Does Research on Parenting Outcomes Help or Hurt Moms?

A news article entitled “Working moms’ kids fare just as well as stay-at-home counterparts, study says” was recently released reinforcing what we’ve all been saying all along…good kids come from a healthy environment (and if some of us are proof, often from an unhealthy one, too), regardless of whether mom works outside the home or not.  I get and appreciate the sentiment of the radio personality from whom I first learned of the study when she stated “moms don’t have to feel guilty anymore”.  She added commentary that we now basically have proof that the Working and SAHM mom debate can cross off the way our kids turn out academically as an argument for or against staying at home.  

I don’t know about you, but even on days when I’m physically at home with my kids and not doing my paid work, I do a hell of a lot more working than staying. And frankly, the thought that 40 years and all the moola that was spent trying to figure out an answer that should garner far more “duh!”s than “aha“s is freaky.  I mean there are kids in our own cities starving, let alone what families in other countries endure- whether their moms are paid for their work or not, and we’re so self-righteous that we need some study to justify our generally privileged decisions!?!???  In fact, I’m more concerned about the lack of decision-making opportunity for the unemployed moms who would prefer to work and those who would cut off their left arm to stay home but don’t have that financial option, than I am about using research to back-up who pays the bills in my house.  And since I am a PT WAHM (gag- I hate acronyms that label me), where in the world do I fit in anyway?  Come to think of it…I know very few moms who work traditional, business-casual, office, 9-5 jobs anymore.  So is this study even relevant in our modern society?

I admit that thanks to its timeliness, this particular piece of research may do a little to snuff out the burning fire raging in the battle of mom v. mom.  But, frankly I think it will probably just bring out more haters who will try to defend their point of view, as they always have.  They’re like hyenas waiting to eat up anything that comes their way that looks edible anyway, whether it tastes good going down or not.

Furthermore, I don’t believe the results of any such study should “relieve” moms at all; part of ending the mommy wars is to stop the categorizing and labeling of moms. We need to begin chipping away at this fight by showing respect for each other’s choices and pairing that with feeling more confident in our own in order for guilt and parenting not to forever go hand in hand.

One comment

  1. I do know a lot of moms who work traditional 9-5 office jobs. That’s where I was until 36 weeks pregnant and where I had planned to stay but some unforeseen events arose and I had to leave my job. So I do think there are still a lot of moms at those jobs. It’s a time crunch for them, coordinating childcare. But that’s another rant…

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