Kids benefit when mom works outside the home

Kids benefit when mom works outside the home

It’s not uncommon for some working moms to feel guilty for not spending more time with their children, but a recent study shows that being a working mom has economic, educational and social benefits, especially for their daughters.

In the study of 50,000 adults in 25 countries, daughters of working moms completed more years of education, were more likely to be employed and in supervisory roles, and earned higher incomes. The study also showed that women in the U.S. with working moms were paid 23-percent more than those raised by stay-at-home moms.

“Being a mom is 24/7 job, it never ends,” says Joanna Lindell, child psychiatrist with Advocate Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill. “For those of us given the choice of whether or not to be a stay-at-home mom or work, I believe that the question really shouldn’t be which is better, but rather, which one would leave us more fulfilled. I find that mothers who are themselves satisfied with their roles in life have the most positive impact on their children.”

Whether a mother worked or stayed at home didn’t have as much influence on the careers of sons. Researchers said this was not surprising because men were generally expected to work — but sons of working mothers did spend more time on child care and housework.

“Part of this working mothers’ guilt has been, ‘Oh, my kids are going to be so much better off if I stay home,’ but what we’re finding in adult outcomes is kids will be so much better off if women spend some time at work,” said Kathleen McGinn, a professor at Harvard Business School and one of the study’s authors, in a news release.

Dr. Lindell says both stay-at-home moms and working moms can instill a strong work ethic, sense of independence, social confidence, financial savviness, and self-assurance, especially with daughters.

“Kids are like sponges, they absorb what they see and feel,” she says.

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Comments

8 Comments

  1. “For those of us given the choice of whether or not to be a stay-at-home mom or work, I believe that the question really shouldn’t be which is better, but rather, which one would leave us more fulfilled. I find that mothers who are themselves satisfied with their roles in life have the most positive impact on their children.”

    Love this positive look at things. Thanks for supporting moms in the choices that are best for them and not adding any more fuel to the Mommy Wars.

    • I completely agree, Jo!

    • Completely agree with this sentiment. The metrics used above shouldn’t reflect what success is in our society alone. If the parents, both moms and dads and whether either of the pair are stay-at-home or at a job, are fulfilled and happy then the kids will probably emulate that in their adult lives and be fulfilled and happy too! No one should be catering to extreme elements in our society with agendas that describe how and what people should and should not be doing with their own families. That’s for the couple to decide what works best for them as a team.

  2. I really like this article! It gets to the core of what I have been struggling with as a working mom! And I agree with the quote that Jo highlighted. So very true!

  3. As a full-time working Mom with a young daughter, I feel guilty every morning when I leave for the day. After reading this article, I feel a bit better that this will have a positive impact on her future success in life:)

  4. I worked part-time when my daughter was growing up so I could spend more time with her. When she was between the ages of 3-5, she wanted to stay at daycare and be with her friends. I paid full-time daycare on a part-time salary. When she was a teen, she was glad I was at home so her friends could come over, and I could ferry them to the pool or the mall. We did spend a lot of time together, and she remembers that. Now she is doing the same, working part-time. Not everyone can do that. I don’t think mom’s should feel guilty if they work or if they stay home as long as its working for their family.

  5. I love this! I work at home as a licensed childcare provider so I can be home to raise my little ones, but I also have a second job during tourist season so I can make a little extra money for the off season. It’s awesome to know that my kids will get the best of both worlds. We should all focus on what is best for our families awesnd leave it at that!

  6. Well, DUH — I’m glad this has been documented (again), but it seems to me this discussion has been going on (with the same answer) since the early 1970s, when the second wave of feminism was well upon us. My mama had a double master’s degree from a university in Europe and worked all the time when we were growing up — and she *could* do that, because my grandmother was there when we came home from school. With two advanced degrees, I don’t think for a moment that mama would have been happy staying home after all the trouble she went to to earn those degrees … and my younger sister and I would have known that for sure. As it was, she set us an example; and we knew from the time we were toddlers that we, too, would attend university some day, just as mama did, because every woman needs to have an education and her own money. We also knew that any notion that girls couldn’t do math or science was bull because my mother clearly could, even better than my dad — and she made sure we did our math and science homework correctly, too. She was a great example to us both.

About the Author

Sonja Vojcic
Sonja Vojcic

Sonja Vojcic, health enews contributor, is a marketing manager at Advocate Health Care in Downers Grove, Ill. She has several years of international public relations and marketing experience with a Master’s degree in Communications from DePaul University. In her free time, Sonja enjoys spending time with her family, travelling, and keeping up with the latest health news and fashion trends.