Written by Edel Cayetano , as originally posted on Blog Watch, Philippine Online Chronicles.

“A mommy can work and be a mommy too.”

This is what working moms try to tell their kids (and themselves) as they struggle to strike a balance between family life and keeping a career. As a working mom, albeit a first timer, I am still getting acquainted with the changes in my young family’s life and mine, and I tell you: it is not easy at all. Because of this, I have also asked myself whether it is best to transition from being a career woman to a full-time, stay-at-home mom for the sake of my child, and of course, my family.

Experts, however, would disagree with this option. According to the New York Times magazine, quitting your job to be a full-time mom is probably a bad idea. “Women are finding out the hard way that by opting out of their careers at the height of earning power, they’re opting in to a host of unexpected frustrations,” says Erin Gloria Ray of the said magazine. These frustrations include “relying on two completely unreliable entities – a high-earning spouse and the economy,” the risk of starting all over again should you decide to return to the workforce, and increased levels of stress and chances of depression. Feeling regret and wondering where one’s career could have gone are also eminent among those wanting to opt back in.

“Working mothers are happier and healthier than stay-at-home moms”

According to the American Psychological Association, working mothers are happier and healthier than their non-working counterparts. “Employment helps women and their families,” says Cheryl Buehler, a professor of human development and family studies at the University of Carolina, through Time magazine. At the core of Buehler’s study is this: get a job, whether full-time or part-time.

Here are seven ways part-time or full-time work benefits mothers according to Michelle Larowe of Your Tango:

  1. It allows moms to live out their purpose. Every woman is meant for something special, and for many women, this extends beyond being a mother. Passions, talents and interests often guide a woman’s career path and choices, and if these are left unfulfilled, mothers may feel unsatisfied and even resentful.
  2. It gives moms financial control. As valued financial contributors, working mothers aren’t forced to rely solely on the income of their spouses and feel confident in their right to make financial decisions for their family.
  3. It helps moms maintain their identities. Being a mother doesn’t exclude moms from being their own unique individual, and one way to maintain and nurture their sense of self is to have a career. Also, as children grow up and discover they are separate beings from their mothers, this becomes even more vital. “Mothers who don’t have their own identity may have a hard time separating and letting their child grow,” as Your Tango says.
  4. It allows moms to build and maintain social connections. Even though being a mother is filled with busy days and constant companionship, many mothers experience loneliness and isolation. With this, being able to build and maintain social connections could be a sanity saver.
  5. It gives moms a sense of independence. “Working full-time can put a woman in the driver’s seat of her life.” She also has a sense of self-sufficiency and self-reliance.
  6. It forces moms to require more of their spouses. Being a working mom allows cultivating a more involved role for spouses and dads while having a dual-income family.
  7. It gives moms the opportunity to be a special role model for their children. Working moms set the bar for having a solid work ethic, and they also teach their children the value of prioritizing, decision-making and sacrifice.

Watch out for the second part of this feature: survival tips on how to be a happy, healthy working mom

*“Mother and daughter” by Andrea Gutierrez c/o Flickr. Some rights reserved. 

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