Sure, it’s a logistical challenge to manage job responsibilities along with household tasks, especially while your children are young. But working women derive a wide range of intellectual, creative and social as well as monetary benefits from their jobs. You’d never know it from all the cultural propaganda that encourages women to sacrifice their careers, but the truth is that multiple roles in life are good for women’s psychological health.
REASON NUMBER TWO: Working Women Are HealthierAs a working mother, you never have enough time, you often feel as if you can’t do your best at home or on the job, and you have so many other responsibilities that taking care of yourself often gets relegated to the bottom of the to-do list. It’s hard not to envy those stay-at-home moms who seem to have time to work out and take a regular yoga class -- and it seems logical to assume that full-time homemakers, having unloaded the demands of the labor force, would be healthier than all of us frazzled working moms.
Surprisingly, however, the opposite turns out to be the case. Studies show that working women have lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, and lower weight -- health benefits that prove long-lasting. A longitudinal survey conducted over 28 years found that by age 54, women who combine multiple roles as employees, parents, and partners were significantly less likely to report ill health than women whose lives did not include all three roles. Homemakers were the most likely to say that their health was poor.
Most telling of all, the research was even designed to determine the role of cause and effect: Did women’s multi-tasking actually produce good health, or were healthy individuals simply able to accomplish more? The findings suggested that good health was the result, rather than the cause, of combining work with family life.
Such research illustrates how misleading all that emphasis on the stress of the juggling act can be. If staying home is so great for women, how come it makes so many of them more unhealthy and more unhappy than working women?