Working Moms Rejoice: Study Says We're NOT Screwing Up Our Kids

Julie Ryan Evans
10

business womanOver the years there have been countless studies about working mothers and what their absence means for their children. Most of the news hasn't been good ... until now.

A new study out of Columbia University says the infants of working mothers aren't any worse off than their peers with stay-at-home moms when it comes to cognitive development. It's the first study that has looked not just at any negatives from a mother's absence, but also took into an account the benefits -- like more income and better child care.

While research did find that children whose mothers worked full-time during their first year of life performed slightly lower on cognitive tests until first grade, that was cancelled out by the benefits and things such as the fact that working moms showed more "maternal sensitivity" toward their children than full-time stay-at-home moms.
 
The new study is "every bit as important as you might think," Greg Duncan, president of the Society for Research in Child Development, told the The Washington Post. He said it allows mothers to make the choice to work outside the home with much less guilt.
 
I've been on both sides of the mommy wars, and smack in the middle for a long time. I've never had any desire to fight them, just a need to figure out what's best for my family.
 
Since my son was 6 months old, I have worked full-time, or nearly so. I was lucky enough to find very flexible jobs in which I never needed much childcare for him.
 
When my daughter was born, things changed, and I was left a crazy stressed-out mess working 40-plus-hour weeks with little childcare -- trying to do it all, but racked with guilt about handing her over to someone else for most of the day.
 
So I quit.
 
And for five or six months, I was a full-time stay-at-home mom. At first, it was great, but I quickly learned it wasn't the life for me. It didn't feel right for my family, so I started to look for work again.
 
Once again, I was fortunate enough to find a fabulous job that I love. This time, however, I do need childcare. And I've found it.
 
While I still had the same feelings of guilt going into it, I have quickly grown to love it ... and so has my daughter. I see how she thrives in the daycare setting, how she loves and learns from her peers, and how much I love picking her up every day and giving her my undivided attention.  
 
I'm less stressed about our family finances and more in the minute with my children when I know that I don't get to spend every single one with them.
 
So I guess I found out on my own what this study concludes, but it's nice to get the affirmation.
 
Do you feel guilty being a working mom? Does this study make you feel any better?  
 
 
Image via mirimcfly/Flickr
 
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