Working Mom? Screw the Guilt – You’re actually benefiting your kids.

November 26, 2015

Source: Children Benefit From Having a Working Mom – News – Harvard Business School

So, Harvard has done a study that claims children do indeed benefit from having a working mom. Slow clap, slow clap.

Those of us who have BEEN working mothers, either in a nuclear family setting or as a single parent have already been finding ways to tell ourselves this as we strive out of necessity most of the time, and work against the collective guilt of society that a mom SHOULD be home with the kids.

We’ve known – perhaps secretly for some of us, or more brazenly for others – that our children are just FINE thank you very much, and in fact we feel that they are stronger, more independent, and more productive than some of their counterparts who have a stay at home mom. Now, it’s not a competition, and there is no better WAY of being a mom. If you are a mom and you are doing the very best that you know how to do, you are a stellar mom. Why I like this particular ‘study’ is that there is a higher level of understanding of what we have known to be true all along.

Working Moms are just as caring and attentive to their kids and benefit them in different ways.

In my experience, being a single working mom, the guilt did sometimes find it’s way into my thought process. But, I would find a way to banish it pretty quickly. Necessity required me to be both the breadwinner AND the nurturer in this family. If I spent any time worrying about what I wasn’t doing for my kids I would paralyze myself and not be of any use to them at all.

I realized pretty quickly that as a working mom, I had to be smart around strategies, schedules and balancing my life. I brought my kids into my work a lot –  I respected them enough to know they could learn some valuable tools from me that could give them the upper hand later in life while highschool stayed focused on teaching algebra and other things that would not really be of much help when ‘Adulting time’ came about.

We do what we can do with what we have. And I truly believe that to make ANYTHING work, having that positive attitude is the first step. The rest comes quite naturally.

Do away with the guilt, and you’ll have lots of energy then to be creative and innovative in your parenting.

So, what benefits DO these kids of working moms come away with? I’m going to share some of what the Harvard study has conclusively( finally) realized and then add my own experience to it.

This is the statement from the study:

Women whose mothers worked outside the home are more likely to have jobs themselves, are more likely to hold supervisory responsibility at those jobs, and earn higher wages than women whose mothers stayed home full time, according to a new study. Men raised by working mothers are more likely to contribute to household chores and spend more time caring for family members.

The findings are stark, and they hold true across 24 countries.

How working moms benefit their kids

 

It seems pretty rudimentary to me. Children learn from what their parents DO, not what they say. So, if you are a working parent and either a single parent, or in a partnership – if your kids see you both working, they will put more value on that expression of life and will also have more skills to be able to handle the responsibilities involved. Right?

 

Let’s break it down and number it, so we can feel as proud as we should for what good we do for these ‘mini me’s’
  1. If you have daughters they will more likely end up being successful in career and business if you are a working mom. Yes – again, this feels like natural logic to me that doesn’t require a study. What you DO, your child will emulate. If we take that further, if you are a workaholic for other reasons and use work to AVOID your parental responsibilities you will raise kids who will do the similar. Indeed, take this statement seriously. It is not just the working part that is important, it is the balance. Show your kids that home and work balance is possible and in fact, is mandatory.
  2. If you have sons and you are a working mom, these sons will grow up to be more caring and capable of running a home and a family. These men will be grown men, not ‘boymen’ and will contribute to a balanced household. Essentially, the kind of man you would want your daughter to marry. The same rule applies here – over do it any other way and you will create that beast too. Balance is the key. As a mom your sons are watching what you DO and how you balance. If you are a single mom you are the primary source of how they behave in the world. Coddling, enabling, and other scary behaviour will create entitled, whiny men. Make them responsible, show them responsibility and expect them to help out in the house – THIS will create a balanced man.
  3. If you are a working mom, your kids will learn about contribution and working as a team – admittedly, this is something I had to learn to teach my kids. My own mother was a stay at home mom, and enjoyed doing things FOR us. When I became a mom and could not provide that same ‘kind’ of nurturing I felt I was a BAD mom – but I refused to allow that perception to dominate. I used this necessity to show my kids that they needed to be part of a family TEAM. These skills of communication, collaboration, and community are paramount when building a strong functioning adult. In fact, these skills are the hallmarks of leaders. My kids did the dishes, cleaned the bathroom, got yelled at if they expected to be chauffeured around. They were made aware that I was a working mom and that I needed THEIR help to ensure our home was happy and running well. What resulted was personal pride for them, accountability, maturity and exceptional work ethic. Now, tell me that isn’t benefiting a child?
  4. If you are a working mom, especially if you are an entrepreneur mom like I have been, you can teach your kids valuable skills in running a business, being an entrepreneur. Thinking outside of the box, having the courage to take action on dreams and to believe in themselves. Yup, I can’t see anything but benefits there either.
  5. If you are a working mom – and again with the entrepreneur mom AND as in my case a single mom who was once on welfare – you can educate your little ones on the incredible importance of believing there is a different reality available and all you need to do is work for it, trust in it and allow yourself to evolve into it. My kids watched me struggle, fail, fall and get back up again, struggle, fail again and keep going and LEARNING. My kids watched me learn, apply and keep moving. I wasn’t perfect, and I allowed them to see that and I talked to them about it. What they learned? They learned how to keep moving, trust themselves, allow failures to teach and ignite wisdom. The lessons that allow us to find true success and happiness. I’d say benefit is not even a strong enough word for what they get there.
  6. Finally – If you are a working mom, and you accept and have pride in this – you will educate your children on balance both inside and outside of the home, share your failures, learn together as a family –  you will be creating strong, empowered, confident and unique adults who have all of the necessary skills to move forth into this world and make a difference.

BENEFIT? You bet your ass. Harvard, nice little study and all, but us working moms – and those extra superstar enterpreneur single moms have known this for a while. We appreciate your support finally, but the only opinions that matter are the ones that mean the most to us; our kids – they love and respect us as we love and respect them. THAT is the only proof we need that we are doing an amazing job.

The ONLY important thing you need to remember is to be proud of yourself and your accomplishments.
Embrace the chaos that is around every corner, surrender to it all and have joy in it all. It’s not about what you do, its about how you do it. Your kids are watching and they are also your best teachers. Take it easy on yourself and celebrate yourself.

How being a working mom can benefit your kids

What is your experience as a working mom? Do you feel the guilt? Have you found ways to work with it? Are you a single parent, in a partnership? Share with me in the comment section below!

Images sourced from:

www.theguardian.com

www.forbes.com

More about Kaare Long

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