Although many women would love to stay home when their children are infants and toddlers, financial pressures may dictate otherwise.
Often, the decision to return to work is made with a certain degree of guilt. Yet, Caitlin McPherran Lombardi of Boston College says that some women might actually be doing their youngsters a favor by trading the kitchen table for an office desk.
In a study of moms who either head back to work beginning from the time their children turn nine months old or choose to remain at home, Lombardi and other researchers discovered that kids of working mothers, particularly in a low-income bracket, do better in kindergarten than kids whose moms don't get a paid job.
The study, which involved data of 10,000 youngsters from 2001 on, revealed that the differences narrowed in middle-class families when moms worked or stayed at home. Meanwhile, children of moms in upper-income homes who stayed put seemed to do better in kindergarten than when their mothers went to work.
So why did children of lower-income mothers benefit more when their parent had a job? Lombardi's study credits high-quality childcare that better preps youngsters for the rigors of primary school.