While the debate rages on over whether kids benefit from having a stay-at-home mom versus one that's working, one aspect that's surfaced of late is the effect of the differing motherhood lifestyles on the brains of children. The short answer is that the brain development and thinking processes are different, but that doesn't necessarily determine whether one is better than the other.
Naturally, the long answer is much more complicated. One advantage of staying at home, according to Scotland-based researcher Edward Bishop, is that the baby will be in a secure environment with at least one parent around and will have far less stress, fostering more cognitive emotional growth in later life. This will make that child far more confident and more at ease in social interactions. Much of that has to do with a baby's capacity to triangulate better than children of working moms. Triangulation allows a baby to detect the presence of other people present in the room, which helps them learn the concept of distance, an essential element in math.
It's a notion supported by social economist Jane Waldfogel at Columbia University, who researched that unconditional love by devoted parents is important for a child's well-being, especially if the mother decides to return to work. If that same mother provided all the nurturing that the baby needed before getting back into the workforce, that child would adjust to the situation more easily than if a mother was negligent in previously addressing that child's needs.
However, a recent study conducted by Harvard involving more than 100,000 children in 29 countries discovered that children of working moms tended to be more well-adjusted than those whose mothers stayed at home. Those with working mothers were more likely to be employed, occupy leadership positions like management-level occupations, and earn more than their mom-at-home counterparts. In particular, sons of working mothers had a more egalitarian view of work and family. Often spending more time with their own children, choosing workplaces that stress gender equality and marrying spouses who also worked.
That said, much of it boiled down to how the children were raised in the household, regardless of the mother's working status. If the mother devoted whatever time she had towards child nurturing, studies indicated children were still quite well off.