working moms vs. sahms

Isobel - posted on 07/23/2010 ( 58 moms have responded )

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Study: Working Moms Have Less Healthy Kids

by Beth Shea in Uncategorized
Visited 930 times, 3 so far today

Findings of a recent British study are certain to unnerve working moms. Children whose mothers work outside of the home are more likely to eat unhealthy foods, watch too much television and are less likely to exercise. The study tracked the dietary habits and physical activity of more than 12,500 children ages nine months to five years. The results point toward working parents not having as much time to “provide their children with healthy foods and opportunities for physical activity.”

The study also noted that children of working moms were more often driven to school as opposed to walking or riding a bike. This in turn helped foster a sedentary lifestyle in which sitting in front of the computer or television was in excess of 2 hours a day. On the contrary, kids of stay at home moms logged less than 2 hours of media viewing and got more exercise.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, and there are most likely plenty of stay at home moms who do not monitor their children’s diet, physical activity and media intake properly — while there must also exist many working mothers who put every effort into their child’s feeding and exercise plan and make sure their television time is not excessive. As with all of these types of studies, they should serve as a reminder to stay aware of our children’s needs in order to offer them the healthiest lifestyle possible. – Beth Shea, Staff Writer

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Jodi - posted on 08/01/2010

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Personally, I don't think banning all junk is the solution. I think the kids need to be educated about healthy eating from a young age, and the reasons for healthy eating. It's like a lot of things, they need to learn how to eat junk food in moderation. After all, I'm not giving up my Tim Tams, why should I expect my kids to?

Tara - posted on 07/25/2010

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I don't know enough about the study to really comment except to say there are SO many factors in the health of people beyond diet.
Simply where you live, rural vs. urban. Urban children are generally more overweight and less healthy than those that live in the counrtyside.
Other factors like genetics, parental examples, peer examples, income level, proximity to organized recreational activities etc.
Being a mom who is self-employed most of the year and at home the rest, we homeschool so I see my kids all the time. And that allows for flexibility in our lives. They are all very healthy, but we live and work in a beautiful clean place. And we work outside, ALL of us, together.
Different strokes for different folks makes for different levels of health and well-being, not just whether mom is home afterschool or not.
Tara

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It's a pity this has turned into an us vs them thing. There should be solidarity of all mums, whatever their choices or life circumstances. I don't really think researchers like this mean to cause a great divide, but it always seems to turn out that way.

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Stifler's - posted on 08/02/2010

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I think some people just have no choice and that's the way it has to be. If they don't have a partner and it will make them more money to go back to work and put the kids in care then more power to them and if they have a partner and it's actually profitable to go back to work then why not. I get extremely sick of looking after my kid 24/7 and sometimes would rather go back to work but I would have to pay childcare more than I wold make. Go ahead and judge me for saying that, whatever.

Jodi - posted on 08/01/2010

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Anyway, on this working mum, SAHM debate (just to go back on topic, LOL), there was a news report this morning on more of this....

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/nationa...

MUMS can return to work within a year of giving birth without harming their babies' development, a landmark US report shows.

Overturning decades of research, the biggest-ever study into the emotionally charged topic found the positives offset the negatives for mums who head back to employment before their children turn one, The Herald Sun reports.

Working mums have higher income, are more likely to seek quality childcare and display greater "maternal sensitivity" than their stay-at-home counterparts.

On the downside, infants with mums who work full-time score slightly lower on intelligence tests until they start primary school. Part-time employment and full-time jobs after the child turns one, however, have no negative effect.

But Emma Grey, author and founder of worklifebliss.com.au, says the US study deals with a "very subjective" topic that needs more work in Australia.

"We're making good progress and the topic is being discussed a lot. But it hasn't gone far enough," Grey told news.com.au.

"I think what's missing (from the study) is looking at an individual angle," she said.

"It's a 'choose-your-own-adventure' for every mother. They have to ask themselves, 'how can I be the best mother that I can be?'

"It's about asking that question of yourself and getting the balance right for your kids and partner. It's an individual choice."

The report, First-Year Maternal Employment and Child Development in the First Seven Years, is the first to provide the full picture on working mums with small children because it weighs the advantages against the disadvantages.

Previous reports looked only at the potential damage caused by a mother's absence from the home.

