Many working mothers do an excellent job of balancing home and office responsibilities.

Can Working Women Be Good Mothers?

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr

Working mothers are the primary breadwinners in 40 percent of U.S. families, according to a May 29, 2013 Pew Research report. That’s up from 11 percent in 1960. With so many moms in the work force, it’s amazing that many individuals wonder if working moms can be good parents. The answer is absolutely affirmative, according to Michele Weldon, CNN guest author and journalism professor at Northwestern University, but balancing your needs, your family’s needs and work is required.


Weldon feels that it’s a matter of balancing your roles as mother, wife, career woman and whatever other hat you wear, such as daughter and friend. She says it’s foolish to think that moms can only manage one role at a time, and notes that no one seems to ask that question about dads. Getting help at home makes it easier to balance your roles at home, and you can start training your kids to help out early with tasks such as setting the table and helping to sort laundry. Dads can and do help out at home notes the “The Working Mother Report,” and are doing so in greater numbers than before.


Both Weldon and “The Working Mother Report” suggest that many working mothers prioritize family over the office when it comes to making parent-teacher meetings, taking care of sick kids and attending to their own physical and mental health needs. Let your boss know as early as possible when you need time off to take you or your child to the doctor, make a parent-teacher conference or attend to other family needs. Many employers are cutting costs by allowing employees to telecommute, which could allow you to be home when your kids get home and supervise homework while still handling your professional responsibilities. Flex time can also help you balance home and career responsibilities.


Many mothers struggle with guilt that their family suffers when they work, but stay-at-home moms feel guilty because they aren’t contributing enough to the family budget, according to “The Working Mother Report.” The Mayo Clinic suggests that you release the guilt because you’re doing what you feel is best for your family. Guilt isn’t a productive emotion and prioritizing your time as efficiently as possible to care for family and personal needs can give you the balance required to be a good mom and a good employee.

Family-Friendly Employers

Many working parents seek out family-friendly employers to help balance work and home responsibilities. A “Redbook” article, “Are We a Family-Friendly Nation?” lists some family-friendly employers who provide benefits such as onsite daycare, sick time you can use when your kids are sick, additional vacation days for employees with families and preventative healthcare options so you can take better care of yourself and miss fewer days at work. You might not always have the option to work for a family-friendly employer, but talking to your employer when you need time off for family needs could help you balance your roles.

About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.

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