In 2020, we saw American motherhood shift into an insane multi-tasking circus which included our normal work, but now at home, coupled with virtual schooling for our children, on top of our everyday household duties. It was wild (to say the least) and before I go any further, I would like to give every single mom a round of applause!
As the nation starts to make gradual shifts back to in-office working, I am reminded of the good old 1960s sitcom, “Leave It to Beaver,” in which working Dad, Ward, always managed to get home in time for dinner to stay at home Mom, June, who cleaned the house in a pristine dress, pearls, and heels each day. And by the end of every half hour episode, the kids somehow always managed to learn a life-changing, valuable lesson.
Today, more than 25 million moms put on their pristine dresses and heels for another reason: to get to the office, or any other work environment, in which they are climbing career ladders across the country. Moms today are also more educated than ever before. More than 70% of moms with kids under the age of 18 are in the labor force, and in 40% of U.S. households, the mother is the primary breadwinner, according to a 2015 Pew Research Center Report. However, the “mom guilt” over the decision to be a stay-at-home mom vs. a working mom is still very real. The same study shows that over one third of Americans believe the “ideal situation” for households with young children is one in which the mother doesn’t work at all.
While I am not here to settle the debate on working moms vs. stay-at-home moms, as both types of mothers provide such value to the household in different ways, I am here to (hopefully) take a bit of the guilt away from that mom who just missed out on “pizza picnic day” at school because she absolutely could not get out of her noon meeting. Let’s take a look at some statistics from a study published in the journal Work, Employment and Society in April 2018, in which researchers dug through family and career data on more than 100,000 men and women across 29 countries to conclude that being a working mom is not as detrimental to our families as we may think:
- “…Adult daughters…of employed mothers are more likely to be employed and, if employed, are more likely to hold supervisory responsibility, work more hours, and earn higher incomes than their peers whose mothers were not employed.”
- 21% – the amount of women who held supervisory positions raised by working mothers compared with 18% of women who held these same types of positions raised by stay-at-home moms
- 23% – the increase in pay that daughters of working mothers make over the daughters of stay-at-home moms in the U.S.
- 5 hours – the amount of time men raised by working mothers spend per week on childcare above their peers who were raised by stay-at-home moms
- 25 minutes – the amount of time men raised by working mothers spend per week on housework above their peers who were raised by stay-at-home moms
Kathleen McGinn, the study’s author and a professor at Harvard Business School, stresses that the aim of this study is not to diminish the role of the stay-at-home mom or to tout the position of the working mother: “It’s not that it’s right or wrong for women to work. It’s that there’s a set of options that seem fully available.”
So, for those working moms who are struggling with the guilt of leaving their child in the care of others, or those struggling with the idea of not being able to make every recital or school event, hopefully this puts a small pep in your step. Keep doing you, Mamas – we’re all doing the best we can for our kids!
If you are or know any type of mom out there who could use some financial guidance, please feel free to contact one of our Wealthspire working moms. We’re always here to help guide your financial decisions, so you’re one step closer to making it to soccer practice on time – instead of working on your household savings plan in your SUV.