Next time you're bummed about heading to work for the day, remind yourself of all the ways that your job can actually benefit your little ones.
There are tons of things to stress about as a parent, but should going to work be one of them? Though being a working mother isn't right for every family, there's no reason to feel guilty for continuing to work after having children. In many ways, your job is actually good for your kids. Don't believe it? Here are five ways that being a working mom benefits children of any age.
- Income = Opportunities
Monica Froese, creator of working-mom blog Redefining Mom and writer at Working Moms Against Guilt, says that working mothers can "take comfort in knowing you are providing for your children and doing what's best for you and your family." However, your income may go beyond the basics. By going to work, your family may be able to afford extracurricular activities such as piano lessons or cultural opportunities like international travel, which can expand your child's world view or introduce fun new hobbies that your children may not have discovered otherwise.
- Foster Independence
Of course, you want to do all you can to help your kids, but sometimes letting them do things on their own can be beneficial. Though school-age children still need their parents for many things, you might be surprised at what they are capable of doing for themselves when mom isn't there to save the day. Your kids may need to start their homework, get themselves a healthy snack or do chores without a reminder from you or the nanny. On another level, your kids witness your independence in earning your own income. They see that you are self-reliant, using your skills to support the family.
- Career Advice
Kids get asked all the time what they want to be when they grow up. Though some will answer with "superhero" or "princess," many will look to their working parents as inspiration for future career goals. You're a role model. How you talk about your job and how you handle your stress is how you represent working women. And it all subconsciously shows kids that working hard is part of life. Also, if they see you excited about your job, they might get interested in a subject they otherwise might not have considered. For instance, if your little one sees her mom cheerfully head off to work every day at a science lab, she might consider a job in the science field when she gets older.
- Teach Job Skills
The learning opportunities provided by working mothers don't stop with career knowledge. Holly Hanna of The Work at Home Woman (which was recently named by Forbes as one of the top websites for career moms) says that skills such as professional communication, organization and problem solving will rub off on kids of working moms. "You're teaching them valuable life and career lessons that they can use later in life," Hanna says. Demonstrating how to manage your time, create a budget and follow through with your commitments are valuable skills that will serve your kids well when it's time for them to get to work. You can also be honest with them about challenges you face and how you handle those challenges -- including a project that didn't go so well, maybe, so they can see that everyone can bounce back from mistakes.
- Instill an Appreciation for Work
Let your kids see that you find your work fulfilling. It's very satisfying to use your skills and experience outside the home (and get paid for it). Your kids might see you in another light when they see how much you enjoy your job. Let your kids know why you do what you do and what you like about it, so they can see yet another benefit -- satisfaction -- from a job.
Whether you work at home or in an office, if your child sees you getting excited about your job every day, the enthusiasm for work will be infectious. Hanna adds that working moms get to introduce their children to the business world. "They get to see what it's really like to have a job and/or run a business, learning important skills just by watching and listening," she says. The value of being a role model for your children cannot be understated, and even if their career goals aren't the same as yours, they'll still develop an enthusiasm for work that will serve them later in life.
Amanda Kondolojy is a full-time freelancer, loves trading pins and has more than a decade of caregiving experience.