So International Women’s Day has been over for less than 48 hours before the Daily Fail sees fit to pick on mothers – working ones this time – by sharing a story that blames mums that work for making our kids fat.
Surprise, surprise huh.
Although they make it clear that single mothers who work are by far the worst culprits, “The project also found that children are fatter regardless of whether their mother works full- or part-time” says their article, in response to a study recently published in the journal SSM – Population Health*.
That’s right, ladies, you heard it:
Unless you’re at home, spending your days cleaning, cooking and tending to your children, then according to the right wing gammon handbook, you’re a bad parent.
If you dare to go outside of the home to work – even part time – so that you can do nice things like have a roof over your head and not starve to death, then you’re fucking up your kids health.
You are to blame.
Let’s not blame the dads. After all we know that they are genetically predisposed not to be able to do any more than shove a pizza in the oven or nip over to Maccy Ds, right? It’s not a man’s place in the kitchen after all!
Let’s not blame manufacturers, the fast food companies that target children or supermarkets who market unhealthy foods at low price points. The low value put on practical skills like cookery, lack of education which means people leave home unable to cook for themselves or make healthy choices.
Let’s not blame the workplaces that expect mums to put in 100% and work tirelessly as if they don’t have children, and those that offer little to no flexibility or support. The ones who don’t even consider flexible working requests so that mums can have a better work/life balance, because ultimately they don’t care and they see working mothers as a burden.
Let’s not blame the societal pressure to get back to work to prove you have worth, even if you don’t really want to.
Let’s not blame a government that has pushed mothers back to work, that has ensured mums have no choice to work to survive, because benefits are almost impossible to get and impossible to live on. The government that has provided tax breaks for the richest people at the same time that they have cut child benefits, who have made it increasingly difficult for two parent families to exist on one average salary like they used to.
Let’s just blame the mums.
After all, there is nothing the Daily Mail enjoys more.
Those hard working, lazy, feckless, benefit scrounging mothers, working 50 hour weeks…
Wait. I’ve forgotten who I’m supposed to hate again?
*It’s not that I entirely distrust the Daily shitrag (it is), but thought I’d look up the article itself which you can read in full here.
It doesn’t actually use the word ‘blame’ once, which I’m sure won’t surprise you.
Whilst it is true that there are correlations between women working and having children who are overweight, what the Daily Mail leave out of their mother-bashing tirade is the author’s conclusion, which acknowledges the limitations of the study in terms of finding no correlation with the father’s work, because there was little variation in the fathers’ employment status.
The article barely mentions in passing the conclusion of the study which suggests that, as more and more mothers inevitably do return to work taking an equal share of the household’s financial burden, that “involving fathers as active players in efforts to tackle the high rates of childhood excess weight and to promote children’s health and wellbeing seem to be a fundamental step”.
Rather than appointing blame, we should be asking ‘how can we – as a society and as individuals – make life easier for working mums so that they don’t feel so overwhelmed from having to hold down a job and keep a household running on their own?’.
The Daily Mail can, as ever, get fucked.