A new study out of Australia suggests that mothers who work part-time have healthier kids than mothers who work full time or those who stay at home full time.
“Published by the journal Social Science & Medicine, the study looked at the impact of mothers’ hours of paid work on the lifestyle and weight of about 2,500 children at ages 4-5 years and 6-7 years.”
“It found that at both ages, children whose mothers worked part time were less likely to be overweight, watched less TV, ate less junk food and were more physically active than children whose mothers were working full time or not in paid employment.”
” ‘What we didn’t expect was the finding that the children of mothers in part-time work were healthier than children of mothers at home full time,’ study co-author Jan Nicholson wrote by e-mail from the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia. ‘What our results may show is that women who work part time, perhaps compared to women at home full time, may have a greater focus on healthy family activities because their time with their kids is limited.’ “
I can see how mothers who work some could be happier than those who worked full time or not at all. I think working a little bit gives a woman something for herself that’s not about her kids. It also gives her time away from her kids to have adult conversation, do adult things and make her miss her kids. I rarely, if ever, miss my children. I am with at least one them 24/7. Also if she wasn’t working full time, she in theory should have less stress from the job and more time to take care of things at home.
But the study was not about the health and happiest of the mom. It was about the health of the children. And I, like the scientists, am surprised that the stay-at-home mothers didn’t have the healthiest kids.
I would think that because they are at home they would be cooking more meals from scratch – indicating less processed foods or fast foods, which should be healthier. They would be home during the day to take them to the playground or out to play. And could keep the kids home to get well if they were sick, which you would think would get the well faster.
The article goes on to explain things they think were excluded from the study – such as if a stay-at-home mom had more than one small child she was caring for, which might reduce the mom’s focus on health and indicate her just trying to keep her head above water.
What do you think: Would you expect the children to be healthier for moms who work, moms who stay home or moms who work part-time? Why?
Which types of moms do you think would be healthier – physically or mentally? What about happier?