Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Working Moms - Are Your Children Unhealthy???

Over the weekend, I was contacted by a producer with ABC News for Good Morning America Weekend. 


We corresponded back and forth quite a bit, but I ultimately decided that it would be impossible for me to make a day trek to NYC this week (which also happens to be my last week of work) to participate in a taping of a roundtable discussion of 4 working moms that would air this coming weekend.


And then they were going to use their Boston-based producer to film me and the boyz and my husband at home in the Trenches.


But logistically, it was too much.  The boyz have school.  I have work (my last week!  Oh, did I already mention that?) and Hubby has work.  So I graciously declined.  It would be too much juggling, switching, rearranging.  In such short notice.

I actually wasn't even going to mention this.  I'm still in huDge disbelief about the entire interaction.  Me?  They wanted ME?  Little old me? AndohmygahwhatifIhadmadeafoolofmyselfonnationaltelevision?

But the topic to be discussed is one that is quite fascinating:

A new study out of the UK found that children of working mothers are less active and more likely to eat unhealthy food.  The study found that many of the children whom they followed watched more TV, ate less fruits and veggies, got less exercise, and drank more sugary drinks than children of stay-at-home moms.

When I spoke with the ABC producer, I opined that this fact holds true in my Trenches.  And my Hubby agreed.  I eat healthier than Hubby.  I know how to cook healthier.  I am more conscious of what I serve the boyz (for breakfast, in their school lunchboxes, and for meals) than Hubby is, or cares to be.  But because I'm working, and especially during sports seasons (football and baseball), we tend to eat a lot more convenience foods - more grab & go items; more McD's; more pizza takeout; more uh, cereal for dinner...because I am simply NOT HOME to prepare the meals. 

(By the way?  Hubby has never met a stick of butter, a slab of cheese, or a healthy scoop of mayo that he didn't like.  In fact, he's the one person on this planet who has the keen ability to take a healthy portion of food and instantly make it unhealthy by adding one of those 3 ingredients.  Every time.)

But my boyz are VERY active.  So that part of the study doesn't hold true for my situation.  What else doesn't hold true is the fact that my boyz are, in fact, UNDERWEIGHT.  All 3 of them.  I have a 54lb. 8-year old; a 34lb. 5-year old; and a 32lb. 4-year old.  Who eat real butter, full-fat sour cream, and still drink WHOLE MILK, per doctor's orders.

Please note that the leader of the study explained that they didn't look at fathers because the number of working fathers has remained relatively the same; whereas the number of working mothers has increased dramatically. *coughBULLSHITcough*  This offends me.  It seems to me that this British study yet again seems to be doing nothing but pitting working moms against stay-at-home moms.  And adding to the working mother guilt.

And I refuse to feel guilty that my boyz sometimes eat McDonald's.

I'd soooo love to hear your opinions on this...


Rita Templeton said...

I think it's horrible that they singled out working moms, like if you work outside the home, your kids are automatically going to be unhealthy. I've got news for them: I'm a SAHM and my kids watch a ton of TV. AND I do the cereal-for-dinner nights, and the convenience foods sometimes, just because I'm so tired at the end of the day. It doesn't have anything to do with working outside the home or inside the home; it's simply that motherhood is exhausting, no matter what, and it's not always easy to keep up with healthy meals and exercise and enriching activities ... at least not every single day!

Funny, I just wrote a blog post along these lines yesterday. :)

Sarah said...

We were JUST talking about this this weekend - how much CRAP we eat on the weekends. Our kids are still little, so we don't have events after work yet. We write a menu for the week and stick to it, but our main problem lies in the weekends. We do fun stuff, and are out all day snacking. We don't want to cook a big meal or have to clean up so we end up eating junk. Trying hard to rectify this, but it is HARD.

As for activity, my kids aren't actually very active. I hate that the daycare they are in only takes them outside to play 2x a day. I know if I was home with them, when it is nice out we would be out all day. (like we are on the weekends). I am sure that will change when they get into school and sports, and getting home earlier. We are thinking about switching to the Y program when E hits K/Garten, partly because they do have them outside all day.

Weight hasn't been an issue though - all my kids are little (4 yo G, 32lbs, 2 yo G - 26 lbs, 1 yo B - 23 lbs.)

Too bad you had to miss out on this ABC gig. Hope another one comes along for you!


Julie {Angry Julie Monday} said...

Look at you Ms. Famous.

My son is healthy mostly, he has asthma but I have asthma. Being a working mom, has nothing to do with it.

He goes to a great preschool and they feed him proper portions and tons of fruits and vegetables. The kid is soo skinny, but he's really active too.

And speaking of working moms, I went to a taping of Dr. Phil in August. The episode airs tomorrow, it's about working moms, it got nasty! Yikes!

Annie said...

Congrats on ABC contacting you - that is pretty awesome! The only contact I've ever had from TV producers was from the makers of Supernanny inviting me to apply to be on the show?! LMAO!

I agree with you - this study does smack of stirring the mommy wars pot - it's gotten so OLD.

