It’s taken a while for me to put my thoughts on this down. My first reaction to this Daily Fail story was, unsurprisingly, “more mum bashing from the click bait trash peddler”. Then I noticed the same study had been picked up by more national newspapers. In fact the headline in the Times was far worse.
So I thought I better read it properly. I’m not going to bore you with the scientific detail itself, but it was quite an interesting study. Finger-pointing headlines aside, the findings did ring true.
It wasn’t actually about blaming mums. What the study found was that if a mum works, children are more likely to be obese. BUT, and this is where the headlines annoyed me, it’s not just down to the mother.
The study is a stark reminder that the balance of care and duty when it comes to children is still very much weighted towards mothers i.e. father’s still aren’t pulling their weight. Despite having careers too, we are still responsible for sorting all the other stuff. We have so many balls to juggle which can sometimes understandably mean, we are more likely to succumb to feeding our little ones freezer tapas and the like.
It didn’t look at the rising cost of living, or the difference in price between fresh fruit and veg Vs processed, beige foods or the fact so many foods are pumped with crap we didn’t know about! It didn’t mention the lack reduction in PE and sports at schools or the fact that it is now rare to find a primary school that offers free swimming lessons for all pupils (as much as I despised it as a child, I now realise it was a good thing!) Nor did it describe fathers as being ‘absent’ for going out to work.
In fact it found that that when father’s take a more active roll in children’s eating habits (i.e. share the responsibility, duh) children are healthier.
Men still shirking a shed load of parental responsibility and it’s making our kids fat. THIS is the headline they should have gone with.
But no, it’s so much easier to blame us. Everything else is our fault right?!
All this study showed was that the parental divide still exists and women are carrying the brunt.
I’d have liked to see the study conducted on lesbian couples. Are their kids extremely obese? Or have they mastered the art of equal division of labour. Likewise for gay dads.
Either way, I’m taking this study as a good thing. Not because of the guilt our papers tried to throw at us, but as evidence to dads that they need to step up. Its not about mums whining and nagging. Its about the future health of our children.
Children are continuously being weighed and monitored in schools – be it good or bad – but we need to stop finger pointing and getting all parents and wider society involved in managing this issue.