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BY Fairygodboss

Dispense with the Guilt: Working Mothers Are Great Mothers

working mother and child

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TAGS: Working moms

Today 70% of American mothers work outside the home. Many of the mothers - including many that are part of the Fairygodboss community - wrestle with guilt and ambivalence about their “decision” to work. (And for many, working is a necessity...not a decision at all.)

Mothers constantly worry that their time at work away from the family may have a negative effect on their children. That’s why we were so heartened to see this phenomenal video produced by Solana Pyne and Erik German (a wife and husband team!) from Quartz in partnership with Retro Report. Their video report debunks a core, oft-quoted statistic that said that working mothers spend 40% less time with their children than non-working mothers of the previous generation.

In fact, Pyne reveals research showing that working mothers are actually increasing their time in primary caregiving and interaction, i.e.,reading and playing with kids, changing and feeding, etc. There is even evidence to indicate that over the years even total time spent with family has increased.

Furthermore, it is a fallacy that the June Cleaver perfect housewife of the 1950s was a more attentive and involved mother than working mothers of contemporary times. Pyne’s video reveals that housewives of that era were far too busy with housework, husband and other duties to spend much developmental time with kids.

Another critical point made by Pyne’s video: Parental leave for fathers is actually the key ingredient that could improve possible outcomes for children. Pyne’s presents research that reveals a strong correlation between the involvement of fathers and language skills and empathy in children. Apparently the bonds that fathers form with their children immediately starting from birth have a meaningful impact on the children, and hence it follows that if men are allowed to spend more time with their children via paid parental leave, American children will benefit as a result.

Pyne’s work follows nicely in the footsteps of another study released last year by Harvard Business School that daughters of working mothers earned 23% more than daughters of stay-at-home moms.

At Fairygodboss, we believe that whatever path you take as a parent - be it working or stay-at-home or any of the multitude of flavors in between - is not only acceptable, but good for your children. We all have to work hard to find the right recipe for ourselves and our families, and perspectives, preferences and experiences are highly personal. It will almost certainly be a voyage filled with trial-and-error and frequent course corrections as circumstances change. But two factors that should never be the reason for your decision are guilt and self-doubt.


Fairygodboss

Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women.
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Related Community Discussions

  • My company recently put in a nursing room/mother's room but it was designed in a way that the majority of the room is fogged glass - except one strip that runs right at sitting level that was left as transparent glass. I don't think it was done intentionally (men designed the room) but I now have to put up sheets of paper to cover the transparent strip of glass. Any idea on how to address this with my (all male) management team?

  • I recently had a child and worked out an arrangement with my manager to work from home 1-2 days/week. I'm the only female on my team and none of the co-workers have a similar arrangement. There have been discreet comments made about my schedule (mostly in a joking way) but it still feels uncomfortable. Has anyone else ran into this?

  • I need some advice. I recently took maternity leave, which ended up turning in to Temporary Disability Leave because of some medical complications I had after the baby was delivered. I returned back to work after being off for 24 weeks. I have returned to the same job and have tried to get back into the swing of corporate life + new baby (first time mom here) and have the opportunity to take an additional 4 weeks off paid by the state, but it needs to be taken and completed before my child turns 12 months old and that's fast approaching.

    I submitted a request to HR to take temporary leave of absence and my HR department is denying me the ability to take this leave, stating that I exhausted the 13 weeks FMLA that the company offers (has to offer) to all employees. They are saying that I don't qualify for this leave until a full 12 months after my initial leave started. Everything I have read online and everyone I have talked to say that FMLA and TCI leave are completely different and separate. Technically, I think I am allowed to take this leave, the State says I qualify for it, but it's now in my employers hands and I am afraid if they deny me, and I choose to still take the leave, that I will not have job security. The brochure talking about TCI doesn't say anything about FMLA being the deciding factor "http://www.dlt.ri.gov/tdi/pdf/TCIBrochure.pdf."

    Does anyone know what my rights are? Can I legally take the 4 weeks off, and still have a job to return back to? Given that I had to take so much time off, do I still qualify for job protection and benefits?

    Thank you for any an all help.

  • I am currently 36 weeks pregnant and gearing up to go on maternity leave at the end of the month. I recently came across a new job oppurnity that would be better for my family. I'm at the finishing stages of interviewing with this new company and I am worried that I will find out I got the job while on maternity leave. My question is, what happens to my maternity benefits and how do I go about leaving my current job without issue?

  • My friend just told me (she was trying to be nice) that I'm limiting my career potential because I don't wear makeup to work. Do you think she's right? Do I need to wear makeup to be "professional?"

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Dispense with the Guilt: Working Mothers Are Great Mothers

Dispense with the Guilt: Working Mothers Are Great Mothers

Today 70% of American mothers work outside the home. Many of the mothers - including many that are part of the Fairygodboss community - wrestle with...

Today 70% of American mothers work outside the home. Many of the mothers - including many that are part of the Fairygodboss community - wrestle with guilt and ambivalence about their “decision” to work. (And for many, working is a necessity...not a decision at all.)

Mothers constantly worry that their time at work away from the family may have a negative effect on their children. That’s why we were so heartened to see this phenomenal video produced by Solana Pyne and Erik German (a wife and husband team!) from Quartz in partnership with Retro Report. Their video report debunks a core, oft-quoted statistic that said that working mothers spend 40% less time with their children than non-working mothers of the previous generation.

In fact, Pyne reveals research showing that working mothers are actually increasing their time in primary caregiving and interaction, i.e.,reading and playing with kids, changing and feeding, etc. There is even evidence to indicate that over the years even total time spent with family has increased.

Furthermore, it is a fallacy that the June Cleaver perfect housewife of the 1950s was a more attentive and involved mother than working mothers of contemporary times. Pyne’s video reveals that housewives of that era were far too busy with housework, husband and other duties to spend much developmental time with kids.

Another critical point made by Pyne’s video: Parental leave for fathers is actually the key ingredient that could improve possible outcomes for children. Pyne’s presents research that reveals a strong correlation between the involvement of fathers and language skills and empathy in children. Apparently the bonds that fathers form with their children immediately starting from birth have a meaningful impact on the children, and hence it follows that if men are allowed to spend more time with their children via paid parental leave, American children will benefit as a result.

Pyne’s work follows nicely in the footsteps of another study released last year by Harvard Business School that daughters of working mothers earned 23% more than daughters of stay-at-home moms.

At Fairygodboss, we believe that whatever path you take as a parent - be it working or stay-at-home or any of the multitude of flavors in between - is not only acceptable, but good for your children. We all have to work hard to find the right recipe for ourselves and our families, and perspectives, preferences and experiences are highly personal. It will almost certainly be a voyage filled with trial-and-error and frequent course corrections as circumstances change. But two factors that should never be the reason for your decision are guilt and self-doubt.


Fairygodboss

Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women.
Join us by reviewing your employer!
 

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