Melbourne mum of three Amanda Cox, founder of the parenting support group Bad Mothers Club, combined working at the family wedding reception business and studying for a degree in health promotion when her first son, Matthew, was less than 12 months old.

When her second son, Jamie, was born she returned to work again when he was 10 months.

"There's definitely a lot of guilt placed on working mums, because they're led to believe they're damaging their children - but you're potentially putting yourself at risk by not doing what you need to do," she said.

"It was definitely something that I needed to do."

Grey said workplaces need to better understand the needs of all employees and that flexibility and a balanced perspective are the key.

"A lot of managers don't know how to deal with parents," she said.


"Some people and some industries tend to have greater flexibilities than others."

Grey advised parents to manage their workload, not take too much home, and focus on their relationships with their partners as well.

"They can be the architect of their own lifestyle and look at all their options. This is a dynamic that will change as their kids get older," said Grey, who noted that more of her clients are going part-time as their kids enter high school.

"Your life is like a book; you don't have to squeeze the whole plot into one chapter," she said.

Ms Cox welcomed the report's findings.

"I think it's really good that this study is coming out and qualifying the previous stuff a little bit," she said.

"There's a lot of negativity out there - and what that negativity does is give ammunition to people who think you shouldn't put your children into childcare."

Jodi - posted on 08/01/2010

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I think some schools got a bit anal.....I could totally understand if all the kids ate like that every day in a canteen, but in Australia they don't (well most kids don't)



But some of the Mrs Macs pies are on the allowable list, and they are yummy, so obviously your school was one of the ones that went a bit anal.....

Stifler's - posted on 08/01/2010

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They changed the good tasting sausage rolls to crap tasting ones. It's so stupid if you ask me. They're just going to go home and eat crap food anyway.

Jodi - posted on 08/01/2010

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Ours still has pies and sausage rolls......they are low fat ones, but there are many foods that have the tick of approval as Healthy Kids Registered products that you wouldn't think would be.... We do chicken nuggets, wedges, fish burgers, chicken burgers, pizza, nachos, pasta, cakes, popcorn (and lots more). It's about how it is cooked and the fat/sugar content in the products. At my son's school they still have coke, just the diet versions. We also still have special "red" days (2 each term) where the kids can have junk the canteen can't normally stock.



So I don't know how radical your school went, but there's still plenty of yummy food that can be healthy. Not all brands of pies or sausage rolls would be ok, but there ARE canteen approved ones that are just as yummy.

Stifler's - posted on 08/01/2010

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Yeah. Sausage rolls and pies and coke. It's not unhealthy to eat a pie once a fortnight or a cheese and chicken toasted sandwich or one can of coke. My mum packed me a sandwich and an apple or a fruit thingie for lunch most days, and we had tuckshop every once in a while. It's the fat idiots with little packets of chips and crap like that that ruin it for everyone.

Jodi - posted on 08/01/2010

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Emma, it is a minority, unfortunately, who made it difficult for everyone else. What do you mean by "good" foods? The junk?

Stifler's - posted on 08/01/2010

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I live in Australia, and we don't have school dinners or whatever here. We have tuckshop and it's meant to be a treat like one day a week, yet people can't control themselves and are too lazy to pack sandwiches and a banana so all the good foods got taken away the year after I finished school.

Sharon - posted on 07/25/2010

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No no no!!! LOL we LOVE sushi - I just don't make it, hahaha!!! Its a pain, special rice, special knives, a good knack at the wrapping etc. I don't have that touch, heeheehee!

Jane - posted on 07/25/2010

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@Sharon - I have never bought hamburger helper before (LOL) but I must say that pizza is not an unhealthy food so I have to correct my "I cook" every night. Pizza is actually very healthy if ordered correctly. But we make our own pizzas at home...my husband makes an amazing foccacia bread dough that we use for the crust and yummy. I've just never been a boxed dinner person. We always have pasta and my homemade sauce in the freezer for the "crap - forgot this or that" type situation. We also keep dried beans (15 bean, lentils, navy, etc) in the pantry so we can do that with homemade bread in a pinch!

And...you should be ashamed of yourself (said laughing)...you're japanese and don't eat sushi? OMG...I couldn't LIVE without sushi...just had some Friday night and it was sooooooo good!

[deleted account]

awww....that's sad! shouldn't he already be in school? My niece is 3 and in pre-school 3 days a week.

