The societal structures experienced a lot of changes in the second half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century in regard to the roles that were played by different genders. During this period, there are a lot of women who were able to gain education which earned them a place in the workforce. In line with this, most women spend their time at their place of work just as men. However, it is important to note that they were not relieved from some responsibilities in the society as a result of their new found responsibilities.
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Following this point, women were expected to reproduce and act as both wives and mothers. Consequently, whereas they were given some time off from their work to go for maternity leaves, this period was not enough for them to spend with their children until they had fully developed. Therefore, whereas modern mothers were able to earn and contribute positively toward the financial status of their families, their absence from homes was found to affect the development of their children, both positively and negatively.
Research Findings and Discussion
It was found out that most working mothers had to find an option on how their children would be cared for when they went away to work. In reference to Bernal (2008), daycare centers were one of the options that were pursued by these mothers (p.1173-1178). In this regard, it was found out that daycare centers provided an opportunity for these children to learn at an early age that they belonged not only to their families but also to the whole community. This was found to help them develop a sense of responsibility and commitment towards the society. On the other hand, since these daycare centers received children from other mothers who were working too, their interaction created a bond that was cited as one of the important elements in developing of a person’s social skills in the society. It also provided an opportunity for such a child to learn the culture and societal norms of his or her people at an early age through songs, riddles, tales and dances (p.1192-1197). Personal independence was also recognized as an important factor in the life of a person and in the society as a whole. In line with this, children that were left at home since their mothers were working were found to be more independent as compared to children who had their mothers near them all the time. Such independency was an important element that enhanced the maturity of a person in the society.
It was also noted that working mothers had a high level of stress as compared to the mothers that were not working. This resulted from the fact that the working environment had a potential of exerting a certain kind of pressure on the people within its structures, which in some cases overflowed to the family life of a person. However, it was important for one to recognize that such kind of stress created a negative impact on the development of a child in the family. According to Kelley, Power & Wimbush (2008), whereas the working status of a mother had no proved evidence that it affected the development of a child’s development, it was important to note that this only depended on whether the mother was happy or was stressed together with the family members by her working status (p.573-578). In other words, the working mother had no effects on the child’s development as long as there was no stress that emerged in her life and in the life of her family as a result of her work.
The debate on the effect of maternal employment on the child’s development did not stop at the fact that there was no effect of this employment on the development of a child. In reference to Mangelsdorf et al. (2008), studies that had been carried out indicated that or rather tried to link maternal employment and retarded intellectual development among children (p.820-825). This article by Mangelsdorf et al. (2008) indicated that the time period at which the mother resumed employment was the one that had an effect on the development of the child. In this regard, if the mother began her employment when the child was over one year, no significant effects were found out in such a case (p.822-827). However, if the mother resumed work when the child was below nine months, there was a significant effect on the development of this child’s intellectual ability and this was seen in the performance of the child when he or she was about three years old after joining kindergarten.
It can be argued that there were different challenges that were associated with the working mothers in the society, and in this regard in terms of the development of their children. Following this point, it was important to realize that a working mother had an effect on the development of her child. First, since many of these children were enrolled in daycare centers, they were able to interact with other children in the society thus enabling them to learn easily concerning the societal norms as well as develop their social skills. On the other hand, stress on the mother and the family due to her work affected negatively the development of her child. Therefore, one could argue that whether positive or negative, the working mother had an effect on the development of her child in the family and the society as a whole.
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