This article originally appeared in Emily’s Inc.com column, Own It.
Throughout my childhood, the sounds of the shower starting and the blow dryer running as my mom got ready every morning served as my alarm clock. Growing up with a working mom has shaped my work ethic and success-driven nature. I was undoubtedly impacted by my mom’s career journey, starting out in housekeeping at a hospital to eventually the operating room as a surgical technician. I’m sure it sparked my 12-year-old aspirations to take over the neighborhood paper route, and is partially responsible for the fulfillment and joy I’ve found in working ever since.
Now as a mom to two young girls, I face the “mompreneur” struggle many of us deal with: One on hand, you love our work, it’s a part of your identity, and your business needs you to stay afloat. On the other hand, you love being a mom too, have a never-ending list of things to do at home, and worry this time with your little ones will be over in the blink of an eye.
Of course, choosing to stay-at-home or work is a personal choice for women and men. But women face unique challenges when it comes to juggling work and parenting. For moms who do choose to work, we can rest assured, research, including studies by Harvard, find career and motherhood is actually beneficial to our kids. Here’s why:
They are more likely to earn degrees, pursue careers, and make more money
Research shows that daughters of working moms are more likely to earn college degrees, and in turn, are far more likely to work outside the home and pursue upwardly mobile careers rather than jobs with limited potential advancement.
It makes a financial impact too. Daughters of working moms earn about four percent more than their coworkers (and not simply because they’ve achieved a higher level of education–the studies adjust for that.) In the United States, specifically, daughters of working moms earn roughly 23 percent more than their female coworkers.
Kids of working moms mirror their initiative
I have vivid memories of the exciting day I went to work with my mom when I was 9-years-old for “take your daughter to work day.” Now a nationwide initiative called ‘Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day,” the program started in the early 1990s to encourage parents to expose their daughters to the workplace. And for good reason. Research shows kids look up to their working moms as strong role models and emulate their ambition. It doesn’t just impact their actions in the workplace, either. Research also finds that kids of working moms are more engaged in other areas of life as well. One study found the sons of working moms to be more helpful around the house and more attentive caregivers to their siblings.
They have confidence and are more open to risk-taking
Sons and daughters who witness their mother advancing professionally and commanding respect in the workplace are likely to have a higher self-esteem. They learn that, like mom, they have worthwhile skills and can make a valuable contribution to society.
This confidence can help them advance in their careers, seek growth opportunities, and take more risks associated with starting a business or entrepreneurial endeavors.
The studies referenced in this article were conducted by researchers at Harvard Business School. Overall, they concluded that daughters ages 14 and younger whose mothers worked outside the home for any length of time during period were likely to be more academically and professionally successful adults. Sons of working moms were more likely to step up and contribute domestically. Their future spouses will thank you for that.