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All the ways girls benefit from having a working mom

“It was an inspiration to me that my mother worked. I have huge respect for her.”

All the ways girls benefit from having a working mom

Most women in the U.S. work outside the home, including 71% of mothers with children ages 18 and under.


Despite this fact, 60% of U.S. adults believe a child fares better with one parent at home. But when I talked to grown-up children who were raised by working mothers, I heard a different story.

According to them, their mothers prepared them well for successful, well-rounded adult lives. This was especially true for daughters.

I’m a working mother who raised two children, one of whom is now a working mother herself, so I know we often feel guilty. But when I interviewed scores of grown children and working mothers, and surveyed more than 1,000 people ages 23 to 44, I learned that there’s no need to feel guilt.

Another validation for working mothers is a recent Harvard Business School study that found that women whose mothers worked earn 23% more than women whose mothers didn’t. And men whose mothers worked spent more time helping out at home. The researchers stated that growing up with a working mother is an ideal way to narrow the gender gap.

The research I conducted was for my book, My Mother, My Mentor: What Grown Children of Working Mothers Want You to Know. It showed definitively that many daughters benefit from having a working mother.

Here are 5 big ways that daughters benefit from having moms who work:

Inspiration

“It was an inspiration to me that my mother worked. I have huge respect for her,” recalled one daughter.

I found that working mothers have a special impact on their daughters. In my survey, more than half (53%) of daughters strongly agreed they were proud of their working mothers.

An interesting statistic: Another 20% of the daughters said they’d never even thought about their mothers working, because the fact that they worked was just a normal part of life.

Strong work ethic

Grown children of working mothers, both sons and daughters, said things like, “My mother never preached to us, but she taught us the importance of having a strong work ethic by demonstrating it every day.”

The survey results showed that while growing up, children tend to respect and appreciate the work their mothers do at home and on the job.

Fifty percent of the daughters said their working mother had been very helpful in instilling a strong work ethic, versus 32% of daughters whose mothers stayed at home.

Resilience

The working mothers I interviewed talked about their desire to give their children the skills to weather problems and difficult situations.

As one mother said of her daughter, “I wanted her to be able to handle anything that comes her way. I wanted her to be resilient. You never know what is going to happen.”

Working mothers seemed to feel more strongly about resilience than mothers who stayed at home: Forty-seven percent of the daughters with working mothers strongly agreed their mothers had taught them resilience, as opposed to 35% of the daughters whose mothers stayed at home.

Independence

“Mom was less involved, and since my sister and I were not micromanaged, we became more independent,” one adult daughter told me.

That independence doesn’t come only from the fact that a working mother isn’t around all the time: The adult children I talked to said that their working mothers encouraged independence. As a result, 56% of daughters of working mothers said their mothers had been very helpful in teaching them to be independent, compared to 35% of daughters whose mothers stayed at home.

A first and lifelong mentor

One adult daughter said her mother had become an even more valuable mentor as she got older: “Through all of my job searches and the setback of being laid off, [my mother] keeps telling me she has experienced these personally. She is more supportive now than she ever has been.”

In the survey, 35% of daughters said their working mothers were very helpful in providing a sounding board, versus 24% of daughters whose mothers stayed at home.

It’s about choice

Whether a woman works or not is a personal choice. But if she works, she shouldn’t be worried about the impact on her children.

Working mothers are doing a great job preparing their children for life. For daughters especially, a working mother is an original role model. Rather than feel guilty, working mothers should feel proud of themselves, because certainly the children are proud of their mothers.

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Pamela F. Lenehan was one of the first female partners on Wall Street, a former C-suite executive of an NYSE company and a high-tech startup. An avid believer in the power of women to lead as well as parent, she serves on the boards of three publicly traded firms, and is also the author of What You Don’t Know and Your Boss Won’t Tell You: Advice from Senior Female Executives on What You Need to Succeed. Her newest book is My Mother, My Mentor: What Grown Children of Working Mothers Want You to Know.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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