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How part-time employment benefits mothers and children

“Working Moms” vs. “Stay-at-Home Moms”.  Can we all just agree that those are nonsense titles for both groups of women? Why?  ALL moms work.

These Mommy Wars have got to stop.  And thanks for Hilary Rosen and Ann Romney, we are all back in the same boxing ring.  This blog writer has hit this whole thing right on the head.

         

Is it just me or do both of these women look alike?  (When I was little and first immigrated to the US, I thought all white people looked alike.  You know, just like how people think all Asians look alike?  LOL  :) )  Sisters.  They are probably more alike than they are different.

This whole bit of silliness is just a non-issue that the media has stirred up.  Want proof?

1- Hilary said clumsily that Ann Romney “never worked a day in her life.”  Hilary then had to clarify her “poorly chosen” words.

2- Then Ann answered this as ” …an early birthday present for someone to be critical of me as a mother…”.  Ann then had to clarify her own controversial “birthday” boon.

3- Then the Dems and President had to issue statements to denounce Hilary and the GOPs jumped in with their statements, but you can now also get a Made-in-the-USA travel mug to prove it!

It must be election season, which seems to last 3 years….  So where do I want to go with all this???  No, not politics.  I’ve been looking for research that I had read (but neglected to file), and I finally found it.  (This post has been almost 2 years in the making trying to find that research!)  When I had quit my corporate career to have babies and raise them, I immediately did what most soon-to-be moms did:  I read lots of books such as how to get them to sleep, what happens in each trimester, the pluses and minuses of Baby Einstein videos and classical music in the womb …

Then I read a research report summary in the USA Today that in effect said:  children of mothers who were employed outside the home viewed them as more competent in the traditional masculine jobs than children of housewives.  Moreover, these girls performed better academically and had greater success in their careers.

What???  And here I’ve been lucky enough to make the decision to stay at home on my husband’s income to start our family and raise our children and to find out that my efforts may make my children view me as less competentI am the one who entered the marriage with more tools than my husband.  I had my own tool box with a cordless drill.  He doesn’t even pre-drill, for goodness sakes!  He didn’t even own a leveler or stud finder.  (Insert your own “find a stud” joke here :)) Or hammer.  I better stop before I emasculate him any further, which I don’t mean to do, but as I tell my children:  we all have our own strengths and interests.

Here’s what the research showed in a nutshell.  Before you jump to conclusions, bear in mind that the research only showed overall picture and there are exceptions to everything.  Every family is different as is every child.  I’m going to focus on the daughter and mom, because my business motto is “Putting Women in Business” after all, but overall:

  • Whether or not the mom was employed had a bigger effect on daughters than sons.  Sons of full-time homemakers did not view their moms as any less competent then sons of working moms.  But daughters are a different story!  Daughters of employed moms were more likely to view their working mom as more competent than daughters of full-time mothers.
  • Mother’s employment status mainly has positive effects on both boys and girls.  Whether married or single, when moms are employed, girls view moms as more competent and therefore they have a higher sense of self and ability which translates to more independence, asking more questions, being more comfortable in leadership roles, and having higher academic performance and test scores.
  • Mom’s employment also increased mom’s overall well-being due to social/professional support, increased perception of control of their lives, and ability to earn a wage.  This overall well-being in employed mothers resulted in an authoritative parenting style over two other parenting styles (permissive and authoritarian), which meant kids were less likely to act out or have behavioral problems.
  • When mom works, dad participates more in household and child rearing tasks.  The dad’s increased involvement in the home and children meant that kids had less traditional views of the “male”/ “female” roles/activities in the home.  His involvement increased the impact that employed mothers had a daughters even more so.
  • So it boils down to mom’s employment – whether full-time, part-time, or at home.  Employment benefited the mom, the children (the biggest impact on the daughter) and the family. 

So what about me and my choice to stay home and raise my kids?  Did I screw myself by giving up that career, the earnings, the sense of self only to have my daughter think that I’m not as competent?  Will she view all full-time moms without a paid job as less competent?

