Working Mothers As An Argument Essay

Hello, These are the questions that I need answered through my peer review for English 102. Thank you so much for your time and input!

1. What does the writer do well in this essay?
2. What does the writer need to work on in this essay?
3. State the main point of this essay.
4. Does the introduction grab your attention? Does it lead smoothly to a thesis? If not, what could the writer do to improve it?
5. What is the thesis statement? Does it contain a strong opinion and specific focus? Explain.
6. Does each paragraph develop one main idea? Describe the main idea of each paragraph (five words or less for each). Does each topic sentence tie back to the thesis?

7. Does the writer offer evidence for the points he or she makes in each paragraph? If so, is the evidence convincing?
8. Does the writer use transitions between paragraphs and ideas?
9. Does the conclusion briefly summarize in a fresh way the writer's main argument and then end on a memorable note (such as a quotation, thought, image, or call to action)? What is that memorable impression that the conclusion leaves?

10. Are quotations integrated smoothly? Do they flow with the grammar of the sentence? Are all quotations cited correctly?
11. Is there a Works Cited page reflecting each author quoted in the body of the essay? Are the entries of the Works Cited page in correct MLA format? Are they alphabetized? Does each entry have all the necessary citation information? Does the Works Cited section appear on its own page?

12. Is the essay formatted correctly (margins, font, spacing, etc.)? If not, what needs to be corrected?
13. Does the essay have a creative title that describes the purpose/point of the paper in a catchy, clear way?
14. Are there grammar and spelling errors in the essay
15. If you were writing this essay, what would you do differently? Why?Peer review needed for my research paper. Looking for input on better ways to organize, proper MLA format / citation and help with tone if needed.

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Working Mothers and the Impact on Children

]Amanda Merry
ENG 102 #27078
Josephine Schwenckert
Women today face a dilemma when deciding if working outside of the home is the best solution for their families. In the past, society has thought that mothers that worked outside of the home would be a detriment to the development of children. In recent studies it is being suggested that there is no harm emotionally, mentally or behaviorally to a child that has a working mother.

Women around the world have been asking themselves what seems to be a simple question; however in reality, is very complex. Is it better to stay at home with the children, or work outside of the home? The answer to this question is not going to be the same for everyone. Overall, this is a very personal choice for the mother and family and what is best for one family may not be best for another. One of the main things that mothers think about when contemplating entering the work force is how will this impact the child. The good news is that there have been quite a few recent studies that help answer this tough, yet very personal question.

During the last several decades, the number of women in the work force has been increasing at significant rates. For example, in 1940 only 8.6% of women with children worked in the United States (Wladis 1). As recent as of 2010, 64% of American mothers with children under the age of 6 works outside of the home (Mann 1). Women have been joining the workforce for many different reasons. One reason for this is because of personal aspirations, women have wanted to start having successful careers. Women are seeing that there is the possibility of having successful careers at the same time as having a well-rounded and successful family.

In addition to having personal career goals, other women have turned to the workforce to support their family financially. This could be to bring in extra money in order to provide enrichment opportunities that can increase the educational success of a child that may not be available for a single income household (Merry Interview 1). On the other hand, having the mother at work could be the way the family can survive with getting food and necessities because of the economic hardships that many United States Citizens are facing (Opposing Viewpoints). Being financially stable can improve the overall quality of education, child care, and provide a safe and secure environment for children to thrive. It is said that in one study that having both parents that work can be the best environment and that children become socially independent and often excel in education (Clark1)

Some individuals say that working women do not love their family as much as stay at home mothers. This stems from the career mother not being physically at home for long periods of time. Mothers from both sides of this argument have debated for years over which role is better for the development of children. This argument has been named "Mommy Wars" and has had books and several articles reviewing the facts in order to try to come to a conclusion on what is the best way to raise children (Opposing Viewpoints).

Over the last few decades, there has been a shift in societies view on working mothers. In the past, women were thought to be best suited to stay at home and take care of the household chores and raise the children. As more and more women enter the workforce, it has become more socially acceptable for jobs to create flexible work schedules, re-design maternity leave, and be family oriented for creating a work life balance. In a Pew Research study in July 2007, it was found that 60% of women surveyed thought that part time work was the best solution and women are happy that so many employers offered flexible or part time work options (Opposing Viewpoints). In the same survey, 21% of women believed that full time work was better, and 19% of women thought that not working at all was best for their family (Opposing Viewpoints).

