The days when mothers stayed at home cooking, cleaning, taking care of the children and performing all of the household chores are long gone. Mothers are working outside of the home now more than ever before. Deciding whether or not to return to work after delivering a baby is still one of the hardest struggles that a mother has to face.
Statistics show that mothers with younger children are less likely to be in the labor force than mothers with older children. In 2012, the labor force participation rate of mothers with children under 6 years old was 64.8 percent while the workforce participation rate for mothers with children between 6 and 17 years old was 5.1 percent (“Employment”). No differences exited between the participation rates of married and single mothers.
It has been said that a large number of women began to join the workforce and work outside of the household for their first time during World War II. While the soldiers were away defending the country, women needed to work to keep the country running in patriotic support of the war (Goldin and Olivetti). Since that time, women with families have continued to join the workforce without being frowned upon or considered to be radicals.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the labor force participation rate, or the percent of the population working or looking for work, for all mothers with children under age 18 was 70.5 percent in 2012 (“Employment”). The rates should working mothers who actually had a spouse present were less than the rates of working mothers who were either widowed, divorced, or otherwise unmarried.
Some mothers return to work out of necessity. They have to work in order to financially support their families and help ensure that the family has satisfactory food, clothes, and shelter. Other women return to work by choice. They may desire some type of fulfillment, like respect or a sense of accomplishment, that having compensated employment could provide.
Whether it is by necessity or choice, the decision to return to work is one that a mother must make for herself based on her needs and the impact that such a decision would have on her children.
The ultimate question is how does a working mom impact her children? There are a number of advantages and disadvantages for children of working mothers that should be examined before making such an important decision.
Children of working mothers appear to be more independent than those of nonworking, stay at home, mothers. When the mother is away earning a living at work, the children may have to do some small tasks on their own. If the parents were easily accessible, children would be relied upon to complete these same manageable tasks. For example, if a child needed a book from a reachable shelf, he would get if for himself instead of begging a nonworking mother for it. In addition, it encourages children to complete activities with confidence and practicality.
Children of working mothers show a more...