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Good (and Bad) News for Working Moms

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There’s no need to feel guilty about being a working mom -- your little one will be just fine.

A study led by Columbia University School of Social Work recently concluded that infants of working mothers are no worse off than babies of stay-at-home moms, overturning years of previous studies claiming the contrary.

According to the new findings, although infants raised by mothers with full-time jobs scored somewhat lower on cognitive tests, the negative effects were offset by the advantages, the Washington Post reports. Employed mothers have higher incomes, and their children are more likely to receive high-quality childcare. Surprisingly, they were also more likely to display “maternal sensitivity,” or responsiveness toward their children.

While this is definitely encouraging news, working moms may want to hold off on that collective sigh of relief: re-entering the work force after taking time off to raise a family poses its own set of challenges.

When in comes to wages, “women do almost as well as men today,” Jane Waldfogel, professor of social work at Columbia University, told The New York Times, “as long as they don’t have children.”

The current job market is still unforgiving toward women who want families AND fulfilling careers. Studies have found that men and woman paid a steep “career price” for taking time off, leaving work early, working part-time, or for not having flexibility in their schedules. “Women, however, were vastly more likely to do so,” NYT reports, which is one factor that might explain the rise in the number of moms who have left their jobs for full-time parenting.

Have you ever felt guilty about being a working mom? Do you think your career has suffered because you have children?

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