At the NYT’s Motherlode blog, Lisa Belkin is reporting a follow up to a study that came out several years ago reporting that the children of working mothers were “cognitively delayed” compared to those of stay-at-home moms. Five years on, those same researchers followed those same kids and found those slight delays in some areas were outweighed by benefits in others, meaning that â€œthe overall effect of first-year maternal employment on child development is neutral.â€ (No word on whether the mothers of the study continued working in the face of those initial findings.) Study authors were pleased by the positive message of their conclusions: “We can say now, from this study, what we couldn’t say before: There’s a slight risk, and here’s the three things that you, Mom, can do to make a difference,” Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, the lead author, told the Washington Post. The three things? Make more money, be more responsive than stay-at home mothers and find high-quality childcare.
But even now that the path to going back to work during your baby’s first year is paved by such an easy-to-achieve checklist (ahem), at least one Motherlode is still suffering self doubt. Read about it on Slate’s XXFactor blog.
I work outside of the home and feel no need to justify that choice. If that has caused my son to be less advanced than he is (straight A’s with very tough teachers), that may be for the best because I’m not prepared to be mom to Doogie Howser. Those studies are inane.