Moms Don’t Need Research to Prove Their Worth

happymom
Image via Katie Hurley

I first went back to work when my daughter was about four months old. I made the shift from full time 9-5 (which was really 8-6 most days) working in a school, to full-time private practice long before she was born. The stress of infertility coupled with a high-stress job and a part time private practice forced me to make a choice. I made the choice that I thought would be the best for my family … should that family arrive at some point.

One year after leaving that job, my daughter arrived. While I always knew that I would return to my private practice after she was born, I definitely cut back my hours. Finding part-time, reliable childcare was a challenge in the beginning. It took time and patience to build my practice back up in the limited childcare hours available to me. And then my son arrived.

My kids have always known me to work. Whether I’m with clients, meeting deadlines or working on The Happy Kid Handbook, they know that I dedicate a certain number of hours each week to work. They understand that my work contributes to the family income, but they also understand that I enjoy my work. I like helping other people – it’s what I do. 

While this latest study erupted in cheers around the Internet, it created yet another spark in the stay at home versus work at home versus work outside of the home debate. 

I never thought much about what my kids really think of my work at home job until a recent conversation with my daughter. “I think I want to be a therapist writer just like you, Mommy,” she whispered one night, “because then I can be home a lot for my kids and work.” 

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I won’t lie: I sometimes wonder if they understand that my work is work. Finding balance isn’t always easy, and some weeks are better than others. Sometimes I work so late into the night that I feel like a zombie the next morning. They don't see those nights, though. In their minds, those nights don’t happen.

A recent study shows that kids benefit from having a working mom. As reported by Forbes, the study doesn’t specify “full time”, “part time”, “work at home” or “work out of the home”. They didn’t look for a certain number of hours worked or the total length of time a mother worked. They simply wanted to know how having a working mom influenced employment, supervisory responsibility, earnings, allocation of household work and division of care for family members. 

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The data collected showed that while being raised by a working mom had no effect on men’s wages, women raised by working moms had higher incomes than those raised by full-time, stay at home moms. It also showed that women continued to care for family members for about the same amount of time whether or not their moms worked, but that men raised by working moms were more likely to contribute to household chores.

While this latest study erupted in cheers around the Internet, it created yet another spark in the stay at home versus work at home versus work outside of the home debate. That’s a shame, really, because if you ask me, all moms work hard. 

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Moms Don’t Need Research to Prove Their Worth

Katie Hurley, LCSW is a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist and writer in Los Angeles, CA. She is the author of "No More Mean Girls: The Secret to Raising Strong, Confident, and Compassionate Girls" and "The Happy Kid Handbook: How to Raise Joyful Children in a Stressful World". She earned her BA in Psychology and Women's Studies from Boston College and her MSW from the University of Pennsylvania. She divides her time between her family, her private practice and her writing. Passionate about he ... More

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