Did Your Mother Work Outside the Home?

While dropping the Queen of the Universe off at the day care center today I started to think about how much influence these people are having on my daughter. She’s with them for quite a few hours each day, and while I like the idea that she’s in a learning environment and is being socialized through her interactions with the other kids, I’m also wondering if there are going to be long term repercussions to whole generations being raised (for all intents and purposes) by someone other than their parents.

My mother worked part-time during the school year but was always home before school let out for the day and was home all day during the summer. Prior to attending school I stayed with my great aunt during the day. I was never in a “day care” type situation - being raised or taught by someone that didn’t have a direct familial connection. Does it make a difference?

I can’t tell you if it makes a difference, but I was in a situation similar to yours; my mom worked all day, but I was in the care of my maternal grandmother as a baby/toddler, so I didn’t go to preschool either.

There were a couple of years in there (as I was headed into the Sturm und Drang of adolescence) when my mom quit working entirely, to spend time with me.

I personally think that these and other factors were good for me in that I felt absolutely loved and supported by my family…

…but I also think that part of the reason I was a painfully-bass-ackwardsly shy kid during my first few years of grade school was that I wasn’t really in any sort of “multi-kid” settings as a kid.

I was either alone with my grandparents (who doted on me quite a bit), or in my parents’ household (ditto on the doting), where my three siblings were quite a bit older than I (10-17 years older). So I never really had to deal with issues of sharing, or socialize with anyone who didn’t think I was the cutest thing on earth.

There were definite adjustments to be made, when I started school.

However, my situation might easily have been remedied with a few play dates…

Eh…what sort of repercussions are you looking for?

My mom still works full time, she just made sure that the places I went were top notch, small class sizes, great staff. She also made sure that the family had family time, dinner every night together, outings on weekends. I never felt abandoned or anything and I always knew that my mom was in touch and interested in my life.

I’m in college now and I still call her and talk to her at least once a week, sometimes edging into the once a day category.

Yup, my mother worked and so did my dad. My sister and I were the original latch-key kids. I remember coming home from school to an empty house as young as six years old. A lot of times we’d lose the key and we’d have to sit out on the front yard for hours until someone got home.

Sometimes I remember wishing someone would be home when I got there, especially when I needed help with homework or when I had had a bad day at school. But as I got older, I began to appreciate the independence.

The bad things about having a latch-key-kid existence:

  1. If you miss the schoolbus or you get sick at school, you have to guiltily bother one of your parents while they’re at work.

  2. Being alone in an empty house even for a few hours invites all sorts of mishaps and dangers. (Once, my sister and I came home to a burgularized house and I still have nightmares about what could have happened if Mommy hadn’t been there.)

  3. Having to wait until the grown-ups have eaten dinner and have relaxed before bugging them with my homework problems.

  4. Having parents’ wiggle out of attending school-related functions because of late-night meetings and conferences.

  5. Having to depend on your friends’ parents to lug you around all the time.

The good things about having working parents:

  1. By being alone more, you become more independent. By the time I was ten, I could make dinner (if I really really wanted to, which I never did) without burning down the house.

  2. Knowing that your parents have lives that extend beyond the house, and that they aren’t spending all of their time meddling in your business.

I never felt unloved or neglected because both of my parents worked. I don’t think dysfunctionality is related to whether a mother stays at home or not. However, I don’t think it’s a bad thing to stay home either. Some situations just necessitate one or the other and you have to make adjustments either way.

My mom was the main breadwinner in our family. When she wasn’t travelling, she usually made it home in time for dinner. She travelled a good bit though. My brother and I were usually home alone for most of the day and I don’t see anything wrong with that. I don’t think there were any repercussions. I still talk to mom at least once a week and live close enough to pop over for dinner when I feel like it.

Do you know what? My mom worked in Real Estate part time when I was a kid, so she usually had a flexible schedule and I’m thinking she was home when we got home from school. But during the summer? She obviously didn’t quit her job for 3 months of the year and yet I cannot for the life of me remember what she did with us during that time. So I guess the point I’m trying to make is: how are these people affecting your children? Maybe they are, but in my case they obviously left no impression whatsoever.

I was what is now called a “latch key” kid. It never bothered me. My mom stayed home with us until I started going to school, then went out and got a job. It never bothered me – I’d come home, watch TV or read the magazines that came in, or play outside.

