So working mothers do NOT harm their children - stuff you (again) Oliver James

(321 Posts)
LadyBiscuit Sun 01-Aug-10 20:46:57

A very comprehensive study (most comprehensive ever apparently) has been done which shows that mothers who work don't disadvantage their children. It does show that working under 30 hours a week is better for babies but that working per se can actually give children some advantages.

Hurrah

Articles: Torygraph
Grauniad
Washington Post

TheOldestCat Sun 01-Aug-10 20:48:04

Hurrah indeed!

TheOldestCat Sun 01-Aug-10 20:49:11

It cheered me up no end after my usual working-mother thick skin took a bashing when I was subjected to the old 'leaving your children to be brought up by strangers' line on Friday. Sigh.

Monkeytrousers Mon 02-Aug-10 09:05:04

oliver james - for example - is a daft twat

always has been

LadyBiscuit Mon 02-Aug-10 09:21:15

I heard the author of the report and a woman from Mums at Home or something on Today this morning - the woman from Mums at Home said that 3/4 of women don't want to go back to work. I was in the 1/4 that did - really wanted to do something other than nappies

cockles Mon 02-Aug-10 09:27:45

Wouldn't it be nice if just sometimes these pieces considered that even if mums do go back to work dad or partner might be looking after the child? doesn't that make any difference? Am sick of seeing this portrayed as a 'mothers at work' problem!

Lovecat Mon 02-Aug-10 10:26:50

Yes, DH was most miffed when that was the headline on the cover of yesterday's Observer - it's like Fathers don't exist or something...

LolaKnickers Mon 02-Aug-10 13:06:57

I always smile sweetly at people who suggest I shouldn't go to work and say that as the mother of a daughter, I want to set her a good example and not bring her up to think that men go out to work and women cook and clean. Agree with ladybiscuit - i too am in that 1/4.

BaggedandTagged Mon 02-Aug-10 13:11:55

God- I am so bored of these "studies". You can show whatever you want to show depending on what you take into account.

What no-one has any way of proving is the outcome for any individual child if a different decision had been made for that child- i.e. there is no control. Child A may be better off if it's mother works, depensing on factors completely unique to that family, whereas Child B may not be

All these studies do is guilt trip women for their parenting decisions.

lenak Mon 02-Aug-10 13:14:55

I was definitely in that 1/4 - if I hadn't gone back to work when I did I would have seriously gone stir-crazy and probably sunk into depression which wouldn't have been any good for my DD at all.

I adore my DD, but I honestly could not stand the thought of being a SAHM - even if we could have afforded it.

My DH on the other hand would love to be a SAHD.

HappyMummyOfOne Mon 02-Aug-10 13:15:23

Lola, thats one of the reasons I carried on working as well. I dont want DS to grow up thinking he has to work all hours so that his wife can stay home. I want him to see that his wife has choices and can combine work and children. I also didnt feel comfortable in making DH the only earner and I also can choose to return full time or move jobs when DS leaves home should I wish.

He'll hopefully grow up with a great work ethic and benefit from the opportunities we are able to provide him through both working.

Given he's at school all day, there is only a few hours a week he actually doesnt see us - far less than those who use regular sitters, send kids to grans etc.

UnquietDad Mon 02-Aug-10 13:15:42

Fathers never exist in the media unless they are doing something bad. It suits their anti-male agenda.

harassedinhants Mon 02-Aug-10 13:16:33

I'm sure the children are just fine..... it's us parents that suffer the guilt!!

Sooo fed up with these studies. Next week they'll be telling us the opposite.

Who funds these "studies"???

CDMforever Mon 02-Aug-10 13:21:46

harassed, you are sooooooooo right! I've been a SAHM for almost 4 years now and always felt although its probably the hardest darn thing I've ever done that it will be beneficial to the chn. I've also felt that I wouldnt be able to deal with the guilty factor of working when they are little. This new study doesn't make me feel great about my decision but I expect there'll be another report out soon that will!

TheMysticMasseuse Mon 02-Aug-10 13:24:01

Happy mum= happy baby.

I could have told them that

(ok ok so i know this is hugely simplistic and how do you define happy anyway, but but but but.... you get it)

BelleDameSansMerci Mon 02-Aug-10 13:25:37

I love the line about 3/4 of women not wanting to go to work. I didn't want to go to work before I had DD! I'd much rather be independently wealthy and swan around doing lunch and shopping...

More seriously, this is good for those of us who either want to or have to work. I have to but I would go to work even if I did have a partner and had the option of being a SAHM. I'm very aware that my DD is getting a lot more from her nursery than I could ever give her.

sarah293 Mon 02-Aug-10 13:26:17

Message withdrawn

FunnyLittleFrog Mon 02-Aug-10 13:27:41

Another one here in that 1/4 - I love being with DD but by the time she was 9 months old I really needed something else in my life again. A good mother surely has to be a happy one.

