“If working parents didn’t feel guilty enough about leaving their children at nursery, now new research has found …” starts the 1,00,695th Daily Mail article on the crapness of “working parents” (aka mothers in paid employment). Yes, fellow “working mums”, it’s our turn again. Just when you thought all eyes had been turned on stay-at-home mummy bloggers, it appears we’re back in the firing line. Bring it on!
The latest thing is our kids are too fat, or something along those lines. According to a study that started in Montreal 15 years ago, involving 1,649 families, taking into account all other known risk factors such as …. blah blah blah … breastfeeding, BMI of the mother … blah… nursery … more likely to be overweight or obese … not yet known … unhealthy meals could play a part … Anyhow, whatever, do any of us actually care about this? Really, genuinely? Because I for one am not about to pack in my job and have the house repossessed just so that my kids might, potentially, weigh a bit less than someone else’s kids. Hell, if it becomes an issue, I’ll just give them fewer chocolate buttons from the garage on the way home. I was thinking of doing that anyhow.
There is a value to studies such as these, I am sure. There is, however, sod all value to articles that are given headings such as “Children who go to nursery are 50% more likely to be overweight than those cared for by their parents”. That’s right, working mummies – it’s no longer just a case of not “looking after” or “staying at home with” your kids. Turns out you actually don’t care for them – maybe it’s because they’re so fat. 50% fatter than other kids, in fact (okay, that bit’s a lie. They’re just 50% more likely to be that one kid who is fat. But hey, who’s counting? You’re still rubbish and one way or another your kids will be, too).
Well, Daily Mail, here is a message: I will not feel guilty for you. As a parent there are all sorts reasons why I’ll feel guilty but it won’t ever be because you’ve told me to. I feel guilty for losing my temper. I feel guilty for finding my children’s games boring. I feel guilty for knowing how lovely and brilliant my little boys are and for not being able to pause and appreciate it forever. I feel guilty for not wanting my sons to grow up and I feel guilty about the fact that they will all the same. I feel guilty because I didn’t deserve to be handed these people whom I love so much yet over whom I have such a ridiculous amount of power. I feel guilty, okay, really guilty. I do not, however, feel guilty for earning money to pay for things within an economic system that I didn’t invent. I don’t feel guilty about that and I won’t.
Anyhow, you’re the Daily Mail. If anyone should feel guilty for existing, it has to be you.
(I do, nonetheless, feel guilty for having sneaked a look at your stupid website yet again…)