Of course, times have changed. I used to walk home from kindergarten. I couldn’t imagine letting Millical do that, with the nuts out there today.

My mom didn’t work from 1970 - 1981. She stayed home after my oldest brother’s birth in 1970, had my other brother in 1974 and me in 1975 and didn’t go to work until I started kindergarten. She and my dad worked opposite shifts most of the time too so one of my parents was almost always home. My dad switched jobs when I was still in grade school and he would work from 3-11 p.m. so my brother and I would walk home from school, let ourselves in the house, and would be alone for about an hour until my mom came home at 4:30.

Like auntie em I was very shy as a child and I think it’s because I didn’t have any “real” playmates as a young child. My brothers always played together and excluded me and there were only 1-2 little girls in the neighborhood for me to play with. I didn’t go to preschool or go on play dates… it was just my mom, my brothers, and me until I started school. I think my shyness was the only drawback to my mom staying home with us. The only bad thing about coming home to an empty house is that my brother’s would pick on me quite a bit. I’d tell my dad about it when he got home and then they’d get in trouble so it all worked out fine.

My mom started to work when I was 5. She got out of work early enough to be there for most of my afternoon (I must have been in Kindergarten.) She worked in the school lunch room (a lunch room lady! at MY school!)

She worked “full time” (at a bank) when I was about 7 or 8. I still remember the day when I got home from school, and she wasn’t there. I did not like that. I missed her. The fact that I still remember it means that it made a big impression on me.

Then my mom got a fulltime job at a bank, and got home later (about 7 pm, I guess). I was then a “latch key kid”, and I really kind of hated it. I had older sisters (the oldest is 6 years older than me) so there really was no reason why I should have had to be stuck outside after school. But my sisters didn’t want to come home from school right away to look after me, so I was on my own for a few hours after school. Except that I HAD to stay with the mean neighbor lady (unless I could escape her notice, and hide in the backyard). Finally my parents “allowed” me to have a key, so I could get in the house by myself.

My dad had weird hours (he left for work at about 9 am) so we saw him in the morning. He was a bit of a “Mr. Mom” in that he’d make us our school lunches, but he SUCKED at it. (He couldn’t slice cheese, and wouldn’t get pre-sliced cheese. I remember having these cheese sandwiches with “triangles” of cheese in them. Packed in huge grocery-sized brown paper bags. Complete mortification for a little kid! I still carry those emotional scars.)

Looking back, it would have been much nicer (for me, anyway) if my mom hadn’t gone to work fulltime, or at least not with those hours. I was stuck with the creepy neighbor lady, and I hated that. Also, I still envy my older sisters when they talk about all the fun and neat things that they did when my mom was at home full time. (“Remember when she took us to the park?” “Remember when we made those crafts?”) And I was too young to remember any of it.

Sure, when I was in school she got home a few hours after I got home (so it wasn’t too bad) but in the summer - she wasn’t there all day because of her job. My sisters got to have these great summers with her (pre-job), and I don’t remember any of that. I feel cheated, dammit!

I don’t think I was a socially backwards kid, though. My parents took me to a preschool, starting when I was 3-4, I guess. (I still remember where it is, I pass by it sometimes.) I just didn’t go to a fulltime daycare. I don’t think I missed out on anything because of that. I feel fortunate that I had my mom at home as long as I did.

My Dad was a die-hard traditionalist, so my Mom stayed home and looked after us kinds until 1970, when he died suddenly.

Almost immediately, my Mom had to start working. But since she became a teacher, she was home almost as soon as we were, so we hardly noticed that she wasn’t home during the day.

And since my grandmother lived in the same house we did, we practically had two full-time mothers.

My mom started working at some point when I was in elementary school, can’t remember exactly when. But, she solved the problem of being home with us in summer and minimizing the time we were alone each day by: getting a job as a school bus driver. I rode on the bus with her in the morning, and I would take a different, earlier bus home at the end of the day. She had summers off, just like us. When I reached 6th grade and started going to the middle school, if I missed the bus home, I could just walk across the street to the elementary school and ride home with her while she dropped off the little kids.

