Good News Working Moms: Having a Job Will Benefit Your Kids in the Long Run

If you’re like me, even though you are proud of your career, and enjoy heading into the office (most days), you still harbor some guilt for leaving your little ones at home each day. It gets especially hard when they are big enough to hang onto your leg while looking at you with pleading eyes and begging you to stay.

But new research conducted by Kathleen McGinn, the Cahners-Rabb Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, Mayra Ruiz Castro, a researcher at Harvard Business School and Elizabeth Long Lingo, an embedded practitioner at Mt. Holyoke College, has some promising findings for working mothers.

The group surveyed 13,326 women and 18,152 men from 24 countries and concluded that women whose mothers worked outside the home are more likely to have jobs themselves and more likely to hold supervisory responsibility at those jobs. They are also more likely and earn higher wages than women whose mothers stayed home full time.

Other key findings from the study include:

  • Women raised by working moms had higher incomes than women whose moms stayed at home full time.
  • Men were just as likely to hold supervisory jobs whether or not their moms had worked outside the home. But women raised by working mothers were more likely to supervise others at work.
  • Men whose mothers worked outside the home were more likely to contribute to household chores and spent more time caring for family members.

While these findings don’t make it easier to leave my adorable toddler each morning, it does make me feel like my career in PR will be a good thing for her in the long run. My mother worked outside the home while I was growing up and I can see now that her ability to juggle work, four kids and managing a household, ultimately had a positive impact on me.

To read more about the study, see the Harvard Business School press release here.

Jen Toole
Vice President, Healthcare


Keep in Touch

Want fresh perspective on communications trends & strategy? Sign up for the SHIFT/ahead newsletter.

Ready to shift ahead?

Let's talk