Sara - posted on 07/25/2010

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Yeah, in my opinion, that borders on child neglect.
I asked what is she going to do when it's time for him to go to school and I guess she's going to homeschool him. Poor kid. He's not socialized at all and now he's probably going to be illiterate too, judging from her past record in how much time she takes with him. Horrible.

Sara - posted on 07/25/2010

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My first instinct is to call BS! A friend of mine has a sister who is a very lazy SAHM. Her 5 year old (who is developmentally normal) is not potty trained, because she hasn't taken the time to do it. So, I don't think it's about whether you stay home or not, but what you do with the time when you are with your kids.

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Sharon are you saying that you don't want schools to adopt the "healthy food" policy so that your kids can have a competitive advantage? lmao....in the most sincere way possible!

Sharon - posted on 07/25/2010

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Um for the record - I'm against schools taking on a "healthy" only food thing. My kids eat plenty healthy here at home for one. Two - this is just another edge for my kids!! AHAHAHA for all the lazy parents not serving a decent breakfast, feeding crap 24/7 - just puts my kids ahead without ME making a real effort! hahahahaha!!!!!!!

Jodi - posted on 07/25/2010

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Sara, I've been watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, which covers school breakfast and lunches, and I have to admit, I am absolutely horrified at the crap those kids were being served up. That would freak me out if my kids were eating that every day.



In Australia, we generally pack our kids lunches, and the canteens are for 'lunch orders'. All of our public schools MUST comply with a healthy food policy. Private and Catholic schools can choose whether or not they wish to comply. But most kids only have a lunch order once a week or every couple of weeks. It isn't an every day thing, so therefore, it isn't as big a concern.



From what I see in the US, it IS an every day thing in the schools for most kids (correct me if I am wrong), and I think it is TERRIBLE to be serving up this food to the kids every day!!!

[deleted account]

Ours does too, Loureen....I'm pretty sure anyhow. I do think that it's much more difficult to enforce the policy in highschool though.

Charlie - posted on 07/25/2010

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our healthy food policy extends through to high school , i love it !

[deleted account]

Maybe we should start a thread about school breakfast and lunch programs. I have a lot to say about that.

I taught in the top school district in my state. They are number one in academics and rank near the top in athletics. The buildings are beautiful. The teachers are top rated and there is a very low turn over rate. There is no lack of supplies and technology.

So I don't understand why they continue to contract out the cheapest school food provider. IT"S CRAP! I had morning cafeteria duty. I watched what the kids were served every morning for breakfast. Cinnamon roles, breakfast pizza, pancakes and syrup...crap crap crap. I considered making a chart based on what was served for breakfast and the behavior of the kids throughout the day. I seriously noticed more hyperactivity on cinnamon role day.

Erin - posted on 07/25/2010

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I agree that this study leaves out a lot of factors. My son is almost 10 months old. I have been home with him since he was born. But my job allows me to work from home. If I couldn't work from home we wouldn't be able to afford me staying at home. I could go back full time but it wouldn't be worth paying for child care. So I think I am very lucky to be able to stay with my son.

All of us moms try to do what we think is best for our children. But we also do what we need to do to be able to do that for them. Some people have the choice to work and some don't. We shouldn't judge people for what they might have to do. We should support each other and their decisions.

[deleted account]

I can only hope that some of the public schools around here adopt the preschool policy! But I can certainly make it our own personal policy and my son just has to deal with it.

[deleted account]

I am a full time working mom and while I attempt to prepare healthy meals every night, shit happens. So there are times when a box of Kraft mac n cheese or canned Progresso soup is dinner. The other day my chicken didn't defrost so dinner was soup & salad. No biggie. And yes, I am very much aware of the sodium contents but I am not making this a 7 day a week dinner.

Oh, and the preschool "Healthy Lunch" policy is absolutely perfect! I lvoe it and my son has figured out good vs. bad lunch options this past year. Sadly, he'll be moving onto Kindergarten and I know he'll catch on very quickly that he is allowed to have crap food in his lunch box. We'll make it an every Friday treat.

[deleted account]

I think they're implementing the "healthy food" policy everywhere?! Well, they are where I'm from....I don't know about the pre-schools or daycares but I do know that once they hit kindergarten right through highschool there are programs in place.

