Within attempt to find a balance between their

Within the last few decades, it is not uncommon for women to actively participate in the workforce. With females who have children attempt to find a balance between their careers as well as raising their children. Some mothers hold true to what they believe are dutiful domestic values and choose to raise their children themselves, whereas other mothers feel comfortable with having their children attend a day care and or some form of child care service. The controversy has been particularly popular amongst several peer-reviewed journals in terms of the psychological development of the average adolescent and the effect that each style of parenting has on their upbringing. It is most beneficial to understand both sides of the spectrum as well as to allow the consideration of the different psychological approaches that such child development is affected by. To comprehend the effect of a child’s development, it is crucial to assess the mother’s role and how it affects the child’s upbringing. The idea of a “stay-at-home” mother is a modern term in U.S. culture and is often thought of as the “traditional” mother. This image has become an ideal version of what a “true” and “good” mother is and should be. “There are three main tenets of “intensive mothering” to which all women must adhere if they are to be viewed as “good” mothers: a) childcare is primarily the responsibility of the mother; b) childcare should be child-centered; and c) children “exist outside of market valuation, and are sacred, innocent and pure, their price immeasurable” (Hays, 1996, p. 54).The “good” mother focuses exclusively on mothering her children and is committed to them in time, energy, and affection Mothers should be ready at all times with “age-appropriate stimulation and interaction; and they should carefully monitor their child’s cognitive and emotional development” (Macdonald, 1998, p. 30). Today’s “good” mother is at home with her children but also spending physical and psychological “quality time” with them each day to ensure their “proper” development.Intensive mothering is therefore also considered a full-time job – “a constant responsibility” —at least in a child’s early years (Macdonald, 1998). “Intensive” mothering discusses a psychological bond between young children and their mothers and that this “umbilical connection” remains unsevered (Macdonald, 1998, p. 30). To elaborate, a child is and will always be connected to their mother in a way that no one else can be. Societal norms assume that she is “at home” and “not working” because she prioritizes her family and children above earning income and career advancement. She believes that those nonmaterial acts have more value than earning material objects; indeed, this is seen as her “natural” duty. Children’s physical and emotional development is her sole priority (Hertz,R. 1997).The other role that a mother may take on is that of a working mother. The working mother is often negatively depicted as a woman concerned more with her own personal success (e.g., maintaining a perfect body, getting a big salary, career advancement) and attainment of material objects (e.g., new car, big house, expensive clothes) than the success of her own children (Johnston & Swanson, 2004). These mothers are under a lot of scrutiny when it comes to the bond and level of attachment they have with their children. They have become “good” workers and “liberated” women by tackling the roles of an ideal worker, but in the process, have become “bad” mothers because they appear not to practice mothering as fully as stay-at-home mothers and might even allow others to do a “mother’s job” (Macdonald, 1998). Although some individuals think that a working mother negatively impacts the upbringing of a child, others view it in a much more positive way. The “working” mother is characterized by some as a “supermom.” The “supermom” can switch effortlessly from a career woman to an involved mother without sacrificing job or children (DeMeis & Perkins). Yet the “supermom” image and the very label itself suggests that, when women work outside the home, motherhood should still be their primary duty. Indeed, many “working” mothers see mothering as their primary identity and place family in the same regard as “at home” mothers even if they are not in the home “full-time” (Johnston & Swanson, 2004). The effects of maternal employment on children are sometimes positive and sometimes negative. A longitudinal study completed in 2001 found significant cognitive differences between children who had working mothers and children who had stay-at-home mothers. The study examined the effect of maternal employment early in a child’s life on the child’s behavioral and cognitive outcomes during elementary school. The researchers found that maternal employment in the first year of a child’s life had a negative effect on cognitive outcomes for the child by age three or four. These cognitive effects could still be seen by age seven or eight (Phillips, D. & Adams, G., 2001). Interestingly, the amount of time that mothers worked did not appear to affect cognitive outcomes, as no differences were found in children of mothers working part-time compared with mothers working full-time. Mothers entering the workforce might also have a positive effect on children. Adolescents whose mothers began working reported statistically significant declines in psychological distress. This pattern was strongest for their symptoms of anxiety. Employed mothers’ positive motivation for working, low role conflicts and gains in self-worth were associated with their favorable descriptions of their children Mothers’ employed status benefits children by improving family income, better disciplined work behavior and better structure of family routines (Poduval, J & Murali, P., 2009).Also, dual-earning families can provide much more for their children. With increased financial opportunities come increases in healthcare, nutrition, and educational opportunities. Researchers have found that mothers report many positive effects of working. A group of researchers at South Bank University examined what women felt were the effects on their family that arose because of their employment. Working mothers in the study felt that they were helping to meet the needs of their families by providing financially, but that on occasion their family relationships did suffer as a result of their employment. Many working mothers also felt that they were being good role models for their children (Phillips, D. & Adams, G., 2001). In addition, they felt that they highly valued what time they could spend with their children. Therefore, it is evident that such a role has its positive and negative impact on the child’s development. Although profiling mothers is helpful in researching effects on children, examining both children’s and mothers’ perceptions of the mothers’ employment is also important. A study by Nomaguchi and Milkie (2006) examined whether or not people’s perceptions of their parents was affected by their mother’s employment (or lack thereof) during their childhood. Regardless of hours worked, children of mothers who worked reported less discipline from their mothers than those whose mothers did not work outside the home. Those with working mothers also reported less support and more verbal assaults than those whose mothers did not work (Phillips, D. & Adams, G., 2001).In addition to differences in discipline and support that children receive; maternal employment may also affect school performance. A study by Gennetian, Lopoo, and London (2008) used statistics gathered in a survey of urban mothers to assess how mothers’ working affected adolescents’ school performance and participation in school-related activities. They found that children of stay-at-home mothers were more likely to have above average school performance. Children of working mothers were not more likely to perform poorly in school, but they were less likely to perform above average. Children of employed others were also found to be more likely to skip school than children of non-working mothers (Phillips, D. & Adams, G., 2001).After thoroughly discussing both sides of the spectrum, the studies previously discussed prove that there are positive as well as negative impacts that come with a woman deciding to work and or stay at home. In short, it is possible to be a woman, a mother, and an achiever. Many have done it with help from society, and others have battled endless odds to prove the same. In today’s world, it is desirable upon mothers to be working, like their spouses. In a male-oriented society, one should acknowledge that, contrary to traditional belief that a working mother is not a good mother, a working mother can, in fact, be a better mother. The adverse statement applies to women who choose to stay at home to raise their children. In terms of the child, their upbringing is evidently determined by the mother and how she chooses to raise the child based on the role she decides to take on. Both come with their advantages, and as discussed, it falls upon the woman to make the decision as to which benefits outweigh others for the sake of her child’s development


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