I didn’t say that. A new study did.
“British children whose mothers worked part- or full-time were more likely to have bad diet and exercise habits than those whose moms stayed at home, Catherine Law, of University College London, and colleagues reported.”
Then of course comes the backpedaling: “But Law warned that the results don’t imply that working mothers should give up their careers.”
I don’t get it. Who picks these research topics? Who is funding them? Why would you make the initial decision to perform such a study? Do you have a hidden agenda? Is it to show that working mothers are worse mothers than non-working mothers?
And even more questions: When you perform such a study, how do you balance out the results with the benefits of having a working mother? You don’t, right? You simply publish the results under an attention-grabbing headline and move on to the next ridiculous study.
Working moms unfortunately have to deal with a lot of guilt – unjustified guilt but nonetheless very real guilt – without these ridiculous studies. I realize this is purely anecdotal, but I was a stay at home mom for six years. I now work from my home office, sometimes part time and sometimes long hours (freelance work tends to fluctuate). My kids’ diet and exercise habits haven’t changed at all since I started working. My own habits haven’t changed either – I still make it a priority to exercise and eat healthy.
But what bothers me about this study is not its accuracy, but the underlying criticism of working moms. Moms have been working since the dawn of history while raising their kids. The privileged stay at home mom who takes her kids to the playground every day and dotes on them 24/7 is a fairly recent phenomenon. Who’s to say it’s the best arrangement for children – or for mothers?
Many mothers need to work for financial reasons. Many other mothers work to maintain an identity that is separate than their role as mothers, to keep their careers going, and to remain financially independent. Being a stay at home mom is a huge financial risk, and being a full time mom isn’t always the right choice for a woman or for her family. I wish researchers would respect that and leave working mothers alone.