The role of happiness in the life of a human being cannot be underestimated. Among other effects, happiness is usually regarded as a performance factor, and therefore it is important for every individual. Happiness in the family is especially needed for the growth and development of children. Several research conducted have shown that mothers often set the emotional tone in the family and therefore their happiness means happiness for the family. Mothering is usually identified as one of the most powerful responsibilities anyone can assume (Parker, 2009, p. 3). When a person decides to be a mother she is in effect agreeing to give a big portion of her “life to the process of producing, guiding and managing others’ lives” (Parker, 2009, p. 2). The debate on whether working mothers give the best to their children in comparison to their stay-at-home counterparts continues to rage. This research paper seeks to establish whether stay-at-home mothers exhibit more indicators of happiness than full-time working mothers.
As stated earlier mothering is a complex activity that requires a lot of sacrifice from a person who is doing it. When a child is born, he/she is usually unaware of what is going on around him or her. The mother plays a vital role in ushering the child into the world. It is believed that the viewpoint picked by the child regarding life is in most cases gotten from the mother. His attitude, “his religious views, his perspective on life and its goals are gained from the mother” (Parker, 2009, p. 3). Mothers are usually the most significant people in a life of their children and therefore they assume the position of role models. Whatever the child observes from the mother such as “her housekeeping habits, her manners, her relationships with others, the way she spends money, and in general her lifestyle, will all undoubtedly affect the child’s character” (Parker, 2009, p. 4). Studies have indicated that children usually follow the characters of their mothers in a sort of unconscious reaction. Thus they will emulate their mothers even when their ways are bad. Motherhood can therefore be regarded as a special career in which every mother is required to be the model for her young ones. However, the changing roles of women in society have posed a great challenge to the traditional mothering roles.
Changing roles of mothers
The increase in the number of women participating directly in the production and service industries has created a public opinion about the changing roles of women in society (Parker, 2009). In a certain study conducted in the US, 75% of the respondents agreed that women should contribute to the family income (Parker, 2009, p. 5). This change in attitudes and behaviors has created a complex scenario for women who still have to play the role of mothers. The number of women participating in the labor market has been growing steadily since the 1950s. It is now “estimated that women comprise up to 47% of the labor force through the figure has leveled in recent years” (Parker, 2009, p. 6). Most working mothers see their careers as good role models for their children. In a certain study, most of the mothers surveyed believed that their careers had improved after having children and were happy to combine parenthood with their careers (Parker, 2009). Many working mothers believe that the income they provide is vital for their families’ survival and thus is an important factor in keeping the family happy. In a certain “study conducted in the US, 70% of the working mothers surveyed agreed that they had no time for themselves” (Parker, 2009, p. 4).
Stay at home mothers
New mothers are always faced with the difficult task of deciding whether to continue with their jobs on a full-time or part-time basis or to stay at home and look after their newborns. Statistics indicate that “48% of mothers stay at home with their children under the age of two, while 25% of the mothers stay at home when their children are between the age of three and six years” (Parker, 2009, p. 6). In the current world, people often don’t see the value of staying at home to look after newborns by working mothers. People often feel that it is a waste of time for learned and intelligent women to dedicate themselves to housekeeping and child rearing activities (Parker, 2009, p. 6). Emphasis is often placed on the career and contribution to the family income. Mothers who choose to stay at home and look after their kids are thought to provide the following benefits; Stay-at-home mothers boost their children’s self-esteem by making them feel loved and cared for; a stay-at-home mother is much more comfortable doing her duties as her attention is focused on one responsibility as a caregiver for the family; lastly, stay-at-home mothers are seen to play an important role in modeling the characters of their children thus establishing much stronger bonds than their full time working counterparts.
Parker, K. (2009). The Harried life of the Working Mother. New York: Pew Rsearch Center.