Due to changing trends in the world, many women continue to enter the workforce day and night performing almost similar duties like men. Motivated by a number of factors ranging from social to economic environment surrounding the move has always sparked debates not only among men but also in women who argue against the idea. The debate revolves around working versus those women who stay at home and take care of their families especially children. These concerns explore existence of any effects of working mothers to their children in terms of academic performance in schools and their emotional development which significantly depends on what happens at childhood. Another concern is the possibility of high stress levels faced by working mothers on a daily basis compared to their counterparts at home. This research analysis utilized findings from experts and surveys aimed at unraveling the truth about working mothers.
Who are working mothers? This is a label name which refers to women who have career jobs and responsibilities apart from taking care of their children and husband at home. The number of this type of women has continued to increase not only in the neither United States, nor Europe but all over the world. Even as immense criticism continues to surround the idea of working women, it is of paramount need to focus on some of the factors which contribute to this phenomenon. It is clear that the world is always at a constant change process in terms of social believes, practices and also economic transformation. Many women have opted to join the work a way of enhancing equality with men who believe that women are supposed to be stationed at home and carry out domestic duties (Randall, 2003). The question that ponders the mind of many is whether the notion of working mothers is the only focal point in addressing the issue of gender equality in the society. Is there a better approach? Definitely there are considerable realistic and workable ways of establishing a society that recognizes men and women as equal beings.
Although viewed negatively by some people, many women believe that by joining the work force, there would be significant ease and improvement in meeting the family needs. Sharing of family responsibilities between men and women is by far a very important idea. With increasing global economic hitches, there is every need for every family in the world to establish ways of making ends meet without extreme straining. As a result, working mothers believe that this is the only way of lessening family crisis which may arise from unsatisfied needs and unmet expenses which can be shared between a husband and wife. This sounds human and acceptable but it has lacked taste in a number of men in the world and other women who still advocate for “stay home” mothers in the 21st century.
It is clear that the question of whether women need to be incorporated in the workforce like men still causes controversy. With growing working opportunities for both men and women, it is very normal for girls to go to school, join colleges and universities and secure jobs just like their male counterparts. This is quite commendable. However, the basis of this argument rests on the opportunity cost incurred when women join the workforce. It is believed that working women make inefficient mothers. Although this varies from one person to the other, sociologists argue that there is usually little or no time left for children brought up by working mothers. Additionally, working women experience a lot of stress compared to non working mothers who spent their entire time with their families (Harper & Richards, 1986). This is attributed to overwhelming demands which may arise from work stations and homes. Balancing of time between the two masters, job and family remains a mega challenge among working women in the world.
Statement of problem
According to this research, very little has been done with regard to the effect of working mothers on their children’s emotional development and academic behavior. As a result, the research explores the general impact of working mothers on their children compared to non working women.
- What is the negative impact of a working mother on a child’s academics and emotions?
- What is the positive impact of a working mother on the life of her child?
- What is the impact of non working mothers on their children’s life?
Working mothers has received massive coverage from both individuals and groups of people aimed at unraveling the truth which surround this debate topic. However, many people reckon that the idea is quite open with a wide range of views which may vary from person to person. One of search people who have invested time in sociological research is Elizabeth Perle McKenna. In her 1998 research, McKenna analyses the relationship between work and family as experienced by working women around the globe. She exhaustibly dwells on the issue of work and identity and the dissatisfaction which arises when work does not give intended satisfaction. She argues that many women find themselves ignoring pivotal areas of their lives by devoting their time and concentration to work (McKenna, 1998). This devotion is usually aimed at attaining certain traditional symbols of success like money, challenging jobs and power.