There is still an amount of stress and exhaustion in both stay at home mothers and working mothers. Studies show that stays at home mothers are more likely to have signs of depression and anxiety from not having an outlet to release their energy (Rankin 1). There are women that need to have outside stimulus in order to continue to be happy, and be able to be a nurturing, well connected mother (Merry interview 1). After a long day of taking care of the home and children stay at home mothers sometimes feel that they need a mental break.

On the other hand, working mothers try to balance work, parenting and household chores. There are many working women that feel that once they are done with their work shift, their parent and spouse shift starts, and that their day is just beginning over again. Working mothers can unintentionally bring the stress home and impact the family's relationship. Stress can cause a mother to withdraw and become distant with a child (Repetti 1).

One study was completed in 1995, by Rena L Repetti, and Jenifer Wood. These two professors work in the Psychology department at California U in Los Angeles California. They studied thirty mothers of preschool age children for five consecutive weekdays. These studies occurred at five different locations that have different average income earnings amounts. This study videotaped and documented the reactions of mothers when they were coming to pick their child up from daycare. They would survey the mother and ask how much stress they were under from work. On the low stress days, there was high communication and affection shown to the children. However, on high stress days communication was slightly less, but the biggest impact was the different in the amount of affection shown to the child. There was a significant drop in the percent of affection shown, concluding that stress has the ability of blending into the family life and interactions (Repetti 1) Since there is documented evidence to show that stress can lead to not being as affectionate towards children it is very important to watch out for this in your day to day life and ensure that it does not impact the relationship with your child.

Another thing that can cause stress is doing things that you do not want to do. People have said for many years to do what you feel is best, and to make yourself happy. Now, there is research showing that one way to reduce stress is to make you happy, whether that is staying at home or working (Rankin 1). Happiness can often be contagious; if you are in a good mood then people are more likely to be in a good mood around you.

There is growing evidence that shows, working mothers are not the cause of behavioral and development complications in a child. The most important factor comes to the emotional attachment to a child. Children that are taught that they are loved, cared for and have a special bond with a parent are less likely to have problems with intimacy and building relationships as an adult (Merry Interview 1).

In an interview with Karen Merry, Co-Founded of North Pointe Counseling Center, and a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), she advised when there is not an emotionally safe and stable home there are five main areas that can become developmentally immature. The first one is self-esteem, when a child is not taught that he has value and worth they will struggle with the thought they are either not as good as others, or they can believe they are better than everyone else. The next area is boundaries, when a child is not nurtured or protected appropriately they can develop either walls that barricade people out, or they can have no self-protective boundaries that open themselves up to more pain. Another area is perception, when a child is not taught they are allowed to make mistakes, for example spilling milk on the table, they start to believe that unless they are perfect, they are bad. Another area is going to be independence, they can either be anti-dependent, and needless, or they can be overly dependent and needy when they develop this issue. The last area that can become developmentally immature is when the child's spontaneity and playfulness is not nurtured with a healthy containment, they can either become out of control of being in control of others, or they could simply be out of control with no containment. These issues can arise whether the mother is at home or at work, the difference is that the mother has to be intentional on being connected to the child (Merry interview 1). "If a kid feels rejected they will have troubles regardless of whether their mother works outside of the home or not" (Mann 1).

A mother that works outside of the home needs to be extremely intentional on continuously improving the bond between her and the child. Sean Brotherson, a Family Science Specialist, shares some tips that a mother can use and practice to help foster a strong attachment. The first tip is to make yourself available, this helps teach young children that they can trust and rely on you to trust, however, this can only happen if you are physically present with the child. Next, increase your knowledge and experience with young children; this will help you personally learn techniques to interact with different children's personalities. Another tip is to provide a quick and consistent response to your child's needs or cues, this could be when they cry, hold their arms out to you, ask for help and so on, this is helpful to the development of trust and security. It is important to be able to interpret verbal and non-verbal cues that the child may give to you for what they need or want. An additional tip is to follow your child's lead and to cooperate with them on how they want to play or interact with you. This helps the child develop a way to explore new things and to express their emotions and needs. One last tip is to avoid overstimulation to the child. There is only so much that a young child can absorb in a small period of time, if the child starts to squirm, look away, and no longer interacts it is best to let them have some quiet time, nap, or just hold them calmly while they relax and calm down. (Brotherson 2). All of these tips are useful to secure the bond and attachment for the child, they all help develop one part of security, willingness to explore, self-esteem, self-expression, trust, an understanding of empathy, ability of expression emotions and also stability. (Brotherson 3) It is also important for children to have a strong connection with adults of the same gender. For example, sons need to have a bond with a man to define their masculinity, while mothers help their daughters with their femininity (Merry interview 1). These strong bonds of attachment can help build better and more in depth relationships during their adult life.

