Are SAHM Kids Healthier?
I used to be an office-based working mom. Currently I am a work at home mom (wahm), which unfortunately, many people don’t take seriously as work. But I am a working mom and my kids are at a childcare facility while I am typing this on my home computer.
It is with trepidation that I present the results of a study here that will surely illicit strong reactions from other working moms out there, reactions that may probably range from outrage, defensiveness, to guilt.
Kids of Working Moms Are Less Healthy
It’s true, according to a study reported by MSNBC. British researchers looked at 12,500 children aged 9 months to 5 years and analyzed their dietary habits and physical activity. The results showed that kids of working moms, regardless of their race, maternal education, job level or whether they are working full time or part-time, are less healthy. For example, they are more likely to eat junk food and spend more time in front of the TV or the computer. In addition, they are more likely to be driven to school and snack on chips and sweetened drinks. The researchers put the blame on the time constraints of working moms.
Now, before we overreact and blast the researchers for their bias against working women, let’s take a deep breath and look at ourselves and our family whether there is any truth to their findings. And if your first thought would be “I don’t have time for this,” then they’re right.¨
I suggest that we take the results of the study as a constructive criticism and an opportunity to check out our current lifestyle. There is a lot that we can do and here are my suggestions:
What’s in the Fridge?
If there’s no or very little produce in your fridge or in your pantry, then you have to rethink your family’s dietary habits. There are fresh produce that keeps long and this includes tomatoes, cucumber, bananas capsicum, and apples. Incorporate these into your shopping list and weekly menus.
What’s in Your Child’s Lunchbox?
If there are only potato chips, cookies or peanut butter sandwiches in there, then there’s something missing. An apple or a banana would be a health addition. Apples are especially great – they keep, they are sturdy, and can fit in a pocket. Choose the sweet varieties such as gala, pink lady or golden delicious.
Another British study reported that people who consume too much sweets as children have a tendency towards aggression in adulthood. So why do some of us keep buying junk food for our family against our better judgement? Some suggest it may be guilt, that those treats are our way of saying sorry for not spending enough time with our kids. Some people think if they don’t get it at home, they’ll get it somewhere else. In a previous post, I’ve listed some tips on children’s nutrition.
Communicate With Your Child.
How did his/her day go? If it’s just all about TV shows or video games, then it’s time to look for alternatives. What about a sports club? Soccer and tennis camps during the holidays? Active family outings on the weekends? Don’t wait until your child becomes overweight. The earlier they start the better.
It is not easy to find the perfect childcare provider but we should make the effort to monitor what kind of care is being provided. My twin boys started at a daycare at 12 months, preschool-daycare at 3 years. Now at 1st grade, they attend after school childcare provided by our town. In other words, I’ve had experience about checking out childcare facilities. I, for one, wouldn’t go for a daycare with a TV set. I talk to the caregivers about the daily activities and compare their version with my child’s version. It’s not that I don’t trust them. I simply want to know whether I am getting my money’s worth. Yes, I pay for childcare and I make sure that as the customer, my child gets what he/she needs in terms of healthy food and physical exercise. The same goes if you have a nanny or a babysitter coming in. I am not saying you have to install a nanny cam at home but if we need crosschecks at work, there should also be some at home.
Some of us may not have the means to pay for childcare. A family member such as grandma or aunt might have to pitch in to help with the child care. Check their dietary and exercise habits. Talk to them about nutrition and health. A healthy child needs a healthy caregiver.
Your diet and physical activity level reflects that of your family. What you eat at breakfast and at suppertime, your children eat. You are their role model and they learn your good and bad habits. A workout or a run is a great way to wind down. But how do you include your children into your adult exercise routine? Do cycling or inline skating together. I am not keen on both so my kids do either why I jog along side. It helps me keep up my pace. Check out Mrs.H’s list of habits of a healthy family.
I know that as working moms, we are juggling too many things at the same time: motherhood, job, marriage. It is difficult to be a career woman and the perfect mom at the same time. But hey, it’s not about being perfect that counts. It’s about being happy and healthy.