When I started high school, she got a full-time job in the city. She and I would car-pool in in the morning, and she would pick me up when she got off work at 5, which meant I had to hang around school for a few hours, but I was far from alone. Heck, half the time there was something like a volleyball or basketball game going on I could watch, or I could play chess with my friends or get homework done. When I started driving, I would drop Mom off at work and keep the vehicle for the day. Then, I could use the car to drive to the library or wherever for those two hours, pick her up at 5:00, and we’d drive home together. It all worked out pretty well.

I don’t know if daycare helps too much with the shyness. I was in them until I was twelve, and I’m still painfully shy!
My mother (single mom) worked until ten at night five days a week. I stayed in daycare until six, when my grandparents picked me up.
My daughter was in babysitter situations plus family when she was a bit younger. Now I work part-time and homeschool. She’s alone for about four hours a day, and LOVES the independence!
She has always been shy, but it seems like she’s growing out of it these days.

I don’t think you need to worry about any repercussions, assuming the folks at day care and school are competent and kind.

My mom worked from the time I was 3 mos on. I never felt neglected, nor do I think I’ve turned out badly because of it. My main memories from childhood involve time spent with my mom, even though I know she worked and I was at babysitters or school the majority of the day.

When I was old enough, I was allowed to be a “latchkey kid” and my parents had strict rules–no answering the door, no answering the phone (except by a pre-arranged ring code), no using the stove.

I was painfully shy as a child, by the way, and to some extent still am, and I can’t blame it on not socializing with other kids, because I had plenty of opportunities to do that. I think kids are pretty resilient, as long as they have love and food and shelter, they’ll be pretty much okay. So don’t worry–I’m sure you’re a great mom and your kids will be fine.

There are four kids in my family. Mom was home all the time with the three oldest ones, and with the youngest (8 years younger than the next to youngest) she stayed home until he was in…2nd grade, I believe.

There is a difference between us, but it’s subtle and I think a lot of it happened because Mom mellowed out by the time lil’bit came along. She was also happier once she had developed her own life, and didn’t have a life that seemed to revolve around us kids. That made the whole house happier.

Lil’bit is a well adjusted kid, always more sociable than the rest of us, but that could happen in any family.

My mom worked throughout my childhood and adolescence. I went to work when the oldest started pre-school. I took a sabbatical during his middle school years, that we think has really paid dividends now that he’s a high schooler, I’ve gone back to work.

My mom was a stay-at-home mom until my little brother and I could handle it. I remember over two summers she would take us to the campus she was getting her degree at (go MCC), drop us off at the daycare (I was 11 or 12, and in a daycare–bleh), and then pick us up. Now she works full-time and it hasn’t affected us. We still see her a good deal and it’s not as if we’re toddlers; I’m a teen and my brother’s almost one.

It gets boring sometimes, since we’re usually home for 1-2 hours after school (we ride our bikes home together), but we have a link with them through the phone and their jobs are casual enough that they can talk to us for about 5-10 minutes. My dad works five minutes away from the house right now, so if needed, he can pick us up or drop us off.

My mother’s been working outside the home since I can remember. My father’s the one who raised me and my three sibs.

I don’t know how it shaped me except that I don’t take for granted that any woman I have in my life later on is going to stay at home or whatever. Gender roles were never really concrete in my mind.

Both of my parents were public school teachers, which means, according to some folks I’ve talked with, neither of them ever worked a day in their lives. :smiley:

Seriously, though. I don’t think it had any negative effects on me, although I had nothing to compare it with. Mom’s work hours were pretty similar to my school hours (Papa coached after-school sports, so he usually didn’t get home until later), so I usually wasn’t home alone for more than half an hour or so. Plus, I grew up in a neighborhood full of grandma-types whose kids had all moved out, so it was hard to really feel neglected.

Mom worked, Dad was a deadbeat abandoner.

My mom worked from home - she did sewing and alterations for various and sundry women. With 5 kids spaced over 11 years, and not having a car, she didn’t have a lot of choice.

My Perfect Child[sup]TM[/sup] started day care when she was 3 weeks old - we didn’t have a choce. When she was 4, we got her into a private preschool, and my MIL watched her otherwise. By the time she was 9, she was a latchkey kid, and today, she’s an honor student, employed, very independent, and just slightly warped - truly perfection personified!!

:smiley: