There is perhaps no greater controversy than the ongoing feud over the effects of a mother's employment on the quality of family life and the children's well-being. Generally, the decision to work and raise a family is perceived as a zero-sum game for women, one where the gain in one area is followed by a loss in the other.
Women are usually presented a choice between divergent paths: traditional homemaking roles or entering the work force, either due to economic necessity or because of a desire to fulfill their potential.
The Working Mother Study, authored by Harvard Business School researchers, puts the doubts of working mothers to rest. The researchers examined 50,000 families across 25 countries to examine whether growing up with a working mum influenced factors such as employment, supervisory responsibility, earnings, allocation of household work and caring for family members.
The study concluded that daughters of working mums completed more years of education, were more likely to hold supervisory responsibilities and earned higher incomes. Even though the careers of sons were largely unaffected, the Study cited that men whose mums worked outside the home were more likely to share household chores and spent more time caring for family members.
Another study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) on maternal employment and children's socio-emotional behaviour in the UK, shows that there are no significant detrimental effects on a child's social or emotional development if their mothers work during the early years of the child's life.
Even though there is always parental guilt in dual wage-earning families, the heartening news with these researches is that not only are you helping your family economically - and helping yourself professionally and emotionally if you have a job you love - but you are also helping your children. When both parents work, it sends a clear message to the children that contributions at home and at work are equally valuable, for both men and women.
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