As viewed by McKenna, women entered the workforce massively under terms that were designed by men. They were eager and full of passion of leaving the old fashion of staying at home. They did this like immigrants abandoning their natural habitat and adapting to the workforce designed for and by men to suit their lifestyle and nature. Unfortunately, most if not all working systems have been designed to define men based on what they do and not who they are (McKenna, 1998). This system calls for long working hours in order to gain recognition and reward. This is still the case today even though almost sixty percent of women in the United States belong to the working class. In other words, the workforce does not recognize the nature of women with regard to the diverse responsibilities they have at home. It assumes the fact that women belong at home. McKenna writes this book from a personal experience and recalls moments in her life when she found it hard to balance work with growing family needs until she had to quit her job after having changed career severally.
McKenna admits that women who are unable to quit working find it hard to balance between work and family responsibilities. She poses that although many women want attain success as traditionally defined, it is almost impossible excel career-wise and thrill as a good mother, caregiver and a good wife. She notes that the pursuit of such identity breeds nothing but depression, stress and finally burnout.
This research found out that working mothers have a wide range of impact on their families with special emphasis on their children. Non working mothers have all the time to take care of their families and provide necessary care and love to their young ones. Children born of working mothers experience difficulties during their early stages of development. As young beings, children need enough time from their caregivers who are non other their mothers. In the absence of this care emotional impact is felt which may affect up to the academic capabilities of such children. Working mothers also experience emanating from challenges of time balancing (Peters 1968). On the other hand, working men feel independent and provide families needs including among others, children’s quality food. Both working and non working children may significantly influence the development process of children.
The number of working mothers has continued to rise from about 30% in 1970s to approximately 50% in early 21st century. This has significantly affected the life of many children. (American Academy of Pediatrics, 1999). Children from families with working mothers have emotional depressions with measurable difficulties in their academic life. There is also continuing research on the effect of mothers’ working stress on children. Even as this research continues, the fact is that a child is always hyper sensitive to the emotional status of the mother before and even after birth.
Do children born of working mothers receive sufficient attention and care? When mothers spend almost full of their day time at work, many children less effective especially at school. Since most working mothers maximize their working time when children are in their pre-school, these children show wanting and unappealing results (Cavel, 2001). These children feel some form of emptiness which ends up affecting their class concentration and general performance compared to children whose mothers are not working. It is also important to affirm that a child’s early stages are very important in shaping his character and personality. Children who spend less time with their mothers as a result of work commitments are likely to experience hardships in language development which goes further to affect a child’s academic progress. This is because learning in class mainly depends on communication propagated by language proficiency (Associated Press, 1999).
Working mothers also experience a lot of stress which arise from the inability to balance between work and family needs. These two responsibilities appear to be like two jobs which are being handled by one person at the same time. As a result, these mothers are ever in a hurry to catch up with time and attend to unfinished duties at home and at work place. These mothers end up meeting the needs of the family with very few men willing to share the responsibility (Gershaw, 1988). In the event that a child falls sick, mothers find it difficult to fully attend to the child at the expense of her sleeping job. They also feel stressed over their own lives. Many working women are not willing to give birth. In other words, working continues to rob women off their mothering ability.
Although working mothers have significant negative impact on their children, these mothers also have all the reasons to smile and the need for them to receive recognition. There are positive impacts generated by these mothers with the baseline of it being provision of basic needs, especially food. Many children brought up by working mothers live in considerably good standards compared to those of non working mothers. Working mothers usually have a wide domain of choices in terms of dietary. This ensures good childcare and healthy upbringing (Booth, 2000).
A working mother is also a challenge to her children (Figes, 2001). As the immediate role model, mothers play a mega role in shaping the character of her children. Children admire good character and adorable achievements realized by those people who surround them. Therefore working mothers challenge their children to work hard and experience better achievements compared to what may she has.
In general, working mothers negatively impact their children. This is mainly witnessed in areas of emotional development and academic performance. This is mainly due to the inability to balance between family responsibilities and demands of the job. Stress is also common among working mothers a trend that is significantly low among non working mothers. It should be noted that working is highly encouraged among family members. However, mothers should devote most of their time to taking care of their children. They can take up less demanding jobs especially at tender ages of their children.