You must have seen it. “Scientists blame working mothers for childhood obesity.”
I’m not linking the Daily Fail article here, but I will link this much more balanced perspective from The Independent. Take a look if you missed the whole thing.
Because we have to get REALLY SERIOUS about calling this stuff out. It’s all well and good us aiming to raise our own kids to embody the principle of gender equality, but when they go out into the world, i.e., the playground, the influence of societal norms will quickly engulf our own.
Louis told me, “I want to go to after school club, but x said it’s for children whose mummies are at work.” So presumably, their dads are… where? Oh, also at work. Probably.
Is it any surprise that a society that holds women responsible for absolutely everything also blames us when we cannot spin all of those bastard plates? It’s not just that we need to be able to do it, it’s that we ought to do it effortlessly, with nurture, love and joy, singing with the birds and laughing, with a gentle eye roll, when our little darlings spill a whole cup of juice (sorry, obviously I mean water, nothing but water…) all over their cooked from scratch dinner.
We are blamed for having kids, we are blamed for being assaulted or abused, we are blamed for being overweight, underweight, too sexy, not sexy enough, too loud, too serious, too miserable, too happy…
Of course it’s our fault if our kids are eating Maccy D’s or Nutella on Toast.
What can the fathers do?? The poor lambs. They’re just men, doing their best.
This kind of rhetoric is damaging to EVERYONE. Women, for obvious reasons. Men- because it’s insulting to them, it suggests they are incompetent, and it reinforces the ridiculous societal norm that Dads are basically babysitters.
Impact of stuff like this- father wants to work flexibly to do more childcare. NO. The mother can do it. Father wants to take leave because child is ill. NO. The mother can do it. Father wants to take shared parental leave when next baby arrives. How will he work out how to prepare the chicken nuggets though? Don’t worry, the mother can do it. EVERYONE LOSES.
Until the division of labour in the home is addressed, we are stuck. Until flexible working is widely available for women and men, and we stop calling each other slackers, we are stuck.
Nick, my husband, loves cooking and he is into nutrition. I do not and am not. Since he has been mostly working from home, our kids diets have improved drastically. It’s like I wanna shout this story everywhere, but I also think it’ should just be considered obvious that your gender has nothing to do with your ability to provide a healthy lifestyle for your kids.
I don’t chop veg with my vaj, or with anything really. Nick chops it by hand. If I needed it, I would buy it, pre chopped. With my own earnings too, because I am fricking radical like that.