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The "Official" Business Of Parenting The Benefits Of Being A Working Mom

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

A healthy family requires a dynamic that works…quite literally. According to psychologists, while it is truly important for parents to have and spend quality time with their children the emphasis is on quality and “not” time.

Research shows that working mothers may often experience frustration, ambivalence, and “guilt” about leaving their children at home, frequently “unsupervised”. However, this guilt trip, according to statistics is more detrimental than the actual act.

Children are very perceptive, and can tell when a parent is “insecure” about his/her decision, especially when it directly affects the family relationship. In fact psychologists suggest that by feeling guilty we project the guilt, rather than our love, on our children. But many experts stress, that the effects don’t always have to be negative. Working mom’s may in fact make better partners, parents, and be a more positive role model and influence.

Psychologists remind parents, and mothers especially that staying at home may “not” be the best dynamic for your mental health and thus will impede how you react to your child, your family and the world. Watching TV or devoting yourself to housework (in lieu of your child) can be just as “detrimental” to the health of your family as going to work. Experts also stress, that watching TV with your children (after work or throughout the day) does not constitute quality time and equally robs them of important social skills they otherwise need to develop through activities and conversation.

Daughters tend to be especially sensitive to “parenting” guilt and insecurities. However, they are not as “negatively” impacted as what you may think by your decision to work. In fact, a major survey of successful women with successful families (as well as promising careers and a successful sense of balance) revealed that during adolescents, two-thirds of their mothers were independent career women with jobs, friends, and other positive, influential interests outside the home.

Of course that doesn’t give women carte blanche to “neglect” their children, husbands, homes and the responsibilities associated with being wives and mothers. And many experts agree that in many instances family should come first, which frequently does require a significant shift in priorities and schedules.

Still experts note that women can expect to face adversity, especially from their children, who, especially during their teen years are yearning for their time, love and attention. They recommend adjusting your schedule “accordingly” and that each family and personal situation is different. Most of all they suggest teaching your children about achieving goals and following dreams by example: achieving your own goals…and pursuing your own dreams. They also emphasize the need to discuss your decision with your daughters (and sons) and let them know and realize that your choice has nothing to do with “not” loving them. Explain to them that you love them very much…but you also love your job…a job that helps the family do all those extra special things that bond all of you together. Clarify to him/her/them, that your work is part of who you “are” and helps you feel good about yourself so that you can be a better parent and “friend” to them. This honest conversation gives your kids a better understanding of what you do and why you do it, as well as who you “are”, outside of being “just” mom. It helps them see the “real” you. In the long run, loving honesty can bring you closer to your daughters (and sons), more so than guilt and “depriving” yourself will…it will give you both a sense of purpose and autonomy, a sense of self-sufficiency, and it will alleviate any disappointment when you can’t all be together


Long Island Family Life & Parenting Articles > The "Official" Business Of Parenting The Benefits Of Being A Working Mom

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