The United States is home to more than 25 million working mothers, and each day that number continues to grow. While many women nationwide are both raising families and working full-time, one third of Americans believe that the “ideal situation” for young children is one where their mother doesn’t work at all, and instead, stays home. With much of our nation having this mindset that moms should not work, it can often lead working moms feeling guilty for having a career; however, according to more and more research, working mothers actually have an overwhelmingly positive influence on their children.
In a study that was published in the journal Work, Employment and Society, researchers dug through family and career data on more than 100,000 men and women. They found that the children of working moms tend to lead different lives than those with a stay-at-home mom, but not in a bad way.
The research found that the impact of working mothers is most evident in their daughters. They found that women who grew up with a working mother in the household were more likely to have careers themselves. Not only that, but daughters of working mothers in the U.S. also make about 23 percent more than daughters of stay-at-home moms, research says.
The root of this phenomenon is the way children internalize social behaviors and the behaviors modeled by the adults around them. When children are grown, they tend to repeat the patterns that their parents modeled. Therefore, adults who grew up in a home with two working parents are probably going to repeat that pattern when they start their own families.
Now, this research certainly does not mean that stay-at-home moms are damaging their children’s futures. There is not one “right” way to raise children, and what works for one family, might not work for another. But for those mothers who may wrestle with the guilt of leaving their child each day, give yourself a pat on the back, and know that what you are doing will have a positive impact on your children as they grow.