Researchers have found that children are not at an academic disadvantage if their mums go out to work during their early years.
The Independent reports that a new analysis of six existing studies of around 40,000 children over the past four decades has concluded that there is no link between working mums and children's school achievements.
The study found that children born in the 1970s, 80s and early 90s whose mums went to work during their early years had, on average, slightly lower literacy and numeracy scores than those whose mothers did not, but three further studies on children born since the mid-90s found the disadvantage had disappeared.
The findings also revealed that children born in 2000 or 2001 showed no significant difference in their cognitive ability or behaviour at the age of five whether their mums resumed their careers or not in their first year. Previously, studies had shown that children's literacy and numeracy levels were approximately two percentage points lower when mums went to work.
Professor Heather Joshi, of the University of London's Centre for Longitudinal Studies, who authored the report told the Independent that the findings will serve to stop women feeling guilty about returning to work.
"There has traditionally been a concern that the employment of mothers comes at the expense of child development." she said. "But as the percentage of mothers in work has gone up, any impact on children has diminished."
This is reassuring news for mums who have no choice but to go back to work - recent research by Parentdish in the State of Parenting Today survey found that only 10 per cent of mums felt it was important to go back to work after having children in order to develop their career - most (63 per cent) told us they worked because they simply could not afford to stay at home.