Fistbump to Working Moms

“There’s a lot of talk about why women work,” says Kathleen McGinn, the study’s author and a professor at Harvard Business School. “A lot of those questions presume that, somehow, it’s detrimental to their families. That’s a whole bunch of ‘mother guilt’ based on almost no findings.”

The real impact of working moms is most evident in their daughters. The researchers found that women who grew up with working mothers are more likely to have careers themselves than those with stay at home moms, and they’re also more likely to have better, higher paying jobs…Sons, for their part, grow up to spend more time doing household chores and caring for their kids if their mothers had careers. In the U.S., that translates to about eight more hours a week spent folding laundry, changing diapers, and doing other kinds of domestic duties — nearly twice as much as sons of stay-at-home moms, they found.

It’s about time someone crunched the data and gave us some good news! As a Mom who has done it all — work more than full-time in a demanding, high-pressure career, work part-time, and not work at all — I have struggled to find the right balance for me (as an individual, for me as a mother and wife, and for me as a career woman). It is such a personal decision and one where there is no definitive correct answer. Many women don’t have a choice whether they can work or not – often they must work to make ends meet.  But as the US Labor Dept. statistics show, women make up 48% of the workforce now. And the number we should really be paying attention to is the fact that 40% of working mothers with children under the age of 18 are sole or primary breadwinners. So whether we do this because we want to or do it because we have to, the fact remains, working mothers are in the workforce and that number is growing. So how does it affect our kids? As other studies have shown globally, society and culture is set by the norms around us. “At the root of this phenomenon is the way children internalize social mores, and the behaviors modeled by the adults around them. People tend to have “more egalitarian” views on gender roles if they had working mothers” the article concludes. One of the reasons I did go back to work full-time was for the example I wanted to set for my daughter. If she could see me being a successful working Mom, this is something I hope, one day, she can be proud of.  But the benefit, to me, as a working mother is more than being a role model for her, but because I am truly happier working and producing something outside of the traditional family social and hierarchical structure. God gave me a brain — I like to use it. It’s working full time, over-time, all the time, so why not put it to good use? Again, this is an individual decision, and one shouldn’t judge – no matter what the decision is. If a woman wants to be a stay-at-home Mom with 5 kids, then I absolutely applaud and bow down to her. That is not something I could ever do. If she wants to work full-time and leave her parenting duties to others, that’s her right too. We are not here to judge, and I honestly feel women should get out of the habit of being so harsh on one another. We should be supporting each other, helping each other find our own internal balance. But for those of us who do struggle privately whether working has had a detrimental effect on your kids, this article is most definitely a ‘fistbump’ to cherish!