If it makes any working mom feel better - I am a SAHM - in Florida - in record breaking heat - I can't remember the last day my kids got to play outside (okay it was Saturday and it lasted a whole 15 mins before they were begging for mercy from the heat and sweat) - AND - they just had McDonalds for lunch for the second time this week.

It's not whether you're a working mom or a stay at home mom - it's what kind of mom you are period - that determines how healthy your kids are - and no study with it's statistics will ever convince me otherwise.

The above is not typical for us - I just felt particularly lazy today and so we took the junk food route - I'm happy and confident that they eat healthily - 'most' of the time - and that's good enough.

The Double Dipped Life said...

I agree with Rita/Fighting Off Frumpy. this is not a "condition" that only Working mom's deal with. I have health issues, and so some days my kids sit in front of the tv all day, and have mac/cheese or whatever for dinner. It's sad, but true. Life goes on.

Kimi said...

I think this is an issue for both working and stay at home moms and their families. It seems very unfair to single out working mothers as the only ones who sometimes just do not have the time to do it all healthy.

And HOLY Hannah...TV? Seriously You are awesome. I'm in awe.

HaB said...

Holy range of emotions as I read this. I am a working mom and I have HUGE issues with anything that even remotely hints at the fact that I am NOT providing the best I possibly can for my daughter because I work outside my home. And, this covers EVERYTHING from her care to her diet.

My daughter was born with GERD. She has been borderline FTT her entire life. We struggle to keep weight on her. We are lucky if we hit 25lbs at the doctors office, fully clothed, with a full soggy diaper. Ugh. And, to even hint that my choice in having a career plays a roll in that, by not having time to provide balanced meals. Double UGH.

I count my blessings and thank my luck stars that my daughter would rather eat fresh fruits & veggies, crackers & cheese over a piece of pizza or a cookie. Hands down, I probably spend a minimum of $40 a week in the produce section alone for my child. But, that is all she wants to eat.

Yes - it is harder being a working mom and having a husband that works nights. But, with a little extra effort and time on our already jammed packed weekends, I do meal planning and try my very best to avoid take out. Yes, we do drive thru nuggets on nights where the thought of rushing home & making dinner after a 30 minutes commute pushes me over the edge. That is part of life - and I think any mom would be hard pressed to say that had NEVER done the same thing.

And, trust me, she has just as much energy to burn running around the house chasing the kittens on those nights, as she does where I put a plate of meat, potatoes & veggies in front of her.

Maria, a working mom said...

I love how they always seem to find more and more things to blame on us working moms....but has anyone EVER offered a solution?! Most of us work because we HAVE to have two incomes to support a family. It is the rare family who can make it work on only one income these days.....But I NEVER see anyone talking about that side of it....
Stepping down off my soapbox now....

Claire said...

Ugh. We try to do what's right by our families - whether it's working to supplement income or staying home because it's more cost effective OR working to fill a personal desire or staying home to fill a personal desire - but we can't win.

Why don't dads ever get this kind of criticism??

BTW, I'm a working mom of 2 girls (ages 3 and 17mo) and I try very hard to feed them healthy foods and keep them active, etc. Honestly, I think I do a better job at it BECAUSE I work, so I'm constantly trying to make up for "mommy" duties in other areas like feeding them well and doing super-fun active things after school and on the weekend.

It's never going to be easy, though, is it?

Becky said...

Just another case of blaming moms who aren't home with their kids for all the woes in this world.

Jeanette said...

These arguments drive me insane. I'm a single mom. Yes SINGLE. I've raised two children into adulthood. They are both productive members of society and have never been in jail or done harm to anyone.

One of them is overweight. His choices.

I have three still at home. Yes we eat McDonalds. So what. None of the three still at home are overweight.

I used to stress about being a working mom and a single mom (afterall, you know how THOSE children turn out). I never had a choice to be something else. Unless these stupid study people would like to pay me to raise my children, I'm thinking that I'm doing ok.

The guilt foisted on moms single or otherwise, is just wrong.

Sorry....ya hit a nerve, but I love your blog just the same!

Pollyanna said...

I guess it would be considered a sad state of affairs when you tell you kids that Daddy is working late and they shout, "Yay! Cereal for dinner!"

So cool about ABC calling you!

Vodka Logic said...

Cool being called by ABC, and I agree why single out working moms. Beside the man in my house does the cooking so if it is unhealthy blame him... mostly.

And besides cereal is fortified I can think of worse things to eat.

Candi said...

I agree with the commenter that said it depends on the type of mom you are, not if you work outside the home.

I have the best of both worlds - I work a professional consulting job completely from home so I am home all day but still earn a nice income. But still, there are nights when I am just too tired to put together a wholesome meal and we end up ordering pizza or my nine year old makes us PB & J sandwiches. I figure it all balances out over the course of the week and I don't strss over it.

I have one kid that is very active with soccer and is always playing outside, and the other I can't drag away from the tv. I don't think this would change if I started working in an office, or if I stopped my consulting business.

Just my 2 cents!

confused homemaker said...

