Oh, Come on!

What a thing to publish the day AFTER we honor our mothers! Have you seen this article that states that women who work outside the home are healthier…and thinner…than stay at home moms? A British study suggests that "at age 54, women who had been wives, mothers, and had a long work history were significantly less likely to report being in poor health than women who did not fulfill all three roles."

OK. I will concede that it does benefit moms to have contact with the outside adult world and that staying at home can get really lonely. But the implication in this article, even though Anne McMunn, PhD, states that "…“This research doesn’t address why working moms tend to be healthier,” is that stay at home moms tend to let themselves go. We are not hearing about the part of the article that states that "…the stresses associated with holding down a job while raising small children take their toll on women’s health." The headlines only quote what makes stay at home moms look bad.

Personally, I am sort of sick of that attitude. I have known plenty of husbands who poke fun at the role of their stay at home wives. "You're home all day, " they say, "why don't you get things done"' Yet "getting things done" depends on who is doing the measuring. One source I found states that a stay at home mom's salary would be around $134, 121, with her jobs being those of "housekeeper, day care center teacher, cook, computer operator, laundry machine operator, janitor, facilities manager, van driver, CEO, and psychologist. New job titles that made the list in 2006 include psychologist, laundry machine operator, and computer operator." Why is it that some husbands are aware of the value of babysitters and housekeepers when those service providers need to be paid, but the jobs lose value when done by their wives for free?

I sort of like the take Danny Carlton has on the whole situation over at JackLewis.net. Carleton concedes that stay at home moms are around food all day, and that may be part of the problem. He states that:

"The woman who works has her work packaged up into a nice, tidy 8-hour lump. So when she's through with that she can spend time doing something like exercise, with the calm satisfaction that she deserves a little 'me' time. The SAHM doesn't have that luxury. Her day isn't packaged up nicely. Her work continues throughout the day, and because of societies constant attitude that all Stay-at-Home-Parents are really just bums who've found a convenient way to goof off, she carries the guilt of that with her throughout that day, adding to the desire to eat, the food she's around all day long, but also making exercise seem like selfish indulgence that she dare not waste time on."

I have worked at least part-time for the majority of my married life, but I would say that in the eyes of some people, I have been under-employed, mostly because I have chosen jobs that allowed me to be available to my children or to the family in general. And although I am not obese, I am heavier that those almighty charts say that I should be. Also, I know an awful lot of fifty-something women who are in poorer health than they would like directly as a result of the stress of the workplace. Personally, I wonder about the validity of the study.

I guess I think the key to the whole situation is balance, something which is hard to achieve in our frantic society. We are always on the go, always multi-tasking. We want it all. And we skew our priorities to get it all, sometimes not recognizing the cost of what we are doing. According to Dr.James Dobson, there are a lot of women out there who would quit working if they could. I presume they would do so even knowing that they might have a few health problems or end up a little heavier. I presume they would stay at home for their children.

Maybe in this me-first society, we need to remember our children. Our future.

Maybe we need to put the children first.


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