Be A Better Mom. Go to Work.

Posted on May 20, 2015




Mommy Wars began officially during the 16th century BC, when Ahhotep 1 ruled Egypt as regent after the death of her father. Ahhotep was instrumental in driving the Hyskos invaders out of Egypt. Many Egyptians, when surveyed, expressed a belief that, although Ahhotep certainly provided a service to her country,  her two sons would have been better off had she stayed at home where she belonged and spent her days cleaning the palace and making snacks for the boys. Most Hyskos wished she had stayed at home, as well.

Since that time, women have been arguing over whether children are damaged when moms work. The overwhelming majority of people asked, as well as the conclusions reached by research, have said yes. While in recent decades, opinions flew through the air and in research journals, the percentage of working moms was steadily rising.  Now, almost 75% of American mothers with children at home are employed.

In spite of the rising percentage of working moms, the belief that working moms are bad for children persist.  From The New York Times, “According to Pew Research Center, 41 percent of adults say the increase in working mothers is bad for society, while just 22 percent say it is good.”  The remaining 37 percent have no idea what the question was, but believe Hillary Clinton might be the only Democratic candidate capable of winning the Presidency.

Finally, after all the years of working mom-bashing, the New York Times reports that “a new study of 50,000 adults in 25 countries found that daughters of working mothers completed more years of education, were more likely to be employed and in supervisory roles and earned higher incomes” (23 percent more in the US). Having a working mother didn’t influence the careers of sons, since most sons never noticed that their moms were going to work each day, as long as there was a snack waiting for them when they got home from school.  In spite of this,  sons of working mothers did spend more time on child care and housework, in later years, as well as far more of them marrying women who worked outside the home. The penchant for snacks remained unchanged.

According to Kathleen McGinn, a professor at Harvard Business School and author of the study, “…we’re finding in adult outcomes is kids will be so much better off if women spend some time at work.”

While some researchers debate the results (results of most research for the past 2000 years is still being debated), the new study does go a step further than “the findings of  a 2010 meta-analysis of 69 studies over 50 years, finding that in general, children whose mothers worked when they were young had no major learning, behavior or social problems, and tended to be high achievers in school and have less depression and anxiety.”

There is no doubt that this study will start a landslide of differing opinions and provide more gainful employment for researchers.  And more research is good for both Life in the Boomer Lane and her devoted readers. The snack industry is expected to remain neutral.