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Editorial: Staying home helps children

According to U.S. Census reports, more new mothers are staying home longer after giving birth. While some may see this negatively and think women are taking steps backward by giving up their jobs to stay home and care for their newborns, many working women are finding it both liberating and valuable to spend extra time with their children.

For the past 25 years, the percentage of working women with children under the age of 1 has dropped. Women are no longer taking only six to 12 weeks off work. Instead, many are taking more than a year in order to develop a stronger bond with their newborn. Women should do what they feel is necessary to build and foster a good relationship with their children.

Women, however, are not abandoning their jobs. In fact, the information gathered by the U.S. Census Bureau reveals that many educated women return to the workforce and find full-time jobs after an extended maternity leave. Women with less education tend to get part-time jobs after staying home with their babies.

This shows that well-educated women are realizing the benefits of the first years with their children. Some turned down lucrative careers and left prestigious jobs in order to stay home. Mothers cite breastfeeding, bonding and guilt as reasons for their choice to stay home.

Many women say they felt guilty and worried about their newborns being at daycare. What worried them most was whether their children were getting enough attention and felt loved.

Money can be made at any time, but establishing a good relationship with a child can be difficult and should be given more attention. Women, and even men, who decide to stay home for a while so their children may be raised in a loving, stable environment should be supported.

Hopefully, this is a trend that will continue in the years to come.