Working moms have been the subject of much debate in the parenting arena. They are often criticized for just not being there. In fact, there is now lots of research which shows that a working mom can bring up healthy and well-adjusted kids. The research shows that it is not damaging and that there are in fact many benefits for the children. After a little research of my own, I found these positive effects of working moms.
1. Working moms provide positive role models
Children need to realize from an early age that women are not just domestic servants and that they may have a professional life of their own. Girls will learn that they need to think about a career, rather than just getting married and having children. Boys need to realize that household chores are part and parcel of family life. This will also influence them significantly when they start their own families.
2. Working moms raise more independent kids
My mother worked at a local hospital while we were growing up. We were fortunate in having a wonderful home helper who was a surrogate mother in many ways. However, the main advantage was that we grew up to be very independent. We also had to take responsibility in making sure that meals were ready on time. That lesson is still useful today!
3. Working moms are less prone to depression
Statistics show that a stay-at-home mom is more likely to suffer from depression, which in turn can take its toll on her children. Children can never really benefit from having a frustrated and depressed mother around them.
4. Working moms are better at ignoring the “parenting police”
Every parent is concerned about how much time and attention they should be giving to their kids. Working moms are always subject to unrelenting pressure from the “parenting police,” who are often thinly disguised as well-meaning relatives. Not to mention all the experts on parenting who have invaded the media. Everyone is a parenting expert, it seems these days. The sensible working mom knows what the trade-offs are. She is confident enough to juggle the demands of parenting with her desire to follow a career.
5. Working moms can better manage quality time with their kids
Everybody talks about quality or prime time with kids. It is a sad fact that many parents are only half listening when they are with their kids because the other half is attached to their device. Working moms know that they need to switch off the minute they get home, and that they need to dedicate 100% of their precious time to their kids. Email, texts, and Facebook can all wait until the kids are in bed.
6. Working moms’ kids may do better at school
Denmark perhaps is not a typical example. They spend a lot more on early childhood care (1.2% of their GDP, compared to the miserly 0.4% in the USA). The results are clear: the children of working moms there are doing better academically.
7. Working moms’ kids have fewer behavioral problems
Many women worry that not spending enough time with their offspring may lead to behavioral problems. After looking at research studies since 1960, the truth is that working moms’ kids are not suffering at all. In many cases, they even turned out to be better behaved than the stay-at-home moms’ kids.
8. Working moms do not affect their children’s emotional development
Lots of research has been done at the University College London on whether working moms’ kids were liable to grow up emotionally deprived. The good news is that this is not at all the case. The secret is to get the balance right between work and parenting commitments. Day care and a supportive partner, together with parent-friendly workplace policies make it perfectly feasible.
9. Working moms tend to be in happier relationships
Much will depend on the partner’s attitude and support for the working mom. I remember my father being very supportive of my mother and he often took on the role of supervisor in making sure that household chores got done.
Many working moms have found it easier to keep their relationship healthier because they are happier and more fulfilled. This can help to make the relationship stronger.
10. Working moms get a break
There are lots of jokes about the working mom closing the door and leaving all the chaos behind, not too worried about the fact that the caregiver may or may not cope! The real benefits are that working moms can be fulfilled and can have a break from family pressures and demanding children.
11. Maternal employment will help families
Experts now agree that if long-awaited family policy reforms in the USA are put in place, there will be many benefits for families all round. This is urgent because US figures show that 66% of married mothers are in some form of employment. Also the USA has fallen behind other countries such as Norway, where paternal leave (a whopping 12 weeks, paid!) is standard practice. The US has a long way to go!