Apparently children of working mothers aren’t only higher achievers, but more emotionally developed.
Years ago, when I was 36, I fell over, dropped like a dead weight for no reason at all. BOOM.
At the hospital, they checked for everything (including HIV, as I had been working as a scientist on the body fluids of Australia’s first AIDS patient), advised me to wean my baby as a precaution, and guess what?
It turned out I was just exhausted.
Just exhausted. Just. Exhausted. Like every working mother in Australia.
Now, having crawled to the rock of perspective and rest, after 25 years of child-rearing, I look back through the corridor of time and those years seem like a whirling frenzy, barely glimpsed through a haze of fatigue. Like every working mother.
Fatigue, we can do. It’s our reality, whether we work at home or in the workforce. But if we work outside the home – as two-thirds of us do – what cuts through the exhaustion, interrupts our sleep in sharp pangs and lays a quiet hand of burden across the breadth of our lives, is guilt. How much does our absence, our displacement of infants and children to the care of others, impact on their delicate little psyches?
Is our quest for fulfilment, of equal rights to autonomy and financial independence, or our need to pay the bills, at the expense of our children’s healthy mental and emotional development?
Here are some kick-arse, well-known working mothers. (Post continues after gallery.)
Well, in a major miracle, a stroke of entire good fortune, a finding that amazingly was not splashed as banner headlines across all (male-owned and dominated) media around the globe, it turns out that the strongest weapon in the fight to give girls equal rights is … a working mother.
Harvard Business School (not well-known as a feminist activist enclave) has found the children of working mothers do better. From a study of 50,000 adults in 25 countries, they report daughters of women who work do remarkably better in the workplace. They complete more years of education, earn higher wages and have higher positions than the daughters of women who stay at home.
These results aren’t because mothers in the workforce get more education and training, mix with upwardly mobile people, and earn more money, and so drag the family up with them. That does help, but the study’s chief author, Kathleen L McGinn, Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business, allowed for these factors, and the impact of being raised by a working mother is stark; it is a clear and significant benefit to girls.