My daughter will not be less successful because I stay at home

successful just because I stay at home
Do you think she’s successful because her mother worked?

I’m going to try to calm myself down right now. I’m irritated by the latest study I heard about that will just further wedge a divide between moms who work and moms who don’t. A new study by Harvard University claims that children, particularly girls, who have mothers that work will be more likely to work and more successful in their jobs than the children of stay at home moms.

Excuse me?

My daughter will not be less successful just because I stay at home.

What about every other element of a child’s upbringing?

My drive does not stem from the fact that my mother worked, but because of HOW she raised me.

The first question I have is: TO WHAT END? What do they want to gain? Are they trying to worsen the Mommy Wars?

It’s hard enough being a mom without people trying to tell you your choices are wrong!



Article titles like “Harvard Business School study gives thumbs up to working mothers,” and “Having a Working Mother Is Good For You:U.S. Women Benefit, Study from New Harvard Business School Gender Initiative Finds,” are now spreading across the internet, but for what purpose? A study by the Pew Research Center states: “41 percent of adults say the increase in working mothers is bad for society, while just 22 percent say it is good,” as reported in a New York Times piece. Why are we even having this debate? And I really despise the insinuation that it is not good for children if there mother does not work.

Why are they studying this question? Because from the articles I have read and the news story I listened to, my suspicions tell me this is fueled by ulterior motives. But I’m not prepared to take on that argument until I’ve done a little more research. But I will.

[Tweet “Say no to the mommy wars! Whether you work or not, how you RAISE your daughter will determine her success! via @katbiggie”]

I’d like to give you a personal anecdote about why I believe that whether or not the mother works has very little to do with the success rate of a child and why I believe it is the overall work ethic and value system of a family, as well as their societal position that plays a much higher role.

My grandmother raised 11 children. Yes, 11. She never worked a day in her life. Well, the woman worked hard. She raised eleven children. On a farm. There was clearly work to be done. But she did not get up and leave the home and drive into a job.

Of her eleven children, seven of them are girls. Of those seven girls – one is a PhD, one is a nurse practitioner, one runs a farming business with her husband, one is a nurse who decided to leave work to raise her six children, one is an accountant, and one was a successful sales executive before deciding to stay home with her children. The four boys went into computer science and accounting.

Hm. Well, maybe it was the father’s influence in this case? Nope. Grandpa was tragically killed in a plane crash when my mom, the oldest of the children, was 17.

But there are a couple other factors. My grandmother has a very high value system, and being raised on a farm, had a high work ethic. Also, because of grandpa’s death while serving in the Air Force, the kids all got to go to College. Hmmm. Could those types of influence had a larger impact than whether or not grandma worked outside the home?

I haven’t read the study, but I’m sure going to see if education level plays any role in the success level.

Now, let’s go one layer deeper.

So, my mom and her siblings all got married and have had children. Because of the age gap, many of my cousins are still in high school and younger, but of the 40 some of us, most are working. Only 3 of us are stay at home moms. And one of those three actually works as a NICU nurse on the weekends, so she doesn’t count.

In keeping with the study – let’s look at the females.

My mom – worked as long as I can remember. Has four daughters. All of us went to college and have had very successful careers. After my second child was born, I decided to stay home with my kids.

My aunt who farms – all three of her daughters work. One is the NICU nurse.

My aunt who was a nurse and then chose to raise her family. Of her two daughters, one is in medical school to be a doctor and the other is in college, but looking to work in physical therapy.

The nurse practitioner’s daughter is a stay at home mom. But not because she’s not driven, motivated, and couldn’t be the CEO of a company if she wanted, but because she was able to stay home with her children.



The others have boys or their daughters are still at home under age 18.

I think there is a TAD bit more to it than whether or not mommy went to work or not. This isn’t the last you’ll be hearing from me on this topic. I’m going to dig deeper into these studies.

So don’t you tell me that my daughter will be less successful because I stay at home.’

As we preach in our book – you have to do what is best for YOU and YOUR family, not because of what a skewed study says.


Join our fight against the mommy wars and #losethecape

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7 thoughts on “My daughter will not be less successful because I stay at home”

  1. I love this post! And I completely agree with you…whether or not a mom stays home has little bearing on how successful her kids are/will be! It’s what you teach them and how you prepare them for life that matters. I too, think that a study like that is a waste of time to begin with. Awesome post – thanks for sharing!

  2. As a stay at home mom myself, who was also raised by a stay at home mom, this really riled my feathers a bit as I was reading, but do agree in the end that I will not let a study determine how I raise my children at all either.

  3. As with Janine and you, we all do a lot of work! With parenting and with our other things. So our kids are seeing some pretty awesome stuff go down, I think!

  4. My mom stayed at home with us, and I am forever grateful to her for that. I also stay at home, and I’m not worried about my boys. All us moms need to stick together and stick up for each other no matter what we do. Thanks for this post!

  5. Wait. Are you kidding me? This actually happened? Alexa, go read that research and definitely get back to us on this one! How on EARTH are they going to measure 1. A child’s successful career as an adult 2. The specific relevance to that of a working mom versus stay at home and the impact on their kids future jobs? How on earth will they even study such a thing without considering every other aspect of parenting? There is no possible way to eliminate all the other factors and variables that contribute to each and every person’s success. Ridiculous.

    I find it amazing that there is even research being done about something like this… so now the shaming is going to the moms who sacrifice their own careers and choose to stay at home to raise their own children. Huh. Wow.

  6. Hi Alexa. I don’t think you should take the study personal. It was made using data from numerous countries and many many people and the results are an average of the data. Average means it’s likely for most people, not all and not 100% sure. Also it doesn’t say that the employment status causes differences in daughters carreers, as in it is not a causation. The study finds a correlation between the variables that is quite notorious. Meaning that there is a statistically relevant relation that was not the result of chance with a certain level of significance (that is a very small and controlled chance of error).
    The people at Harvard don’t have an agenda of destroying anybody’s lifestyle, but please don’t believe me and read the study yourself.

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