items away all the time on social media.
If you have caches of old comic books in your home, you could start flipping them for quick cash right now. And you don’t need startup capital.
Flipping Old Comic Books as an Online Hustle
Do you have boxes of old comic books at home? Perhaps you can network with other parents to get old comic books they don’t want. You can also source cheap or free comic books from social media and auction sites. You could potentially create a side-hustle selling old comic books from home. And you can do this at home, online, and on your own schedule.
Whenever the comic book film industry announces new films and creates online hype, there are momentary spikes in relevant collector markets. And any comic book collector with nostalgia wants to get the comics that are being used as inspiration for upcoming films.
There are also many free online comic book guides that you can use to check the ballpark market value of the comic books you own.
Have reasonable expectations. You won’t make a fortune overnight. But if you make some connections and find ways to get old comic books cheaply, then you could make an at-home side hustle. And you can do it entirely online.
My employment advice to stay-at-home parents is to continue working, even if only a few hours a week. You never know what the future will hold, but by maintaining your presence in the working world, you can find full-time work more easily, should you want or need to.
My Husband’s Stay-at-Home Dad Experience
Can You Homeschool and Work from Home?
How to Work from Home When the Kids Are Home
And, as a final note, if you want good basic personal financial advice, consider surfing over to The Free Financial Advisor, they have a good series on personal finance basics.
Melissa is a writer and virtual assistant. She earned her Master’s from Southern Illinois University, and her Bachelor’s in English from the University of Michigan. When she’s not working, you can find her homeschooling her kids, reading a good book, or cooking. She resides in Arizona where she dislikes the summer heat but loves the natural beauty of the area.