The research results seems to suggest that in order for children to view their moms as competent, mothers had to be working.  But since I chose to stay home and raise them, how do I show them this?  For little kids, “work” usually means seeing a parent getting dressed in a suit, uniform, or work clothes of some sort and heading out because mommy has to “go to work”.  Just like it’s drilled into them when Daddies do this on a daily basis and they hear “Bye!  Have a great day at work” or “Daddy is going to work”.  They know Daddy is working.  Full-time moms?  She does everything but it’s never said that “Mommy’s going to work”.  So to me, I think verbiage has some role in forming that mindset as well.  But since I chose not to have a paid job outside the home, I figured that I could show my kids my competency, by working at home – paid or unpaid.  Whatever that needed to be done that I could do, I would do and let them see me doing it.   I would use the verbiage as well.  So when I did things, I put a name to it.

"What are you doing up there on that ladder Mommy?"
Me: "Just working honey. I'm painting the walls so they look nice."

"What are you putting in the walls Mommy?"
Me: "Oh, I'm just getting some work done. I'm installing these finials to hold up the curtain that I sewed. It blocks out the sun and keeps Noah's room cool."

"Mommy, why are you putting those up?!?"
Me: "It's quite a bit of work punkin' but I put these shelves and drawers up so I can organize my clothes better."

And interestingly, there is a slew of research survey findings that say that more and more women would prefer to work part-time rather than full-time.

Given the reality of finding part-time work, it’s no wonder that only 1/4 of all women can work part-time.  I’ve long said that part-time work is a fallacy.  We all know how the woman in the office who works only part-time for 3 days a week is viewed.  We also all know how her office peers begin to rely less on her because she’s only there for 3 days a week.  This scenario is not a good long-term situation for anyone.

I am not presenting an argument for work outside the home or work inside the home.  Both have value and are valued differently by all women.  Those who are lucky enough to have the choice not to have paid outside work and can subsist on one income, like me, can make that choice.  Even if one can afford to subsist on one income, if a woman wants to continue her career, then I support that as well.  I really believe that if moms (and dads) are fulfilled, then that is what is good for the family and child(ren).

But in having made my decision to raise my kids and upon reading this research, I really wanted both my daughter and sons to see value in work, in overcoming challenges, in breaking a sweat.  Aside from whatever work that needed to be done, I decided to start my own home business that was flexible so I could raise my 3 kids.  I have found that even though my first few businesses were unsuccessful, it gave me an outlet to do something creative.  Fast forward 11 years later, I have a thriving business that I truly love because of my customers who I consider to be my peers (though virtual).  I get that social and professional support.  And I find that by supporting other women by promoting their businesses on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or via my Sellers list, I get that back in spades.  I have dear customers who convo me (Etsy’s email feature) from time-to-time just to say hi and check in on me, my kids, or my grandma.  How blessed am I???   Very.  Very.

And in the midst of all this dervish activity of keeping the house, raising kids, and doing all the work are 3 kids who have heard and seen me work.  Whether I was paid or unpaid was – and is – irrelevant to them.  I still get dressed every day for work Monday – Friday and they see that.  (Getting dressed, doing the hair and makeup helps to put me into that mindset as well.)  They also helped me out when I needed to do my daily post office runs.  They helped carried the packages and let me tell you, my local USPS folks new my kids very well.  They, too, got into the habit of saying “Are you guys helping Mommy work today?”

It’s hard to believe that my businesses started based on reading this research over 10 years ago!  Much like you when you are done making that clutch, I take a lot of pride in my work and derive a lot of satisfaction from it.  That is why the motto has never been “Selling purse frames, one at a time”.  That doesn’t sound bad but my aim has been to help other women derive satisfaction and joy in finding a skill they can do.  There are untold women who have skills but can’t find a job or know what business to open.  Many businesses require a lot of capital and banks are tighter than the corset on Dita Von Teese!  So while I didn’t change the world or even nudged it by a little, I hope that my work in putting many women (maybe even you!) to work has benefited them, their children, and their families.

Whether you make some side income making clutches or doing another skill or craft, how have you found part-time work of benefit either to you or your family?

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April 23, 2012 - Posted by | Winn's General Updates | , , , , , , , , , , ,

8 Comments »

  1. [...] you all know I support and honor women.  Whether you are a mom yourself, or yet to be, or are perfectly content with being aunty, this [...]

