What is a Working Parent?

Sheri Cyprus

A working parent is a parent who works at a job for pay, often outside the home. While it's certainly true that there is a lot of work to do in the home caring for the house and more importantly in raising children, the term "working parent" usually applies to extra, paid work. A working parent is the opposite of a stay-at-home parent, yet it is still possible to be both at the same time if a parent does paid work from home while caring for his or her children.

A working parent has a job outside the home.
A working parent has a job outside the home.

Some parents work part-time and stay at home with their children the rest of the time. Any combination of paid work and child care is usually possible if the working parent can find quality daycare that fits with his or her work situation. Some working parents have a live-in nanny in their home.

Some parents can now telecommute, so they can be at home with their kids.
Some parents can now telecommute, so they can be at home with their kids.

While a stay at home parent does not typically engage in paid work outside the home, a working parent may work outside the home part-time and be a stay at home parent the rest of the time. This sort of arrangement is highly customizable, but may need care in its organization. Finding part-time daycare and part-time work that fit together time-wise may be difficult.

Working parents often need to enroll their children in daycare.
Working parents often need to enroll their children in daycare.

Increased telecommuting options today allow some parents to work from home as more and more companies are finding that productivity can actually increase if those wanting to work from home are allowed to do so. The benefits to parents of working from home are usually great as they can juggle their work schedule to help on a school field trip or a bake sale. Of course, the downside can be making sure to complete the paid work while juggling all of the unpaid demands of caring for children.

Child care assistance is available in many areas to help low-income families pay for daycare so they can work, go to school, or both.
Child care assistance is available in many areas to help low-income families pay for daycare so they can work, go to school, or both.

Two parents working full time outside the home is still common as families struggle with mortgages and the high costs of living. Probably the best thing about being a working parent today is that there are often many options for working and daycare arrangements. In order to maximize your options as a working parent, it's a good idea to think about your job choice and child care options you hope to have before starting a family.

Working parents with young children have to balance their schedule so the child doesn't feel forgotten.
Working parents with young children have to balance their schedule so the child doesn't feel forgotten.
Working parents have to consider both their job choices and childcare options.
Working parents have to consider both their job choices and childcare options.
Working parents might struggle to balance work and family responsibilities when children become ill.
Working parents might struggle to balance work and family responsibilities when children become ill.

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