This post is in partnership with Blog Meets Brand
Growing up, like many little girls, I couldn’t wait to get married. I had dreams of a wedding, 6 kids and a house with a fence! But as I aged, my family dreams begin to fade and my career dreams started to come to the forefront. I was far more excited for college and the future that lay ahead of it than having children. After college graduation and few positive years in the work force, we decided to have kids and expand our family. With about 5 years of marriage in our past, pregnancy came quickly and it wasn’t long after having our daughter that I felt like I should leave work and focus on raising her.
Why leave work for a child?
I am not 100% sure. I can’t say leaving work was motivated by guilt, more so by maternal need, but for so many women, leaving the work force when a child is born feels like the thing they have to do more than they want to do. In fact, when polling people on what is best for children, staying home or going to work, 60% believe that a parent in the home (nonworking) provides the best home. Even worse, 21% even state that women working with young children in the home is harmful to society!
But is it actually harmful to society? The short answer: Absolutely not.
Mom Guilt Reigns Supreme
Sadly, when you ask women about time with kids or staying at home with kids, they nearly all agonize from sort of daily or weekly “mom guilt” thinking their children are suffering as a result of less maternal time. They feel bad about working. Scientifically and statistically speaking, a stay at home parent providing a better lifestyle for their child’s mental well being is simply a myth. In fact, a Harvard Business School study of 50,000 adults found that in 24 countries, the daughters whose moms worked before the girls were 14 years old:
- finished more years of education
- earned higher salaries
- and were more likely to be employed and in supervisory roles than their peers whose moms stayed at home
Then why does society put so much pressure on women to be at home? Many people believe, especially with the onslaught of social media, that if they are not involved in major activities and 3 course at home meals, they are somehow failing at parenting. Its just not true- often what you see online are small glimpses of a structured or staged idea versus a reality of day to day life.
I know here on MomDot, that I love to provide fun ideas and my site as a whole could look like a day in a perfect child’s life. In reality, these activities are only once a week, if even that, and are more a guide than a lifestyle to provide inspiration. As someone that operates in a professional space with content creation, I can’t stress enough that someone like me is looking to take down the pressure by allowing you to simple grab an idea and incorporate it, rather than make you feel guilty for not having every minute of the day planned with glitter and glue.
(I made it to CNN!)
Personally I belong to a rare group of women that stay at home and work. I contribute to my family with my online business, but with my extremely flexible schedule, can be there to get my kids ready to walk out the door and be able to put away work by the time they get off the bus in the afternoon. For me, working is in my blood. I have a strong entrepreneurial spirit and even prior to
having a blog, had an online store. It wasn’t long after I had my daughter that I was itching to return to contributing to my family in a meaningful way, and not just for monetary reasons. I am the kind of person that values work and the personal feeling of accomplishment. While I put my family above all else, being busy and creating a life I want (not just my kids or spouse) feels important. Additionally, setting an example in my home that women can achieve success as well seems important to stress for my rapidly aging 12 year old daughter.
It has been nearly 10 years that I stepped out to do my own thing and I have been balancing my marriage, kids, and business and doing quite well. There have been times I dropped the ball on one thing or another, but my kids are well adjusted and understand that our household is an equal partnership where dad and mom both contribute to all aspects of our lives.
Success is something you define
I realize that I am laying out the reasons to head back to work and that can come off as leaving an entire sector of women (and men) that choose to stay at home for any one reason or another. Please know that I personally believe you have to decide what is best for your family and there are no right or wrong answers. I am simply addressing that if you choose to want to work or use your education or if you have no choice but to work to assist in providing for your family, that you are not less and we can do away with the idea that your kids will suffer as a result. Just simply being at home doesn’t elevate your relationship with your child- the quality of the experience is the ultimate factor in success for a child and anyone, working or nonworking, can foster that growth.
Looking for more information? BBVA Compass has partnered with blogger Emma Johnson to provide a 23 page ebook entitled Working Moms Mean Business which help break down additional tips to help free Moms from guilt and focus on their futures. The book also has a fantastic list of 15 ways to free yourself from nagging mom guilt like
- Focusing on Financial Realities
- Identifying where guilt stems from
- Finding a supportive system
- Making YOU count
- Find work that defines your self
and much more! Head over and download the book FREE and give it a go. Its highly interesting and I believe could help many people thinking negatively about themselves or others in the work force, break out of that mentality and get on a path to success. Working Moms Mean Business also has some great stories of successful moms doing it all to help inspire women in a podcast series that is broken down in varying topics like Mom-Friendly Work places and working moms impact on kids.