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Working Moms: Save The Guilt

Mothers who work while their children are young can take comfort. A new study says that such children suffer no ill effects, reports CBS News Correspondent Randall Pinkston.

Kim Amzallag is one of these. From the time she had her first child twelve years ago, Kim Amzallag never considered being a stay-at-home mom. Now with three children, mornings can be hectic. "All of them are used to the fact that I work but I think the baby misses me the most," says Amzallag, who sells advertising for a national magazine.

"A lot of people were surprised because I think there's a popular opinion that mothers' working does harm children," says psychologist Elizabeth Harvey, who conducted the study.

The study's author surveyed adolescent children, comparing those whose mothers went to work when they were under three to those whose mothers stayed at home.

"I compared them on their language developments, their academic achievement, their level of behavioral problems and their self esteem," says Harvey, "and I found no differences whatsoever in those two groups of children."

But Harvey's results are rejected by conservative critic Danielle Crittenden, who points to earlier research. These studies suggested that children whose mothers worked when they were young did suffer harmful effects. Says Crittenden "We are ignoring children's needs, and trying to reassure working mothers on evidence that is not, frankly, overwhelmingly reassuring."

The study's author isn't closing the book on the subject, recommending additional research on the effect of parental employment on young children. She also urges an analysis of the quality of daycare, which is an issue of vital concern to any parent who works.