    Pingback by Mother’s Day clutches « Clutch-Me.Com | May 7, 2012 | Reply

  2. I think what is right for one person is not going to be right for everyone. When did we lose such a tolerance for doing things differently?! I hope it/when I have children I can find a great balance between being a mum and continuing my interests and work passions – all very interesting reading here (great role models talking!)

    http://www.styleonthecouch.com

    Comment by styleonthecouch | May 5, 2012 | Reply

    • I know, right? Quite ridiculous in my view. I have no doubt that you’ll find that balance of raising children and continue in your other passions. Isn’t that research interesting?

      Comment by Winn | May 6, 2012 | Reply

  3. [...] How part-time employment benefits mothers and children (clutch-me.com) Cancel reply [...]

    Pingback by Good Part Time Jobs for Moms | April 25, 2012 | Reply

  4. I’ve had mixed employment as well. When my kids were small I was home with them full time and doing some babysitting, sewing, and giving sewing lessons to help with the income. Then, for a couple of years, when they were pre-school aged, I went to work outside of the home, with my kids in daycare…not my favorite option, but I was going stir crazy at home (we had only one vehicle until I went back to work, so I felt stuck).

    I did a couple of years of bank and credit counseling work before I was blessed to get a job teaching at the private school my children started attending. A teaching schedule was great because I was home whenever the kids were.

    After teaching for four years, we decided to home school our kids, so I was back home with them again. These home schooling years were amazing for so many reasons, and I’m so grateful that we were able to let me be home to share the junior high and high school years with my kids in such an involved way. I have a very close relationship with my kids, that I think would not be quite the same if we hadn’t had some much time together.

    Now, after so many years of being a homemaker, I am loathed to enter the general workforce even though the kids are in college and don’t need me around as much. Instead, I found a way, through my craft, to be able to continue being a full time homemaker and be building a business that, hopefully, will one day bring in some extra income. For now, it does provide a real sense of fulfillment, and helps to keep me busy now that the house is so quiet during the day!

    Comment by HMDDesigns | April 23, 2012 | Reply

    • Thanks Malaika for the insight. I am astonished at mothers who can home-school their kids. Where on Earth did you find your patience? I’ve been praying to God to give me patience since I was in high school (eons ago) and he answered by giving me my 3 kids to learn about patience. I should have asked numbers to the lotto or something … hehehe. I am quite happy to hear that building a business gives you fulfillment. That’s a really good description! And as far as re-entering the general workforce, I totally hear you since I’ve been out of the corporate culture for more than a decade now, which makes the young-uns view me like a retiree! Re-entering the workforce sounds just about as fun as re-entering the singles club scene at my age! Well … both may require some drinking to make it fun. Just kidding … LOL.

      Comment by Winn | April 23, 2012 | Reply

  5. I have been in all different situations and just loved each and every one for different reasons.
    Loved being a stay at home mom – really do feel this the most important job, but unfortunately not an option for a lot of families where two full time incomes make it a necessity not a choice for mom to work full time – then come home and work full time there as well! If you are able to hire help, great, but not an option for most women – most the housework falls on the shoulders of the mom.
    Loved being a full time working mom, as an interior decorator once my youngest went to middle school, but worried constantly that I wasn’t home when the school day ended. I had a great flexible schedule – not an option for most working moms.
    Now all three are successful adults, all college graduates, one a professor, one a chef and one after working for several years in the workforce now working on another degree. I truly believe they are the well-rounded adults because I was there to mold them into what they are, not a day care, not a babysitter, ME.
    Now I’m in the perfect situation, I work at home, creating and selling clutches (I get the amazing frames right here from whilebabynaps.etsy.com) and enjoying great success I might add at cutiegirlie.etsy.com

    Comment by Jennifer | April 23, 2012 | Reply

    • Wow, Jen! That’s amazing that you have found joy in each situation. There’s nothing more gratifying than having grown children who are happy and healthy, right? One day, I’ll get there. I have one question, do you ever stop worrying about your children? LOL. If I had known how much I would worry about them and their well-being all the time, I’m not sure I would have had them! I’m only kidding, but they do take a lot of my mental space… :)

      Comment by Winn | April 23, 2012 | Reply


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