Moms who stay home for the first year of their children’s lives might be giving their kids an academic edge, according to a new study reported in the Daily Mail.
But it depends on how much they need the money. Researchers found that for poor families, the additional financial security ends up benefitting children; but for middle- and upper-class families, “early maternal employment was significantly associated with decreases in formal measures of achievement.” In other words, for wealthier families the added financial stability wasn't enough to offset the disadvantages of mom working outside the home.
Despite the negative news about working during the first year of life, researchers from Macalester College in Minnesota and the University of California said that 50 years of research shows that kids of moms who work during the first three years of their lives basically turn out fine.
"Overall, I think this shows women who go back to work soon after they have their children should not be too concerned," said psychologist Rachel Lucas-Thompson, PhD, who analyzed the results of 69 previous studies on working moms. But timing apparently matters – and later is better (if you can afford it). “Children may benefit if mothers are allowed to postpone a return to work until after the first year after birth,” the study says.
The study doesn’t address how fathers’ work affects children.
Moms, what do you think? How has your work affected your kids – for good or bad? Have your say in the comments below.