There is probably a higher correlation for working out of the home simply because of the time crunch that exists is greater for women who work out of the home. And women are still socially expected to do the majority of the carework in the home, hence it becomes "their fault". BUT What about DAD???? I mean Dad (or other caregivers) could contribute to healthier meals, it's not only Mom who can do this. Another way to blame Mom.

Also, I would argue there is a larger issue of health across board & loss of the knowledge base on how to make easy/fast/simple meals that taste good without making us feel overwhelmed on busy days.

Ok, I better stop before I write a mini post here. Congrats on getting into the talks with the producer. Even if didn't work out this time, maybe in the future.

Chaotic Joy said...

I am not going to opine on this because I haven't been a working mother since before the creation of the wheen...BUT...YOU'RE NOT WORKING ANYMORE???? This is huge news. Off to go read that post.

jules said...

I was fortunate enough to be a stay at home mom when our children were small. They had cereal for supper sometimes too. I would never judge anyone who works or stays home. That has nothing to do with it, there are too many other factors unique to everyone's situation.

Cool that you got called though!

Amanda said...

I am THRILLED for you that someone validated how valuable and important you and your opinion are!!

You rock!!!


Jen said...

I don't like this at all. I have a food in both worlds. I stay at home with my kids but I also work a couple days a week. I try and do the best that I can to make sure that they are eating the good stuff and getting out to play and run around. My kids are in not overweight but a couple of them are on the higher end of the spectrum but that also has something to do with genetics.
This just upsets me. I refuse to feel guilty about some of the crap that I give my kids to eat. All in moderation. That is what I say.

Oh and how cool, they called you!

Jenn@ The Crazies said...

While I do agree that MY kids dont eat as healthy as I would like them to because I cook less ( during sports months) my kids are relatively active and are .. like your boyz... small for their ages. ) Though they enjoy their video games and tv.. they are active w/ sports and the Wii... I try to keep them moving even on the weekends. Guess we just need to work on the healthier food options! Oh... And I am super excited for you that they wanted to include YOU!! Because you ROCK!

Carrie Ella said...

What an exciting opportunity for you. It's too bad it didn't pan out.

Honestly, I'm so sick of the mommy wars - will it ever end?

I just watched the previews for Dr. Phil's show tomorrow and the title is 'Mommy Guilt' Career Moms vs Stay-at-home Moms - with a couple of big name bloggers taking center stage. THAT should be interesting!

A Fist Full of Dandelions said...

How cool would that have been to be on TV?!

My son is way more active than my SAHM friend's kids. He doesn't know what a TV is b/c he NEVER gets to watch. He is constantly on the go.

As for eating...well, he is a really picky eater. I try new things, but give him what he wants b/c he is small for his age.

Judy said...

First of all, I'm taking a moment of silence to honor your almost-famousness. WOW! Seriously???? That is totally awesome that they called you! You RAWK!

While I don't work full-time, I do work at the preschool and on my facebook stuff (haha - kidding, well, not really, but I do have my irons in WAAAAAAAY too many fires right now). I must say, I am so anti-convenience food right now, it is almost frightening. Cereals aren't even my favorite thing right now. In fact, I was daydreaming on the way home about GROWING MY OWN GRAINS to turn into cereals so I wouldn't be buying the commercialized overpriced gunk! How freakazoid is that??? I know! I'm the last person I would suspect to go granola and do the whole organic/fend for yourself (literally) thing, but I'm just less and less impressed with what I see on the shelves and at the restaurants and more and more impressed with what I can do with a tiny bit of time, some dirt and a few seeds.

Michelle said...

Sarah, I wish you could have done it, that is so awesome! I hope you told them to keep you in mind for the next time.

As for the whole working mom vs SAHM debate and healthy eating, I think it soley depends on the mom or dad who is doing the cooking.

Maureen said...

Hate reading about these types of studies. Hate it, and I completely think it's up to the parents... kids will eat what is offered. Period. Busy times; we eat crap. If I want the kids to eat well, i have to plan for it. Just like for me... regardless of our employment...

@TiffanyRom said...

Lsst week of work??? Call me. You have time and we have plans!

@TiffanyRom said...

Oh wait.

Nevermind, just read that you got a new job- but I am SO thrilled for your commute to be cut down, plus I heart Staples.

We need to catch up.


Michelle said...

I work and still make good meals every night. When I work evenings my husband usually makes tacos or tuna helper or left-overs, which is not entirely unhealthy. I find that on my days off we eat the most unhealthy at lunch time because I am trying to get a lot of things done. Mac and cheese or frozen stuff. I have found that the busier I am the more I plan and the more stuff I get done. If I was at home everyday we would probably do more MacD's!

Green Cleaning Coach said...

I'd be more than willing to fill in for you! Can I get an introduction to your producer friend!

Pam said...

Mothers of all sorts do not need any more reasons to feel guilty. We do a fine job of that all on our own, thank you. And I bet the author of this study was a man. What we need is more women scientists doing studies about how men ruin their children's lives to even out the field a bit, dontcha think?


Related Posts with Thumbnails