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Finally there's news to make working moms feel less guilty about the time they spend away from their children. According to a new study, a kid's development isn't as negatively impacted by a mom working outside the home as we once thought. Sure, children whose moms worked had minor cognitive delays, but when you factor in the positives that they also get, they fared about the same as peers with stay-at-home moms. Those plusses included not only higher income, but also greater "maternal responsiveness." Yup, working moms showed higher sensitivity to their kids' needs -- responding when they fussed or interacting with them as they played with a toy -- than their stay-at-home counterparts. (As for moms who worked part-time, there was virtually no difference between their children and the kids of stay-at-home moms.)
The decision whether to stay at home or return to work will always be a tough one, but I think there are plenty of reasons working moms shouldn't feel bad about their choice. Of course, there are the financial benefits and everything that goes along with them (including paying for a good education, which can negate the potential cognitive delays). Then there’s the (hopefully) equitable marriage that involves everyone pitching in on the domestic and financial fronts. And, of course, there’s the opportunity to be a role model for your kids, showing them that hard work and determination can help both men and women succeed in life.
To me, this study is simply a validation of something I've known all along: that the quality of the time I spend with my kids matters far more than the quantity. And as long as I continue to strive for more quality time, my kids are going to be all right.
Do you think it's better to stay at home or be a working mom? Chime in below!