Shelley - posted on 07/24/2010

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I too worked in childcare and our centre was the same healthy food policy and we provided breakfast mt lunch at. Also there was a rule whereby the kids could only watch 1/2hr per week of an educational dvd/tv program. In a 12 hr day 6 hrs were allocated to outdoor play

Sharon - posted on 07/24/2010

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LOL well I can't say we eat healthy EVERY night. And I keep a supply of hamburger helper in the pantry.

I may not always have bread crumbs or eggs or SOMETHING but by god I've always got chicken/groundbeef/tuna and a salty box of crap.

Friday night is usually our family movie night and the kids get to pick what they want for dinner. 9 times out of 10 its PIZZA.

Tonight I overcooked the apsaragus.. sonofabitch... argh. Tasted great but was SQUISHY. Kinda pissed me off. Oh well.

I keep a supply of junkfood on hand - but geeze, my son's b-day was over a week ago and we still have 1/4 of the danged cookie cake left. Junkfood tends to last a while.

I had to drag the kids into the house tonight and flat out tell them "NO GOING OUTSIDE" for the rest of the night.

I think we have a good healthy balance.

And I'm japanese and I don't make sushi!!!

Jane - posted on 07/24/2010

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Hmmmm....my only comment is what-ever! I'm a full time working mom and we eat a healthy dinner EVERY night. No boxed stuff....fresh veggies, lean meats, fiber rich foods, no sugar cereals for breakfast ever in my house, low fat choices of snack foods. I have no doubt that this might be true for some working mom families but it wasn't for mine. My kids exercise, eat healthy, don't drink or do drugs, participate(d) in sports and music and were rarely sick. My son is asthmatic but that's hereditary. Other than that, healthy, healthy, healthy.

[deleted account]

hmmmm.....you know, I'm a stay at home mom and we ordered Pizza tonight. No homemade sushi or grilled salmon patties for us. But typically I will cook. It was a treat for us tonight. =)

Charlie - posted on 07/24/2010

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You know this got me thinking , at our kindy we served morning tea , lunch and afternoon tea , this was the majority of food the children got in their daily lives we had strict healthy eating policies and their diets at school consisted of foods such as sushi (made by the children ), lots of fruit , veggies , yogurt , cheese , crackers , soups , fresh pasta ( also made by the children ) and pasta sauces there was no junk food allowed in our center and these were the kids of working mums and dads all very healthy with plenty of exercise !!

I dont put a lot into this "study"

Sharon - posted on 07/24/2010

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psh! two nights ago - I dipped orange roughy in egg, dredged in breadcrumbs and baked - didn't brown up but turned out AWESOME.

Tonight its chicken tandoori served over rice (set it to cook this morning before I left in a rice pot) with bacon wrapped aspargus cooked in my toaster oven on broil. It'll take 15 minutes for all of it.

The people who did that study can kiss my yellow ass. (I'm told its more creamy white - but whatever! hahahaha!!!)

[deleted account]

I'll be there as soon as possible....how long is the flight from Canada? 22 hours or somethin stupid?! Just save me some! ;)

Charlie - posted on 07/24/2010

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yum salmon ..............i want some raw salmon right now with a shitload of wasabi and soy sauce .

Gawd i want a whole anti pregnancy feast ........sashimi , Camembert , soft serve ice cream *drool*

[deleted account]

mmm.....salmon.....we had the best wild sockeye salmon the other night! SO yummy and so easy to prepare!

Sharon - posted on 07/24/2010

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I agree. I had the hardest time being a stay at home mom. It took YEARS to find a way to cope (god bless the internet and free porn - kidding) without turning to oprah and jerry springer but on my worst days I LOVED jerry springer - those peoples lives SUCKED!!!

And now that they're in school, they barely notice I'm not home during the day.

Its called coping. Its called education.

Hubby & I swap off making dinner on days/nights we both work.

Its not hard to bake salmon steaks. It doesn't take any longer to make glaze than it does to stir up that seasoning packet in hamburger helper.

Some fore thought and planning - chicken tandoori (omg family fav) takes no more time than corndogs.

So in my humble (yeah right) opinion this study is pure shit.

