In a Switch, More Moms Opt To Stay Home With Kids

By Lorraine Mirabella
The Baltimore Sun.

Megan Mocik never envisioned herself as a stay-at-home mother.

After having twins four years ago, the former marketing manager for New York-based International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. was determined to press on with a career, even one that came with lengthy commutes and long workdays. But getting back into the workforce proved difficult and came with unappealing trade-offs.

The Bel Air woman chose a path taken by more mothers today, choosing to stay home with the kids –reversing a decades-long trend.

“I didn’t want to find a job that just would make enough money to put them in day care,” said Mocik, who moved from New Jersey three years ago with her husband and then-infants.

“You go through this thing of missing the everyday excitement of work and challenging myself and putting forth that creative effort, but at the same time, I love being able to be here with my girls and watch them develop and grow and reach all these milestones.”

Those who stay home now make up close to a third of the nation’s mothers, a share that slid to a modern-era low of 23 percent in 1999, research shows.

Factors in the change range from a tight job market to the child-rearing attitudes of immigrants, according to a recent Pew Research Center analysis, which bolstered similar findings from 2010.

Like Mocik, more mothers are changing course after seeing a significant chunk of family earnings go to child care costs, which soared nearly 20 percent in the past decade, according to the advocacy group Child Care Aware.

The increase in stay-at-home moms reverses a trend that started in the mid-20th century as more women entered the workforce, acceptance of working moms grew and families shouldered rising expenses with double incomes.

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