One of the most difficult issues debated among women in their twenties and thirties is the ideal time to have children. There are some obvious cons with being a mother with a career, such as potential workplace prejudice, being unable to be around one’s children as much as they’d like, less flexibility in family plans, and dealing with the financial strain of hiring caregivers when you’re inaccessible.
In fact, many women take a hiatus from the professional landscape after having children in order to give more attention to their growing families.
However, many people in this debate fail to consider some of the very positive consequences of working throughout motherhood.
While the quality time spent with one’s family cannot be measured like income and the hours of a work week, it is important to consider some of the very positive ways that working throughout motherhood influences a family’s well-being.
Improve your family’s time together
Unless you’re exceptionally well-to-do, having another family member bringing in a paycheck can make an enormous impact on the quality of life that your family enjoys. This is especially true as a single mother, in which making it by without working is next to impossible. While it can feel like you’re leaving your children to work for selfish reasons, the truth is that working throughout motherhood makes you a provider – and the hours that you put in each day are for the good of your family, making your professional success intrinsically connected with your duties as a mother.
Being the bread winner of your family might keep you away from your family, but it is far from abandoning them. It can even improve the time you have with them by increasing your resources and allowing your family to appreciate moments together more attentively. In fact, in an article by Gay Gaddis of Forbes, she recounted her own daughter’s retelling of her childhood: “I did miss mom a lot, she wasn’t always there for me. However, when she was with me she was all-in and I always knew how much she loved me.”
Teach positive values to your children
While there is some legitimacy in wanting to be with one’s children instead of pursuing a career, a lot of this guilt and anxiety is attributable to the stigma that we grew up with: mothers should be home taking care of children. Working throughout motherhood can be difficult, but it doesn’t need to be burdened with guilt when it’s for the good of one’s family. Instead of being worried or ashamed about pursuing a career, use it as a teachable aspect of your family life.
The fact of 21st century life is that a stay-at-home motherhood is becoming increasingly unlikely. By providing a role model of work ethic and professional responsibility, you’ll be encouraging your children to consider the importance of work in relation to the well-being of your family. Most importantly, you’ll be defeating pointless ostracism in future generations by demonstrating how your work is just as crucial to your family’s wellness as being there physically to emotionally support them.
But isn’t it preferable to stay at home during motherhood?
For many, it can be very much preferable to have the opportunity to stay home to rear one’s children. But is it a realistic desire, and does it appreciate the importance of work to a family? For those with the resources to stay home during motherhood, it is highly preferred. However, it’s always important to remember that it is the quantity of time spent with your family that counts.
As long as you have time to emotionally connect with your family and share a bond, a career doesn’t ever have to get in the way of a successful, loving family.
Amanda Jensen is a mother with a newborn of two months and an upstart author. She currently writes in support of AAMI life. You can find Amanda on Twitter @AmandaJensen8.