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Working Moms and Children – There is Nothing to Feel Guilty About

On Behalf of | May 18, 2015 | Children

Tonight’s post about Working Moms and children was written by our working mom, Marietta divorce attorney, Jeannine Lowery.

Of course there isn’t anything to feel guilty about. But a mom without guilt is only slightly less rare than bigfoot – there’s been spottings but its existence can’t be confirmed.

If you are a mom by birth, or adoption or pure generosity of spirit, you get it. You’ve inevitably felt a twinge of guilt for not washing that pacifier when it dropped, for not being the classroom mom every year, for losing your temper at the end of a long week.

For me, a lawyer and a single mom of the most wonderful child ever born – all kidding and bias aside, the strongest guilt I feel is when I drop her off at school to make it court on time.

There’s something about this early morning exchange, that invokes tears in one or both of us.

While practicing law and helping families through difficult transitions is not just a passion but a calling for me, I sometimes wonder whether this sacrifice is beneficial or detrimental to my daughter.

Many of the mothers I help through divorce are facing that same dilemma. Divorce creates two households to support with the same income that used to support one household. That often means a stay at home mom must transition into the work force to provide financial stability.

And on a weekend where I have to balance mom life, including a trip to the zoo, a birthday party, laundry and grocery shopping, with trial preparation, I thankfully found some “free time” to read a New York Times article titled, “Mounting Evidence of Advantages for Children of Working Mothers.”

This article, based in part on a new study of 50,000 adults in 25 countries, reveals that daughters of working mothers complete more years of education, are more likely to be employed and in supervisory roles and earned higher incomes. That’s most certainly an advantage.

For the sons of working mothers, there wasn’t a direct effect on careers, which researchers said was unsurprising because men were generally expected to work – but interestingly, sons of working mothers dedicated more time to childcare and housework. And having fathers that spend more time on childcare and housework certainly has an advantage in the family.

The study found these advantages were most clear in the United States, where daughters of working mothers earned 23 percent more than daughters of stay-at-home mothers, and sons spent seven and a half more hours a week on child care than sons of stay-at-home mothers.

Additionally, the article finds that “[a] 2010 meta-analysis of 69 studies over 50 years found that in general, children whose mothers worked when they were young had no major learning, behavior or social problems, and tended to be high achievers in school and have less depression and anxiety.”

So while mom guilt isn’t likely to end here, focusing on the many advantages that being a working mom provides children, will hopefully keep it at bay, at least until the next time I run, in a skirt a heels, into a swim class five minutes late.

Jeannine Lowery