Stay-At-Home Mom Rates On The Rise

Lynchburg, VA - After decades of decline, stay-at-home-mom rates are rising! A new report from the Pew Research Center says 29 percent of mothers stay at home, up from the all-time low of 23 percent in 1999. But it's not because of a cultural shift, it's an economic necessity. We spoke to local moms and many echoed what this research shows. The report says there is a big link between what the economy is doing and what women decide about working. For many mothers, the choice to work would mean barely covering the cost of child-care.

"I didn't want to miss a minute of her growing up," said Carly Sheaffer who is a part of the close to 30 percent of moms who stay at home with their children. She says living on one income can be tough, but it's worth it.

"You have to make some budget cuts because living off one income is a challenge but we do things like cloth diapers or just trying to be smarter with our purchases so that we can swing it, it's worth the sacrifices," said Sheaffer.

We made some calls to local daycares and here's what we found:

For newborn care you are looking at an average of 800 to one thousand dollars a month. That is somewhere around 12-thousand a year. The average price for a three-year-old to be in preschool ranged between five and 800 a month on average, so that s around seven thousand a year. That didn't factor in the cost of breakfast, lunch, or after-hours care. Moms like Bethany Gail say that's exactly why they choose to stay home rather than send their paychecks to a child-care provider.

"We just looked at the numbers of how much I was making and how much the childcare that we would consider putting her into was going to cost and realized that it didn't make that much sense for me to keep going to work," said Gail.

Brianna Holmes and her husband both work. They say they are blessed to have family in the area that can watch their son, but soon Brianna will have another baby, and she says her family may not always be able to watch both children. That is why they have started looking into childcare, and for two kids, that is double the expense.

"Cost is a huge thing, we don't want one entire paycheck going to just child-care. Then there's no point in me working," said Holmes.

We also spoke to moms who work outside of the home. They said that with the costs rising for everything from gas to groceries, they can't afford to stay home with the kids, even though they would love to. The Pew Research study also calculated national averages of child care. The cost has risen more than 70 percent since 1985 and child-care costs represent 7.2 percent of an average family's income.