Before you become a mother, you hear a lot about how you’re always going to feel guilty — no matter how much time you do or don’t spend with your kids. Once you become a mom, leaving a child at home is no easy feat. Especially when it comes to returning to work.
In a perfect world, each woman would be able to make the right decision for her own family about whether or not to resume a full-time work schedule. Finances, however, often dictate otherwise. And so moms who would love to stay home and raise their kids are resigned to returning to the workforce.
It’s not all bad news though. At least not according to a recent working paper from the Harvard Business School. The report suggests that, although guilty mom syndrome is a real thing, there’s no actual need to feel guilt if you’re heading back to work. That’s because they’ve found that the daughters of working moms are more likely to become employed, hold supervisory positions and even earn more money than daughters of moms who stayed home to raise the kids.
As for the sons? The report finds that they’re likely to spend more time caring for the other members of their family or doing chores than those whose mothers stayed home.
The results didn’t skew much by location, either. Harvard collected data from 24 countries over the span of 10 years before making their conclusions.
“What I take away is that employed mothers create an environment in which their children’s attitudes on what is appropriate for girls to do and what is appropriate for boys to do is affected,” Kathleen McGinn, a professor at the school and the lead on the paper tells Quartz.
What we take away is that no matter what choice you make for your family, there’s something to be said for that old “monkey see, monkey do” adage after all. And that setting a positive example is always a good idea, whether you’re in the workforce or a stay-at-home mom.
As for feeling guilty about having to leave a child, well that’s just something all moms understand no matter what.