“Working mom guilt” is real, but is it misguided? Why science says kids of working moms are going to succeed later in life. Sponsored by BBVA Compass.
Just the other day I was catching up with one of my closest friends who moved to another state. She told me about how she was “mom shamed” by members of a mom meet-up group in her city.
Why? Because she works outside the home. (And is very successful at it, I might add).
My friend felt that the other women in the group looked down on her because she chose to pursue her career and raise a family at the same time. One of the other moms even chastised, “I budget every penny we spend so I can stay at home with my kids.”
“But I don’t want to worry about whether we have enough money or not,” my friend explained. “I love working so that we can provide a comfortable lifestyle for our kids.”
My friend is not alone in her experience as a working mom — I’ve been there too. I worked full time outside the home until my youngest was six months old. I vividly remember how I tough it was on the days when I got home just in time to tuck the girls into bed.
What is Working Mom Guilt?
There’s a huge gap between ideals and reality in the United States when it comes to working moms:
60% of Americans say that children are better off with a parent at home.
However, 71% of moms are in the workforce (as of 2012).
This mismatch between what society says is “best” versus what the majority of families actually do causes a phenomenon known as “working mom guilt.” To put it simply, many moms worry that they are sacrificing their children’s well-being for the sake of earning more money.
Even when moms enjoy their careers, societal pressures tell them that this is selfish. But is having a mom that works really such a bad thing for kids?
What Science Says About Working Moms (You Might be Surprised)
While public opinion shows that over half of Americans believe it’s best for families to have a stay at home mom, science tells a different story.
I recently read the ebook Working Moms Mean Business by Emma Johnson, a personal finance writer and blogger at Wealthy Single Mommy, which explained why working moms have science on their side.
A 2015 Harvard Business School study shows that girls whose moms work outside the home:
- go further in their education
- are paid more in their careers
- are more likely to be employed in supervising positions
The same study shows that working moms also positively impact the division of labor in the home, as their sons are more likely to help out with chores and child care. Like daughters, sons of working moms statistically earn more than their peers who had a stay at home mom.
What’s Best for Your Family
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — we need to stop with the mom shaming already. What’s best for your family might be different than your neighbor or your friend. Instead of trying to make each other feel like a lesser mom, let’s lift each other up!
I’ve been both a full-time working mom and a full-time stay at home mom, so I understand both sides. Let’s support our mom friends, whatever their employment status may be, to fill the gaps in their lives by offering to help where help is needed.
Simple ways to support your working mom friends:
- Let them know that you are available in a pinch to pick up kids from school or day care.
- Cook or bring dinner to your friend on a night where work runs late.
- Set up a carpool to help get kids to after school activities.
- Be a positive support system (no matter if you’re a SAHM or a working mom, sometimes we all just need a sympathetic ear!)
These are all things that were helpful to me when I worked full time outside the home, but things I never would have thought to ask for.
Learn More About How to Let Go of Mom Guilt
Earlier I mentioned the ebook Working Moms Mean Business — it’s an awesome FREE resource full of ideas and encouragement for working moms. There’s also an accompanying 10-podcast series with author Emma Johnson, so be sure to check that out too!
Grab your free copy of Working Moms Mean Business and listen to the podcast here:
You might also like: How to Land Your Dream Job after being a Stay at Home Mom
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