In the United Kingdom, researcher Anne McMunn, PhD, a senior research fellow at University College London states that living with two working parents seem to have the best effect on children. Specifically, daughters that had a stay a home mother were twice as likely to develop behavioral issues by the age of five (Mann) Children in this study were reviewed at different stages of life including, infancy, three years old and five years old. The researchers of this study wanted to see if there were any risks or changes that developed behavioral issues later on in life (Mann 1) Anne McMunn, believe that these results, even though they were completed in the United Kingdom would have very similar results when compared to outcomes of the United Stated of America. She also goes on to say that "parents who do the best job are the ones who have interests outside of children, and working is certainly one of these interests, If you need to work or want to work, guilt is a wasted emotion." (Mann 1)

One way that working mothers have the ability of canceling out any effect that could be on children is providing a quality care giver. Having a supportive and loving caregiver to nurture children is beneficial in the development of children. This was suggested from researchers that conducted a United States study on 1,000 children with a age range from birth to age seven looking for any effects on children for working mothers (Clark 1). In the United States of American 80% of women return back to work within one year of giving birth because of the restrictions on maternity leave and time off Clark 1). This means that most women need to find a caregiver before or soon after giving birth in order to be prepared to return back work to ensure a smooth transition.

Overall, the impact on children is not whether the mother works or does not work, but how emotionally invested she is in the success of the child. Mothers have to overcome many of lifes stresses by being intentional in the interactions with the child. This means if the mother is under abundance of stress, maybe she needs to take a breath, relax and try to come back into interacting with a positive and loving attitude. One way that could help in reducing stress and irritation, is to build a support system of family and friends that are able and willing to lend a helping hand when things get tough.

If a mother is going to work out of the home, ensure that you are looking for the best quality caregiver that you can find. This could be a challenge in low income families, however, services like United Way, often has references and can point you in a good direction on how to find a good caregiver.

Since there is no clear evidence that there is any harm being done to children that have working mothers, it comes down to personal preference on whether you return to work, or stay at home raising the children. This is a question that only the family can decide. The best thing to do is what you think is right, and what will make you happy.

Works Cited

Brotherson, Sean. "Keys to Building Attachment with Young Children." Bright Beginnings. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2012.

Clark, Laura. "Working Mothers 'don't Harm Baby': But Only If They Can Afford Good Childcare, Claims Study Read More: Follow Us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook." Mail Online. N.p., 02 Aug. 2010. Web. 13 Nov. 2012.

Mann, Denise. "No Risk of Behavior Problems for Working Moms' Kids." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2012.

Merry, Karen. Personal Interview 11-22-2012

Rankin, Lissa. "Owning Pink." Do Working Moms Raise Healthier Kids? Psychology Today, 29 Nov. 2011. Web. 14 Nov. 2012.
Repetti, Rena L., and Jenifer Wood. "Effects of Daily Stress at Work on Mothers' Interactions with Preschoolers." Journal of Family Psychology 11.1 (1997): 90-108. Print.

Wladis - Hoffman, Lois. "The Effects of the Mother's Employment on the Family and the Child." The Effects of the Mother's Employment on the Family and the Child. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, 15 Oct. 1998. Web. 13 Nov. 2012.

"Working Women." Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale, 2010. Web. 11 Nov. 2012.

Many women today are facing choices that their mothers never had to face. One of these choices is whether or not to go back to work after having a child. This was practically unheard of in the 1950’s. In the 1990’s it is not whether the mother will or will not go back to work, rather a question of when. When did the choice become set in stone? Why do the mothers of today have to work outside the home versus working in the home, much like their mothers did.

