Local News

To Work or Not to Work? The Mother of All Questions

Posted February 28, 1999

— If you are a working mom, there is good news for you. Juggling your career and motherhood appears to have no lasting harm on your young children.

A study out of Massachusetts can give working mothers a clear conscience. The results find that being employed is not going to harm your children.

"That's when I felt guilty, missing school plays and games," said parent Carin Savel-Smith.

She used to work 16 hour days and worried about her son's quality of life. Smith switched jobs to ensure more time with 12-year-old Oliver.

"If I wasn't working, I'd be volunteering. I'd be doing something. That's what makes me a full person, and that's what I contribute to my son," said Smith.

Smith is happy with her decision to continue working, and now, researchers say other mothers should relax too. A long term study by theUniversity of Massachusettsevaluated more than 6,000 12-year-olds.

It found there was no significant harm to children whose mothers worked outside the home when the kids were 3 and 4 years old.

Experts say the results also suggest the quality of parenting is more important than the hours spent away from home.

Kyle Cottrell struggled with the decision to give up her 8 year career in theMarinesto take care of her two children.

"I'm confident what I did is just the right decision for us," said Cottrell.

The stay at home mother says she is encouraged by the study's finding, but she still has no regrets.

"Greg and Jayne have each other as their own best friends, and I think they wouldn't have gotten that outside of being home," said Cottrell.

Experts say the message in this study should be that being at home during the early years or being employed are both good choices.

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