Guilty working moms, it’s time you put your mind at ease and your guilt feelings away! Read on to know the reasons why.
Traditionally, mothers stay at home to care for the children especially in the Asian context. However, times have changed and now a number of mums decide to go back to work after their maternity leave. While some mums chose to go back to work for personal reasons others have no choice as their husband’s income alone is no longer enough for the family’s basic needs of food, clothing, shelter and education (to add). Whatever the reason is, most working mums (including me) often feel the pangs of guilt about being a working mum.
Often the guilt is not self driven but because of some of the following reasons that people have made mums believe over the years.
1. Belief that their child’s development will be negatively affected
2. Fear that their child may be subject to neglect and abuse by child care givers
3. Guilt mongers who frown at working mums and try to get them down by suggesting that working mums are trying to escape from the burden and boredom of taking care of the children and would rather have someone else take care of them.
4. Fear that the bond between mother and child would be lost due to her absence or that her child would feel abandoned.
While there are a number of reasons that you can convince yourself to feel guilty, here are some reasons why we should not feel guilty.
Child’s development not impacted
First and foremost, there are research studies which point out that the absence of a working mom doesn’t affect her child’s development. The findings of a 1999 study at the University of Massachusets reveal that a mother’s work outside the home doesn’t negatively affect the children in the areas of vocabulary, academic achievement or compliance with authority.
Your bond will still be there
Moreover, a longitudinal study in 2005 at the University of Texas concludes that a working mother doesn’t cause her infant’s development to suffer nor does the close bond between them to disappear.
Dr. Aletha Huston, the director of the study and a child development professor at the university, says that the time a mother spends with her infant does not matter, what matters is the quality of their time together. In fact, working moms or even those who are still studying compensate time with her infant during off days.
There are emotional benefits to working
There are people who have written books that say being a working mom benefits not only to the mother but the whole family as a whole. Betty Holcomb who wrote Not Guilty! The Good News About Working Mothers (1998), says women who work outside the home are less prone to depression and are healthier.
Holcomb, a senior editor at the Working Mother magazine in the US has discussed the fact that there are no negative effects to a child’s development when the mother works outside the home.
This is based on a century of research studies. In fact, children are given better lives through good education in day care centers and schools when the mother is working and the family is economically advantaged.
A mother can give more
Another book When Mothers Work: Loving Our Children Without Sacrificing Ourselves (1968) by Joan K. Peters explains that the mother can give more to her children when she finds her identity and fulfillment as a human person as she works outside the home.
When a mother is solely spending her time to take care of her children, she might neglect her own self and become prone to depression. In these touch economic times, inadequate financial resources and limited family budget can drive a mother crazy. But when she goes to work and the family income is enough or more than enough for their needs then she becomes more content.
Peters also talks about the the chance of the father to take part in parenting when the mother is out of the house. As we can observe, this is what has been happening to families these days. The parents now have a shared responsibility of parenting the children unlike before when it was mostly the mother’s responsibility.
You might refute that these research studies and these books are based on a western context. But this is not just true to western nations, it is also true to us Asians.
When you reflect on the facts, you will realize that indeed there isn’t any reason for a working mother to be guilty especially if working is for the benefit of your children and family.