There was a study about parenting done in Britain that finds that working women who leave their children on a daily basis while going out to work, risk raising children who come to have poor eating habits and poor exercise tendencies. It is called the UK Millennium Cohort Study. The research draws from a study of nutritional and physical activity habits of more than 10,000 children under five.
And before anyone tries to counter these findings by calling into doubt the meaningfulness of the sample used (or wondering if the researchers may have been neglected children themselves), the study seems to have taken all kinds of possibilities into account, adjusting for the race, education and the financial positions of the mothers involved.
So what is it that these children do that distresses the researchers so much? The researchers found that mothers who worked even part-time, came home to find that their children resist fruits and vegetables more.
They have a worse television or computer habit too, when compared to children of stay-at-home mothers. These children are often seen to use passive entertainment like computer games and television more than two hours a day - far more than what stay-at-home moms would allow.
While homemaker mothers found that their children could keep their snacking habits under control, working moms have children who keep reaching for unhealthy snacks or colas. So what is it that the researchers wish to say about parenting out of all this?
To begin with, they feel that there is nothing to it other than the fact that working parents have less time to stay around and provide a good example for how children should eat and live their lives. Even work arrangements where mothers get to work from home a good part of the time do not seem to really help.
Apparently even a short stint at work by a mother affects children. Of course this study is extremely unpopular with women and we can see why. It seems to suggest that if women care about their children, they should give up all their dreams, or feel guilty for the rest of their lives. But the women who sit on the other side of the fence feel their views have finally been vindicated.
In the end one does have to wonder about why the studies about parenting choose to villainize the women - the mothers who choose to work, but end up neglecting their children. What is wrong with blaming the father for neglectful child-rearing, one wonders. Why can't women have their dreams like men do and yet have a cared for set of children that both the parents take turns to rear well.
And while we are on the subject of funny studies about parenting, did you hear the one that claims that children who are spanked grow up with lower IQs? Apparently it is a question of trauma, plain and simple. A child who is subjected to trauma is less available mentally to learn. Interesting.