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Children get a positive boost from working mums, report suggests.

Byline: Chris Kelsey Assistant head of business

IT'S an issue that has nagged away at many a working mother. By pursuing my career, am I doing the best for my children? Now, a study by Harvard Business School suggests that by going out to work mothers may indeed be helping their kids in unexpected ways. The research found that daughters of working mothers are more likely to be successful in their careers while their sons are more involved in family life.

According to the results, daughters of working mothers are more likely to be employed, to hold supervisory positions and to earn more money than those of women who don't work outside the home.

Meanwhile, their sons are likely to spend more time caring for family members and doing household chores than the sons of stay-at-home mothers.

The study found the effect was greatest in countries where attitudes on gender issues and egalitarianism are "moderate", including the UK.

So does the research - which used data from 24 countries - reflect the experience of working mothers in Wales? Catherine Williams is the UK's biggest single Yankee Shop retailer in the UK.

From Upper Killay in Swansea, Catherine owns and runs five Yankee shops across South Wales, including her flagship store at Cardiff's St David's Centre. The shops turn over more than PS2m.

She has worked all of her adult life and has had to juggle raising a daughter and son.

"I think working mums do naturally feel they are neglecting their kids growing up and there is definitely a feeling of guilt, but working hard is a means to an end and ultimately gives benefit to the family environment," said Catherine.

"I don't think it has affected my daughter. I'm extremely proud of what she has achieved. She recently got 12 GCSEs - all A grade, and also received a music award and a double science award.

"My son, who is in Year 8, is also doing very well as school.

Do you think being a working mother helps your children? "My children recognise that you have to work hard to get rewards in life and I try to instil in them that the harder you work the greater the rewards. I think they understand that."

Joanne Summerfield-Talbot, sales director at Dawsons estate agents, believes her 20-year-old son David has developed into a very caring individual because of her decision to become a working mother.

"The way I was brought up was with a strong work ethic and I was always going to continue working despite having a young family. I never ever had the intention of being a stay-at-home mum," said Joanne.

"I am convinced that going to nursery and having interaction with other young children helped with David's development.

"While having that early interaction, I was determined to drum into him the importance of getting a good education on the way to going into industry or business.

"He is currently doing a BSc in outdoor leadership at Cumbria University and is loving it. I'm very proud of the values he has and I believe he is very caring - it's amazing to see how he interacts with special needs children for instance.

"And people often make a point of how polite and caring he is which obviously makes me very proud."

Sara Plant, a partner at South Wales solicitors Peter Lynn & Partners, believes her 17-year-old son Harry and 15-year-old daughter fit the study's parameters of being "caring" and "successful".

Harry, an aspiring actor who has already appeared in BBC's Casualty series, is very caring and very helpful as well as being successful to date in his theatre and drama work, she said.

"My daughter is also very determined and confident and intends to be successful in whatever her chosen career is. I think she has definitely benefited from having a working mum which has given her a very good work ethic," insisted Sara.

"Of course there are times when I feel guilty about being a working mum, especially when they may need to be advised on course work.

"But on the flip side of the coin, the fact that I'm not around as much as I would like has meant that they have turned into very sociable individuals, and I think that is in some ways due to attending after-school clubs and activity groups."

She added: "There are pros and cons to being a working mum but overall I think they have both bene-fited."


Catherine Williams: ""orking hard ultimately gives benefit to the family <Benvironment"

Joanne Summerfield-Talbot: "I was <Bbrought up with a strong work ethic"

Sara Plant: "There are pros and cons to being a working mum but overall I <Bthink [bothmy children] benefited

Daughters of working mothers are more likely to be employed, to hold supervisory positions and to earn more money than those who don't work <B
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 18, 2015
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