Thanks to a Working Mom
My sister, Kathy, and I had the only mom in our neighborhood who worked full time. Talk about a role model. My mother, Marilyn Hodge, got up early in the morning to prepare our lunches and often dinner, if she knew she would be getting home late. She would make herself a salad, have a bath, then drive to her job on the other side of town where she was the office manager at Mohawk College.
Mom cooked, cleaned, did all the laundry, transported Kathy and I to swimming lessons and day camp. It was a lot of things for mom to juggle while she constantly held the role of our No. 1 cheerleader. But she made it seem effortless.
One could say the huge tradeoff of having a working mom was my sister and I being Latch Key kids. But things were different back then. Kathy was 8 and I was 5 when we first had a key to our house. We walked together to and from school. We got ourselves ready in the morning and off to school on time. Kathy and I both have the qualities of Latch Key kids with a huge sense of independence, self-reliance and resilience. Studies now show that children of working mothers lead different lives than those with stay-at-home moms.
A study in the journal Work, Employment and Society in April 2018 found that working mothers influenced their daughters’ careers, resulting in better higher paying jobs making about 23% more than daughters of stay-at-home moms. They also advanced higher — 33% of them hold supervisory jobs compared to 25% of daughters with stay-at-home moms. This isn’t just true for the U.S.; 21% of women whose mothers had worked across 25 developed countries got supervisor jobs compared to 18% of daughters with stay-at-home moms.
Working moms also had a positive impact on their sons, who show more empathetic behavior and attitudes. Sons of working moms tend to be more supportive of gender equality and women at the office. Adult sons of working moms also spend twice as much time doing household chores and caring for their kids, and they are especially encouraging of their daughters to excel.
Children model what they see, so those whose moms had careers and who saw their parents sharing household chores were more likely to repeat that pattern.
For some moms, their greatest joy is staying home to raise their children. For others, being a working mom brings personal fulfillment along with a sense of anxiety of the impact on their children. Studies are showing that working moms can relax. Although juggling motherhood with a career is challenging, you are your child’s role model and it appears to be positive for their future success.
I appreciate all my mom did for me growing up. She definitely shaped my view of working women, allowing me to believe I could do anything I set my mind to. Mom is still my biggest cheerleader, and I’m truly grateful for the guidance she gave me throughout my career.
Nancy Peltonen serves as President/CEO with The Greater Palm Bay Chamber of Commerce. She currently serves on committees for the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, Palm Bay Maker Faire Committee, and State Small Business Expo Partner, and still finds time to volunteer with many local organizations and travel the world. Nancy’s accolades include 2017 Community Excellence Award, 2016 Business Acceleration Summit Heart of the Community Award, 2013 Woman of Excellence, 2011 & 2014 Woman of the Year for the American Business Women’s Association Space Coast Express Network.
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