Working Mom vs Stay-At-Home Mom: What’s Best for Kids?
Working Mom vs. Stay-At-Home Mom: What’s Best for Kids?
The days when mothers’ roles were confined to raising children as housewives are long gone. Over the years, women’s role has transitioned from the kitchen to boardrooms and in positions of influence in various occupations. As a result, concerns have been raised about the effects of working moms, who spend long hours from home, on their children and family. This change in the role of mothers has pitted proponents of women in workforce against the stay-at-home mothers. One of the major consequences usually raised about working moms is the inability of their children to develop cognitive skills because of lack of personalized attention. This position can, however, be challenged because a child’s intellect, cognitive skills, and social comfort can be increased through a quality daycare (Coon & Mitterer 96). While staying at home may be good for the children in the sense that the mother can monitor child development and influence the character of the child, it is increasingly being accepted that there is no emotional or behavioral harm to children with working mothers.
Parenting and Child Development
It has been argued that the development of a child cannot be relegated to a mother only as it takes personalized attention from both parents. However, this assumption fails to appreciate the contribution of the father in a child’s development, a position that plays down the importance of a family unit, which comprises of the father and mother, in raising their children. It is evident that there is mounting pressure for the modern mother who balances between occupational and family roles. However, when it concerns the upbringing and development of children for working and stay-at-home moms, the important question is the quality and quantity time.
The above observation is just one of the many assumptions of the obsession with motherhood. For instance, a stay-at-home mom might spend a lot of time with the children, but that doesn’t mean their time together is well spent to the benefit of the children. In fact, a mother can work but still nature for her children and family. All it takes is a concerted effort from both parents to come up with a practicable approach to desired outcomes for raising their children amidst occupational advancements. I believe that giving children quality and quantity time and modeling a productive behavior towards a profitable future for the children provides push-backs against the parenting misconceptions about working mothers.
Time Spent with Working Mothers at Home
In her article published in 2011 by USA TODAY about the changing roles of men and women in the family, Sharon Jayson gave interesting insights about the contemporary working mother, as well as her roles in the family. According to her analysis, the recent years have experienced a great diversity in the number of hours that both fathers and mothers work at paying jobs. For instance, there has been a decline in weekly hours at a paying job for fathers from 42 hours to 37 hours between 1965 and 2011. By contrast, mothers’ working hours has seen an increase from eight hours to 21 hours during the same period.
Mothers continuously do more household chores; however, their household time has reduced to almost half per week, that is, 18 hours versus 32 hours, during this period (Jayson 1). For this reason, there has been increased sharing of household roles between working fathers and mothers, as opposed to confining these chores to the working mother only. This observation seeks to dispel the popular assumption that household duties cannot be shared between men and women, for the benefit of the working father and mother in raising the family.
Sharon’s observation has expanded the father’s role to both emotional and moral support of the woman raising the family, rather than being perceived as the breadwinner role only. She further states that in 2011, working mothers spent enough time per week, 13.5 hours, with their children. Additionally, fathers spent more time per week, 7.3 hours, with their children (Jayson1). These numbers show that the fact that a mother is working does not bar mothers, or both parents, from spending time with their children. Importantly, mothers are performing their traditional duty of caring for their families while also providing the economic support needed. These findings are important because they show the positive impact of working mothers on the family, both as caregivers, when they create time for their children, despite the hectic work schedules, and financial pillars of the family, when they supplement their husband’s economic growth.
Duality in income
Mothers in the workforce have an immense influence on their children’s growth and development. This fact is attributed to the duality in income between the mothers and fathers that enables increased financial opportunities in education, nutrition and healthcare for the children. The finances help mothers to meet the demand for the children and provide them with a good standard of living (Kirst-Ashman 220). By contrast, a stay-at-home woman will always depend on his husband to financially support the family. This reality can weigh down on the husband and create stress within the family since there is no enough money to meet the basic demands such as food, shelter and clothing.
When both parents are working, family dynamics shift as the husband and father is expected to aid in the daily activities of the house, such as cleaning dishes and cooking. As a result, he spends more quality time and develops a good relationship with both his wife and children that strengthens family ties (Shepard 327). It also helps the children understand that a family is all about sharing responsibilities and chores. The fact that both parents are prospering both at home and in their professions is good for the children. This is contrasted with a stay-at-home mother whose husband may assume that she is in charge of all housework responsibilities as she spends more time at home and not a busy as him.
In households with stay-at-home mothers, the husband may prefer rest rather than help with the house chores. Another challenge of stay-at-home moms involves lack of proper adult communication with their partners because she only sees her husband, who might be exhausted and in dire need of rest, after work. For a family with dual income, the family can go for vacations and allow partners to spend time together away from their hectic work schedules since they are financially capable of affording such expenses.
Parents as role models
Working parents serve as role models for their kids by inculcating good habits. For instance, the children learn to help others when they continuously see their fathers helping their working wives with household chores after work. Professor Kathleen McGinn of Harvard Business School echoed these sentiments in her recent global research about the benefits of a working mom with kids. The study canvassed 24 countries and surveyed 50,000 respondents. According to the findings, adult women who were raised by working mothers are more likely to be employed and hold supervisory positions as compared to adult women with stay-at-home-moms (Nobel 1). Moreover, the study found that women with working moms completed more years of formal education compared to households with stay-at-home-moms.
On the part of men, the study revealed those who had working mothers tend to help more with household chores and spend more time looking after their kids (Nobel 1). This study highlights significant information about the importance of a working woman to the family and children. Children who grew with working mothers also tend to be more independent than those with stay-at-home mothers because there is no adult in the house to remind them of their homework, breakfast or preparing for school. They perform all these duties themselves and instill good personal ethics and responsibility. When growing up, such children learn to become proactive. They also receive more love from their mothers because she compensates the long hours being away from them.
It should be apparent that the past few years have been fundamental in changing the role of the woman in the family. Increasingly, working mothers are challenging the misconception that associates them with abandoning their motherhood roles as compared to stay-at-home mothers. Studies show that working mothers spend enough time with their families and children just as stay-at-home mothers. Even so, the underlying issue does not involve the time spent with the children, but the quality of the moments shared between mothers and their children. Some of the advantages of working mothers over stay-at-home mothers include financial duality and parents as the role models for children.
Financial duality is important because both parents contribute to the family’s income that ease decision-making and provide a good standard of living for the children. On the other hand, children who grow up in households with working mothers tend to be more responsible, independent, proactive, and have better jobs than those from households with stay-at-home mothers. Admittedly, the shifting paradigm of gender roles and research-based information are evidence of a bright future where working mothers will help to pacify the negative connotations associated with them.
Coon, Dennis, and John O. Mitterer. Gateways to Psychology: An Introduction to Mind and Behavior. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2013. Print.
Jayson, Sharon. “Men Vs. Women: How Much Time Spent On Kids, Job, Chores?” USA Today. USA Today, 2013. Web. 17 Nov. 2015. <http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/03/14/men-women-work-time/1983271/>.
Kirst-Ashman, Karen K. Introduction to Social Work & Social Welfare: Critical Thinking Perspectives. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning, 2013. Print.
Nobel, Carmen. “Children Benefit from Having a Working Mom.” Harvard Business School. Harvard Business School, 2015. Web. 17 Nov. 2015. <http://www.hbs.edu/news/articles/Pages/mcginn-working-mom.aspx>.
Shepard, Jon M. Sociology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2010. Print.