LaCi - posted on 07/24/2010

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I think it's great to have one person stay at home with the kid. I don't think it makes a huge difference, especially when they're school age. I'd like for my boyfriend or I to be home with Nico until school age, but it isn't going to work out that way and I'm alright with it. No big deal.

[deleted account]

Yeah...this is bullshit & bogus IMO. It's all about making choices for your family no matter what your work status is, or how old your children are. I agree with Kathy S. about how sad this is an "us versus them" situation and another research study that pits moms against each other.

[deleted account]

I am always dubious about studies like this because it seems to me that they fail to take into account many contributing factors.

I am a SAHM because I feel it is in the best interest of my son BUT financially we can afford for me to stay at home others do NOT have that luxery. I try and walk somewhere everyday and when it is not raining we play outside in the garden to encourgae my son to be healthy and exercise. We try to eat healthy - my son definately has a better diet than my hubby and I do (we do not have an appauling diet) because we are very focused on encouraging him to learn the correct diet and eating habits. I don't think these things are something that only SAHM's can do working mums can do these things too because they do not have to be hard work.

IMO the only thing with working mums is they do not spend as much time with their child for bonding etc. Of the mums I know some are great mums and work some are not so great and work, some are great and are SAHM's and some are not so great and are SAHM's.

So to me this shows that whether you choose/ need to go to work or not it depends on you and your parenting beliefs and values as to the health of your kids.

Amie - posted on 07/23/2010

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I want to see the stats on the older kids. Why is it always the younger ones? I understand it's a part of the foundation but if the foundation is laid early in life, you'll see better results later on.

I know two pubescent kids who fit into the category of a sedentary lifestyle. Both parents work, right up until suppertime. They have a sitter who is only a couple years older then them, more of a house watcher then anything. I don't see them outside much, I do see they are overweight.

Then I look at the other kids around me, who mostly have SAHM, including me. Our children are not overweight, are outside all the time, even in the dead of winter. So from my own personal experiences I can see what the study is saying.

I can't speak to what everyone eats (It's not like I'm a peeping tom LOL) but I know in our own home we eat healthy. We can afford it but I also grow a garden, which I expanded this year. My kids generally choose healthy snacks over junk, mostly because that's always been the option while junk is rarely in the house. So now that they're older and faced with it, it's just second nature to grab the fruit instead of the chocolate. I cook most of our meals but there are nights I'm tired. With 4 kids I'm warranted in wanting a night off in cooking, so we'll order out.

However working moms can just as easily cook healthy meals and eat out on the same schedule we eat out (roughly once a month, maybe twice). It takes planning but it can be done. My mom was a working mom, she'd figure out supper the night before. Pull something out of the freezer to thaw and cook it up as soon as she got home. If she was working late my dad would do it.

Just like making sure their kids get proper exercise. Enroll them in sports, activities, etc. Even with the activity mine get outside each day, they have other activities they are enrolled in.

Anything is possible, whether you're a working mom or a SAHM, it just takes planning, scheduling and perseverance.....
and the occasional night off.

Johnny - posted on 07/23/2010

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My family does eat healthier meals on the nights I don't work as opposed to when I do. But I'm not sure I believe this study entirely. All my mom friends work, and they all lead very healthy lives. The only SAHM I know feeds her kids McDonalds at least twice a week. Not that I have a representative sample or anything. Like I said, I only know one full-time SAHM (outside of people on mat leave) out of the perhaps 40-50 moms I know right now. So I probably am not judging this on accurate info.

[deleted account]

I can SOMEWHAT relate to the article. What they're saying makes sense in theory but like it also pointed out, it depends on the parenting and other things etc....there's always exceptions. I will say that I am extremely grateful to be able to stay home with Roxanne. I absolutely feel it's in her best interest.

Sharon - posted on 07/23/2010

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another study that seems to be crap to me.

My mother worked. We had every toy a kid could want and still spent most of our time outside. We were rarely driven to school. MOST of the time we took the bus. The rest of the time we walked. Mind you we lived all over the world so walking versus bus was a location thing.

My parents cooked what they knew. My mother cooked fried rice & stir frys and very little fried food, my dad cooked steak and a variety of game meat.

I did the SAHM and working mom thing - I ALWAYS drove my kids to school. In both positions.

I tend to think SAHM vs Working Mom is finance & education related. Sorry that isn't worded right..... ugh I'm tired, you guys know what I mean.

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