Also, like others on here, I don't think I could expect DH to work every minute of his life to support us all and never see his family. I have a good friend who is by choice a SAHM. Her husband works 60+ hours a week plus frequent trips abroad, and never sees his kids. He is always stressed and tired.

I'm probably in all three groups. Really wanted to go back after DS, really didn't want to (but had to) after DD, will probably have the opportunity not to go back (if that's still what I want) after DC3. Both children so far are happy and well-adjusted (although I may yet spectacularly screw up DC3, I suppose).

I think sometimes that there's an anti-everyone agenda, though, UQD. Mothers who work outside the home are selfish career women who should never have had children while mothers who don't work outside the home are setting bad examples to their children and sponging off men. Men who stay at home are at least sometimes saints (although admittedly sometimes they are weirdos because it's just not natural, is it?) and men who got out to work are at least sometimes dedicated breadwinners providing for their families (although sometimes they are obsessive workaholics who are detached from their children's lives). Sigh.

And actually yes -- IIRC that "75% of women don't want to work" figure was in response to a question "if money weren't an issue [i.e. assume you had plenty of money without working], would you choose to go to work" or something like that. Which is a very different question from "were you unwilling to go back to work after you had children?".

Druzhok Mon 02-Aug-10 13:36:41

I think there is nothing surprising in the 'finding' that achieving a balanced life for all family members is positive.

I really didn't want to go back to work. I felt so awful and resentful at the time, and I still feel that I somehow betray my young children whenever I leave them: they both shared this opinion, although DS is much happier now that he's nearly 5. My DD was incredibly distressed as I set off for work this morning, although DH (off work atm) assured me she was happy again within a few minutes. So that can be shite shite shite.

However, my life is very balanced (3 days enjoyable work within office hours, 2 days with both my children as sole carer, then 2 days with DH added in to the mix) - and I'm pretty satisfied with it. I get lots of quality time with my children (I do little else when I'm not in work) and I get to use my brain and talk to grown ups (plus use the lavatory in peace) for 21 hours a week. Bonza.

I think my children would have rather I stayed at home with them, but I'm --utterly crap-- not that great at sustaining Happy Mummy through prolonged periods of caring for them. I get tired, I feel resentful, I am snappy, I run out of enthusiasm; it's not a pretty sight and I don't think the children have a good time when I'm like that.

As long as you find good childcare and keep the hours reasonable, most children cope well. My kids do all kind of creative stuff that I would never dream of and the staff are far more patient and calm than I am.

I still envy SAHM, though. I will always feel guilty for putting babies into childcare when they were 9 months old.

theyoungvisiter Mon 02-Aug-10 13:37:14

I think the "3/4 of women don't want to return to work" is probably true, but also probably too simplistic.

Given the choice, I would probably not have returned to work after DS1. Yet after the first couple of months I was very glad to have done it.

I'm sure if you ask women on their first day back to work you probably do get a lot of tears and angst. But 1, 2 or even 5 years down the line, you might get a very different response.

I don't think this report in any way gives the definitive answer - but if nothing else, it's nice to see acknowledgement of the fact that it's rarely a straight choice between full-time mother or full-time nursery. There are so many shades in between, not least shared care between parents, part time work, etc etc.

Druzhok Mon 02-Aug-10 13:38:31

Agree re the 75% not wanting to go back to work: if I didn't have to, I wouldn't have.

I might even have bought a bit of childcare at some stage ...

theyoungvisiter Mon 02-Aug-10 13:39:51

And prof layton's point is good.

let's face it - if you asked NON-parents if they would like to give up work if money weren't an issue, you'd probably get 75% of them saying they'd like to stay home too!

Many people work to pay the bills rather than for the high octane joy of tapping keys all day - is that really such a surprise, kids or no kids?

eagerbeagle Mon 02-Aug-10 13:51:05

I do despair at the comments below the line on the Guardian website though.

It seems that women can never win and are bombarded with vitriol no matter what they do. It saddens me so much when all of the mums I know, full-time/part-time/SAH or whatever ALL put their kids first and ALL love their kids to bits. Heaven forbid any mum can just be trusted to do the best for her and her child.

I often seem to meet the attitude that its only ok to work if its for "essentials" and you "need" to to keep your roof there and not just because its quite nice actually being independently financially secure and having a challenging and rewarding job which fulfills you as a person and you actually enjoy. No one has ever asked my husband if he feels guilty going to work, no one has asked how he copes being away from DH or implied he is a bad parent for working. Its happened to me a bunch of times - which is just lovely.

And you know what if that challenging and rewarding job which fulfills you as a person and you actually enjoy is being at home with the kids full time well that's great too. It can be hard work, without thanks most of the time and an important job to do.

rant over I just wish we would stop beating each other over the head and acknowledge that there is no one size fits all right answer.

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