Having children is one of the most time consuming and stressful things you can do, but the old myth that having kids negatively impacts your work performance has finally been debunked for good.
A recent study from the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis has found that over the course of a career spanning 30 years, mothers were more productive than women without children, and those with two or more kids were the ones with the highest productivity.
The study aimed to look at the impact of becoming a mother on high flying women, a task that is difficult because it is hard to measure something like the productivity of a doctor or teacher. Instead they looked at academic economists, and how much they published throughout their careers.
The results challenged all preconceived ideas. In men, those with one child or no children performed similarly over their careers, however men with at least two children were more productive. For women the results were even more clear. The researchers discovered that during the first five years of their careers, women with children massively outperform those who have none.
Of course these data are only from a narrow spectrum of society, women who are well paid and are likely to have access to maternity leave and reliable childcare. Low income families are likely to face different challenges that were not accounted for in this research. The research did also show that very young children do cut a woman's productivity by around 10% per child. Even so, next time you feel guilty for missing a deadline due to a sick child, or are tired during an important meeting, remember that having children may be increasing your productivity in the long term!