Having mothers stay at home has economical, societal and psychological benefits, most importantly, improving the health and wellbeing of children.
“How are you? What are you doing? Working?”
“Yes, busy with kids, their studies, house work.”
“No, I mean do you have any job?”
This is a typical conversation a stay-at-home mums face. It is not easy especially for single mums with no moral or emotional support from ex-husbands.
When circumstances compel mothers into performing the duties of both a father and a mother, the franchise of motherhood is in crisis.
Mothers are forced into sacrificing their important role – their role as architects of human society.
While society is ready to acknowledge that an imbalance in the environment leads to climate change catastrophes, it is rarely acknowledged that an imbalance in the role of parenting causes chaos in families with catastrophic effects for the society.
All human cultures and civilisations emphasise the significance and importance of the family unit. Quite often, the family is described as the glue which binds society together. When this unit breaks down, the negative implications for society are catastrophic.
When children are unable to look to positive parental role models, they may develop psychological symptoms including aimlessness, insularity and depression.
The danger of these symptoms in young children and teenagers is that they may manifest themselves in substance abuse and anti-social behaviour.
Mothers with committed and caring husbands can solve many problems related to health, depression, anxiety, and anti-social behaviour in young children and teenagers.
Being a Mother is one of the noblest contributions that a woman can make to civilisation.
The importance of nurturing young children at home is unfortunately impossible when single mothers are forced to go to work and send their children to child care facilities.
In Islam, motherhood is a sacred and sacrosanct vocation. These are the glowing terms with which the Prophet (s) described a mother’s status.
“Paradise lies under the feet of your mother”- Prophet Mohammad (s) declared.
Motherhood is not a thankless mundane activity, rather it is a spiritual journey, wherein every bit of sacrifice will be acknowledged and rewarded.
Having mothers-stay-at-home has many societal benefits. Most important among these, is the betterment of the health and wellbeing of children. Mothers can solve many behavioural and mental disorders and other complexes in children.
Nobel-Prize-winning psychologists have confirmed that it is vital for children to get proper attention and nurturing at a very young age.
Children need attention like answering their queries, making them feel loved and cared for.
Children also learn to care and show affection from the actions of their parents. This training at home reduces the chances of a child becoming a bully or dysfunctional.
Unfortunately, in the contemporary world, many mothers are now going to work and their children’s mental and physical wellbeing is suffering.
Australia’s prosperity is masking an unpalatable truth – the health and wellbeing of our children lag unacceptably behind those of many developed countries.
In 2015-16, the Australian Government spent $9 billion on mental health including on children aged 4-17, for mental disorders like ADHD, conduct disorder and major depressive disorder.
In 2011 Australian government spent $54 billion on tackling depression and other psychological, social and behavioural issues in children (ABS).
Mothers at home reduce the burden on hospitals and health services:
The aim of every country’s economy should be the physical and mental wellbeing of the citizens, not just the surplus in the budget. Moreover, citizens with poor physical and mental health place a great strain on the budget.
Former Australian of the Year and ARACY Board Chair, Professor Fiona Stanley, AC states, “While Australia’s economic and technological progress has been strong over recent decades, these benefits have not resulted in significant improvements to the health and wellbeing of the nation’s young people.”
One of the most pressing health problems is childhood obesity. In 2011 the government of Australia spent $21 billion on direct obesity costs.
Mothers who cook healthy food at home can reduce these expenses. Also, reducing the consumption of junk and canned food can lead to the decreased use of food resources, packaging, less factory pollution and reduction in the use of preservatives in food.
The problem of obesity can only get worse as obese children grow into obese adults.
There could be an ‘epidemic of stillbirths’ in Australia in the next few years if the nation’s obesity rate continues to soar and more women aged over 35 have children, researchers have found.
The strain of financial burdens on individuals and families, the unregulated and unjust fiscal policies of the banks and the government, and the loss of vital family values are all catalysts to the deterioration of the family unit, ultimately affecting the mental health and wellbeing of our children, our future.
Stay-at-home mums have no need to apologise. Their contribution to their families and the society is uniquely valuable.