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Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Couldn't have said it better...

I am a reluctant late starter in the world of social media and am yet to fully embrace it, however a while back I subscribed to a fabulous blog called 'Crumbs Feed your Family' and have been devouring their emails daily ever since. Here is their most recent tasty morsel, Enjoy!:

"As a working mother I'd like to bust a few myths. I feel NO guilt. I skip to work in the morning (after I've stuffed my children's pockets full of crisps and trans fatty biscuits and dropped them off at inadequate childcare). I rarely feel overwhelmed by the amount of things I have to do each day, which range from editorial meetings to trying to scrape off the slick of Weetabix which I seem to wear permanently on my right shoulder. I love trying to make a tube of empty toothpaste last the best part of a week because I don't know when I'll next get to the shops, or wondering whether my children will rebel at having to eat chickpeas for lunch and tea because the online delivery isn't arriving until they've gone to bed.

What else? I love cleaning the house in what used to be my "leisure time", ironing is like a hobby to me and spending a Saturday night trying to stop the bannister from feeling so sticky is FUN! So when I do manage to find some time to read a paper or some news permeates this bubble and it is of the:

Children with working mothers 6 times more likely to be fat or Children whose mothers work are 'less healthy' variety, I just shrug my shoulders and think "fair 'nuff" and get on with pumping up the tyres on my children's balance bike while planning what processed food I'm going to give them for tea.

Because, as we all know, mothers who work choose to work. We do it because it's fun. Not because we have to. Not because there's a mortgage to pay and food to put on the table. Nope, we do it for a laugh. Or at least that's what you'd think from all the blame that's laid at our feet.

So yesterday I had a refreshing surprise at a conference where the academics have taken a second look at much of the research which has told us that working mums are the cause of children's ill health. Instead they found that "maternal employment was not related to foods children consumed." They felt that the original research was limited in how it was interpreted and they wanted to redress the balance by looking at the data in a different way. I won't go in to details here (but do contact me if you want them), but the key fact here is that it isn't our fault! They felt that there were more important factors involved in what children ate than working mothers, such as timing.

By using family meals as an indicator for healthy eating they found that the problem wasn't mothers working, instead it was getting the whole family together. And this was often because fathers were still at work so unable to eat with everyone else. A charity called Working Families had researched the area and found that families eat together, on average, twice a week - presumably at the weekend. They have also done another study which showed that fathers who work flexibly are pychologically and physically healthier than those who can't. Their research also showed that flexible working alleviated pressure at home and enabled parents to share responsibilities. This can only be a good thing when another stat was that mothers are the main food provider in 93 percent of families. So when you see another article blaming working mothers for everything from obesity to social alienation, think that maybe it isn't really our fault. Maybe it's the fault of working men! And rather than just give them a kicking for it, maybe there is an answer, and it isn't "give up your job", it's to allow them to work flexibly. What do you think?"