When one thinks of the subject of working mothers, many differing opinions come to mind. What will happen to the child, will the mother have sufficient time to bond with the baby, how will household chores be divided, and so on. When thinking of working women, two models come to mind. One of which is paid employment that has a protective and beneficial mediating effect. Employment protects women against certain negative aspects of being full-time homemakers and mothers, such as monotonous housework, dependence on the male partner for financial and emotional support, increases self-esteem because they are contributing to the world they live in. These women receive a renewed interest in life because they are in the thick of it. They are living life to the fullest. This model is the one that is constantly referred to as “bad” because it paints the woman as someone who does not really care about the effect of working will have on the baby. In fact, most of these mothers have made this choice with painstaking care. They are constantly feeling what everyone is thinking, and this in turn causes undue stress on these mothers.

The other model of the working mom is the one most people think of when discussing working mothers. This model is one of a woman having too many demands of her –housewife, mother and paid employee – which may lead to role strain due to fatigue and role overload. The competing demands of such roles may also lead to conflict and psychological stress. Both of these models can be seen in the working mother at any given time. They are simply a fact of life, a by product of the world in which we live. Mothers are constantly jumping back and forth in these roles, striving to find a sense of balance. But is there such a thing? Most of the time the scales are tipped one way or another, there is never a true sense of balance. I believe this is how the mothers survive. If the scales were balanced, it would seem that they would either be cruel heartless women, simply concerned with their jobs, and caring less about their children. This is simply not the case. It seems that the ideal situation is when the father helps around the house, as to alleviate some of the stress the mother feels from working and the ability for the mother to have a flexible schedule.

Role decisions within the family unit need to increase when the mother returns to work. In order for both partners to be happy and feel fulfilled, there needs to be a clear definition of roles with in the family unit. This is something that should be discussed and decided well before the mother returns to work. In making role decisions, the parents must somehow combine their perceptions of the rewards and costs associated with each role in order to determine which combination of roles will provide them with the best role position. In other words, they need to figure out what they can do best for the family when they both parents work. If this is accomplished, the family will function better as a unit, and stress will be alleviated for all.

Another set back that is constantly facing working mothers is that their work is looked upon as optional, it is also viewed as less important than their partner’s. When these attitudes are confronted, it makes the transition for the working mother all the more difficult. The constant backlash from the public makes these mothers feel so guilty that some may even quit just to alleviate the stress. In order for working mothers to feel needed, and to have their work mean something, others need to look upon their work as something substantial, something important, not simply an option. When workplaces provide flexible scheduling and childcare services, these are the first steps in getting working mothers into the workforce and alleviate their feelings of guilt.

Many working mothers today are facing the reality of the “second shift”. This is where they put in a full day of work at the office only to come home to start their “second shift”, the one that entails all the housework and the raising of the family. Mothers feel that they have no choice in the matter, in order to be the “perfect” mother, they need to put in this shift, because it is their responsibility. But why is it their responsibility? Why does the father feel it is his right to come home and relax, when the mother is busy fixing dinner, and disciplining children. In order for the working mother to keep her sanity, the father needs to jump in and help with the chores that were previously held by the homemaker. In this day and age, the ideal homemaker is a thing of the past. Many women today want and desire careers and a place in this world. They want to stand on their own two feet, to become a self-sustaining individual, free of dependence on another individual.

When the mother considers the idea of working and raising a family, many things need to be considered. The responsibilities need to be divided evenly so as to alleviate the stress that will evolve due to all the changes. For the working mothers, understanding is first and foremost needed in order for the psychological well being. They need to feel that their work is important, and necessary, and that they are not sacrificing their child’s well being in order to benefit themselves. The danger involved is that the mothers could feel so guilty in working that they feel that they are abandoning their child to the caregivers that they are in contact with daily. The mothers need a support system in order to survive the roller coaster involved when they go back to work. If all these factors are taken into consideration, the transition to working mom will be that much easier for the entire family and the child will not suffer.


Brannen, Julia, Moss, Peter. Managing Mothers: Dual Earner Households After Maternity Leave. London: Unwin          Hyman, 1991.

Mahony, Rhona. Kidding Ourselves: Breadwinning, Babies,     and Bargaining Power. New York: BasicBooks, 1995.

Thomson, Elizabeth Jean. Employment and childbearing Decisions of Mothers of Young Children. Seattle,    University of Washington, 1979.

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