I'm not trying to say that it's necessarily better for a kid to grow up with a working mom. For the record, I think the issue is too nuanced and layered to make a sweeping claim like that. However, I do feel like there are pros and cons to being a working mom that are worth considering, and that families that do include a working mom (or, more inclusively, families that simply don't have a stay-at-home parent) should be able to acknowledge that. It's an individual choice (that often isn't even a choice, let's not forget that) that's going to vary from family to family.
Since becoming to be a working mom, I'm no stranger to guilt. Despite the fact that working allows me contribute to our family financially, I'm still kinda hung up on how it also takes me away from my child and benefits me personally. Though if I dig deep (and honestly, not even that deep) I can recognize that there are perks for my son, too, just like there were perks for me when my own mom went back to work after years of staying home with my brother and I. In fact, I would wager that even within individual families, the best-case scenario will vary from year to year, or even month to month. At least, it has within mine.
All that said, from my own experiences of both having and being a working mom, I've narrowed it down to a few key benefits for kids:
They're Getting A Great Example Set For Them In So Many Ways
Not to say that your kids have to make the same choices as you do, but they're seeing one way to do it, and that way happens to have a crazy work ethic, time management skills, and many other important lessons.
They're Seeing The Day-To-Day Grind Of Working Parents In Action
My son is too young to really understand the choices his dad and I are making about how to spend our time and how we get things done (especially things like dishes and laundry), but as he's older, I suspect that he'll realize the insane amount of prioritizing that's happening.
They're Forming Attachments To Other Adults (And Possibly Other Kids, And Other Environments)
Depending on your childcare choices, your kiddos may be having any number of experiences, including but limited to daycare, school, time with a nanny, time with a relative, and time on their own in fancy hotels thwarting burglars in '90s-era New York at Christmastime. Either way, they're seeing things through a different lens than their parents'.
They're Learning Self-Reliance
And by "self-reliance," I mean that the world doesn't fall apart when they are outside of mom or dad's care, and that they can be OK on their own (in the care of other trusted adults, obviously). Raising an independent person doesn't hinge on your family having an employment situation that involves leaving them at daycare, but like, it definitely doesn't hurt.
There Are Options On Take Your Kid To Work Day
This may feel like a minor detail, but I distinctly remember going to work with both my mom and my dad when I was younger. And, it's been over twenty years and I'm still talking about it, so obviously those examples meant something to my tweenage self.
They Get To Be Excited For Your Arrival Home
What's that old phrase? "Absence makes the heart run gleefully across the room into your legs when you walk in the front door?"
They're Adaptable Since They've Been Exposed To Different Routines
Gone are the days when my son and I wake up and do the same thing as the day before. Now, our schedules have a different flavor depending on whether or not it's a work day for his dad and I. When the day starts, he doesn't always know which way it will turn out, but he's learning to go with the flow and adapt, which — fingers crossed — will be helpful as he gets older.
Images: Claire Jones/Romper; Giphy(7)