Having kids doesn't hurt a mom's performance at work; in fact, it may enhance it, a study suggests. Researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis (who are all male, the Washington Post reports) found that in the span of three decades, moms were more productive than women without kids; what's more, moms of at least two kids were more productive than those with fewer, the Post reports. Fatherhood was also apparently associated with productivity: Dads with at least two kids were more productive than those with one or none. The study's population was, however, limited to a fairly privileged group: some 10,000 academic economists.
They're a handy group to study because it's easy to determine their work output, and they have similar educational backgrounds. But they are also likely to have better access to childcare than others might, and their parenthood is "usually planned," the researchers say, as Today reports. Meanwhile, a causal relationship isn't clear: It's not necessarily the fact of being a parent that led to these workers' success. "Women who are more productive in the first place may be more likely to become mothers," notes a researcher, as Vox reports. That site raises some concerns with the study, which seems to suggest limits on when a mother should have kids if she wants to maximize productivity—with the ideal age being between 30 and 34. (In other news on work and parenting: Earlier this year, a Pew study found that more mothers were staying home full-time.)