New report shows more moms are staying home

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- Mandi Clark considers herself CEO of her Queen Creek home, after leaving a good paying position as an assistant store manager.

“I loved my job. I loved working,” Clark told 3TV.

She didn’t intend to stop working, but juggling her job and six kids proved too challenging.

“It was very difficult; I couldn’t do it,” Clark said. “The job I was at required so much of my time. I was feeling not only physically but emotionally exhausted as well.”

3TV’s Facebook page shows she’s in good company, with nearly 200 moms weighing in. Also, a new report by the Pew Research Center reveals the number of “stay-at-home moms” rose over the past decade, reversing a long-term decline.

“It’s a sign of the times,” W.P. Carey Economics Professor Dennis Hoffman said. “The labor market, by the way, is probably the biggest impact here.”

According to the Pew report, 29 percent of women with children under 18 don’t work outside of the home. A growing number of them said it’s in large part because of the difficulty of finding a job.

“I think a lot of it has to do with the economy," Clark said. "Jobs are hard to get (and they’re) not accommodating to women with children."

So now, instead of managing her employees, she manages her children. She’s even consulting other families on the system that has worked for her, which includes chore cards and special incentives.

While Clark considers leaving her full-time job the best decision she has made, she still worries about her future prospects of employment.

“I think about it all the time,” she said. “Will I have to start all over again? I worked so hard for what?”

It’s a reality that moms face upon trying to regain employment.

“In general, the more years you’re out, if employers see that separation, they’re less likely to hire people,” Hoffman said.

He advises moms to stay connected and continue networking during their time off.

Clark is finding ways to entrepreneur in the meantime, and while she plans to return to the workplace, she's content for now.

“When I think about what it would be like if I wasn’t with my kids…” she pondered.

It’s something the mother of six can’t put a price tag on.