(Stock image for illustration purposes) Studies show working mothers have a positive impact on their children’s wellbeing.

FOR working women, the idea of being a lady of leisure is so tempting especially when we have a tough day at work.

The image of me hyper-ventilating each time I am caught in a bad crawl while heading to work or to an assignment is so tempting.

The thought of wanting to throw the PC against the wall each time I am up to my eyeballs with work and deadlines is so tempting.

So when your husband, who earns more than you, suggests that you leave your stressful job, you may just decide to do just that.

Did I mention that it is so tempting? However, the practical and realistic person in me stops me from taking that leap.

I have seen and read enough news about the sufferings of housewives who lost their husbands and their only source of income. Granted, some say it will not necessarily happen. These housewives may have the same thought, too, before they suffer such losses.

When fate throws a curve ball, it is best to be ready to face it. Especially when you still have small children to think of.

Unless you have over RM1 million stashed in some unit trust somewhere, you should not trouble yourself to continue reading this article.

For those who do not have it, it is best to hold on to your jobs.

To be a working woman has its benefits aside from being financially stable and able to put food on the table as well as provide a roof over one’s head.

Should anything happen to one’s spouse, the working wife or husband is the much-needed safety net for the family during trying times.

In this respect, it is wise for both husband and wife to be working. Some, however, may not agree, especially those with young children.

Most of us can understand our take on this matter, as the idea of sending our little ones to nannies or daycare centres is scary enough, a topic which this writer has explored in-depth before.

Yes, as a mum with work commitment who is not there enough for her child will have sufficient self-inflicted guilt trip to last for a life time.

Before, we, mums, start throwing our resignation letters on our employers’ desk, keep this in mind: studies have shown that our status as working mothers has a positive impact on our children. Seriously, I am not joking or trying to make myself feel less guilty to be a working mum.

A research by Kathleen L. McGinn, the Cahners-Rabb Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, and her colleagues discovered that women with working mothers are more likely to hold supervisory responsibilities in their jobs and earn higher salaries than those with full-time stay-home mums.

For men raised by working mothers, they tend to help with the household chores and care for other family members. It was reported that the findings were “stark and they hold true across 24 countries”.

Good to know, right? Perhaps, a single study is not enough to convince working mums that it is okay to continue working.

Before you start typing out that resignation letter, know this: another researcher, Lois Wladis Hoffman, a PhD Professor Emerita of the Department of Psychology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, found that “children of employed mothers obtained higher scores on the three achievement tests for language, reading and math across gender, socioeconomic status, and marital status, middle-class boys included.”

This is certainly good news, especially for working mums who bite their nails in terror that their careers will likely land their children’s education in the gutter as the findings of Hoffman’s research should somewhat ease that fear.

“The mother’s employment status does have effects on families and children, but few of these effects are negative ones. Indeed, most seem positive — the higher academic outcomes for children, benefits in their behavioural conduct and social adjustment, and the higher sense of competence and effectiveness in daughters.

“On the whole, these research results suggest that most families accommodate the mother’s employment and in doing so provide a family environment that works well.

“In two-parent families, the fathers take on a larger share of the household tasks and child care, and this seems to have benefits for the children.

“In the working class, employed mothers indicated a higher level of wellbeing than full-time homemakers and this, in turn, affects their parenting in positive ways,” said Hoffman.

Aside from studies conducted by McGinn and Hoffman, there are others which working mums can search for on the Internet and access with a mere click of the mouse.

As a working mum, it will be tough trying to tell myself not to feel guilty for not spending enough time with my 6-year-old son.

Will I ever make peace with myself? I will not know. Ask me again when my son becomes an adult.

What I do know now, when we do spend time with him, our 6-year-old will know that he is greatly loved by his overworked mum and dad.

With more than 20 years in journalism and a masters in Counselling Psychology, the Azura Abas is always drawn to the mystery of the human mind and behaviours. She can be reached via azuraa@nst.com.my

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