A recent study, published in the journal Child Development, found that the more hours mom works, the more likely her kids are to be obese. I won't go into all of the details simply because there are tons of articles surrounding this topic. See here.
What I will say is that researchers are linking this increased obesity rate to the fact that working moms have little time to grocery shop and prepare healthy foods. Too busy to cook? Okay, I could see how that happens. Most parents are probably just getting home around 5 (probably even later) and the dinnertime window quickly closes in. Too busy to grocery shop? I can also see this happening! Grocery shopping would seemingly be out of the question for most weeknights unless you could creatively squeeze it in on your lunch break or after the kids are in bed, while hubby stays home.
While I understand how difficult this must be, to make food a priority for your family, it still leaves me dumbfounded! We, Americans, are too busy working that we often can't find viable, healthy ways to take care of our most basic necessity of eating? Really? And yet, it's true.
Do we know how much these convenience foods are costing us? Have we factored that into how much it is costing us to work? I know I mentioned it before in my One income, lots of expenses post but, in light of this latest study, I think this should be seriously considered again.
I also understand that you may not be able to drop everything and quit your job right now. But for those of you who can't quit your job right now but still recognize the importance of staying home with your children, I urge you to think about ways to overcome your financial obstacles.
For those of you who are still working and having difficulty feeding your family on a budget and in a pinch, please consider a few of these time-saving options for getting a healthy meal on the table:
-Use your crock pot! Working moms, your crock pot should be your best friend in the kitchen. Throw in a roast, potatoes and carrots, turn it on low and head out the door. Come home to a nutritious meal that is waiting for you.
-Use your weekends! Take a little extra time on the weekends to begin prepping some meals. You can do this by cooking up a whole bunch of ground meat or perhaps a whole chicken (see Heavenly Homemaker's How to Stretch a Chicken to Make Six Meals). And don't overlook the possibility of freezing partially or fully prepared meals. Please do get the kids involved with any cooking projects you embark on over the weekend-- they'll love it!
-Use technology! Consider buying groceries online. While not all areas offer delivery to your home, most areas have some adaptation on this service. In my area we have Weis iShop, where you prepare your order online and then just pick it up when you're ready. You can save grocery lists, for easy reordering. The service does cost about $5 each time, but the service may be well worth it in order for busy families to eat healthier. And don't forget about websites like Amazon that sell non-perishables for good prices.
-Use help from family & friends! I can testify that both working moms and stay at home moms can almost always benefit from a little help from friends and family. If dinnertime is your biggest dilemma, then by all means, ask for some help! Some families have a a once-a-week tradition to eat at grandma's while others participate in a co-op/meal swap of sorts. For more details on this wonderful idea-- I know because my family and I did it regularly a few years back-- check out what Trish Berg has to say.
My words are not meant to interrogate or belittle anyone but instead to encourage everyone to take their God-give responsibility as parents seriously. To realize that the choices we make today effect future generations-- just as we see here with the increase in obesity in children of working mothers.
Our kids are so important! Let's do everything we can to protect their precious bodies and souls. Who better to do this than us, the parents.