Published January 30, 2019
3 Benefits of Being a Working Parent
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Being a working parent has its benefits.
The life of a working parent isn’t always easy. Family life can sometimes be difficult when dealing with children growing up, as well as the pressures of continuing your career path. However, research has shown there are actually multiple benefits to being a working parent rather than being home full time as a guardian to a child.
For some families, having one stay-at-home parent is just an easier way of making life work. Hiring a nanny or having family members babysit little ones is another option. Being a work-at-home parent, or holding a work-at-home job is another choice parents can make while their children are growing up. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has found that in the last decade, the number of families with children who whose parents both work increased from 21% to 25%.
While families come in all shapes and sizes, as of June 2017, “couple families with children with one parent employed full time and the other part-time were still the most common group at 35%” according to the ABS. Research has also found that there was a corresponding decrease in the percentage of stay-at-home mums in comparison with “the percentage of parent couples with children under 18 years when both partners work is increasing steadily, from 53% in 1996 to 61% in 2016”.
Employers’ attitudes toward gender have shifted over the last decade, allowing families to be more flexible with their maternity leave, and the other little things that can make being a working parent hard. Supervisory responsibility is different for all families. No longer is it up to a stay-at-home mum to complete household chores and keep track of everyone’s schedules. Being a working mother or father can be a reality for you and your family. While it may seem complicated, there are many benefits both for you and your family when you are a working parent.
1. Social Connection
A meaningful benefit, from a working parent’s perspective, is the social interaction that comes from being around co-workers. There are many positive social effects of staying at work while being a parent. Getting out of the house allows you to connect with people your age. Experts from the University of Akron and Penn State University found that interaction with your peers reduces feelings of stress, sadness and worry. Those types of emotions are common among first-time parents and while many work-at-home jobs are a fantastic alternative for a stay-at-home mom or dad who still wants to be present at home, getting out of the house for a while could improve your mental wellbeing.
2. Your Kids Learn Life Skills
Being a working parent teaches your children several life lessons, although this benefit only applies to children when they are past a certain age. When you are not home, your children have to be accountable and learn the value of flexibility. By being encouraged to take care of themselves and complete household chores from a young age, they pick up valuable life skills early and continue to use them throughout their lives. Kathleen McGinn, the Cahners-Rabb Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, conducted a study looking at how children benefit from having a working mum. She concluded that “There are very few things, that we know of, that have such a clear effect on gender inequality as being raised by a working mother.” The research found that in comparison to women whose mums stayed home full time, those who had working mothers in their childhood were more likely to have an increased chance of three things in their future: having a job themselves, holding supervisory responsibility in the position, and earning higher wages. The study also found that when it came to raising boys, men with a working mother are more likely to contribute to household chores and spend more time caring for their family members if they also become a parent.
3. Quality Over Quantity
When you’re getting out of the house more often due to work, not only do your children start seeing the value of you supporting the family, they also begin to value the time you spend at home more highly. The Journal of Marriage and Family found in a 2015 study that kids spend the same amount of time with their mum whether she works or not. However, the difference between working and not working is the quality of time spent together. In having time with your family reduced, they start appreciating their time with you more as you aren’t always home with them. Being together is considered to be ‘quality time’. And not only do your children end up appreciating it more – you will too.
In the 21st century, we have mostly moved on from the stereotype of the mum always being the ‘stay at home parent’. Today household and supervisory roles are divided between all adults in the family and even children when they get to the right age. Being a stay at home parent works for many families, but don’t be afraid to start working again. There are benefits to having a working parent within the family.
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