Yet again the media has lent a platform to the disturbing narrative that suggests working women make bad mothers.
There is so much to be infuriated by in this latest round of ridiculousness sparked by this research it is difficult to know where to start. It claims that children of working women are likely to be unhealthier than those with stay at home mummies. Whilst my fury is predominantly directed towards the media coverage that has positioned the research in terms of an ‘ongoing debate’ about whether mothers should work or not; the very premise of the research is, to be frank insulting. Why on earth is the research focused on mothers? What about single Dad’s or House Husbands?
In simple terms, why say mother when you mean parent? It all contributes to the implicit vilification of women who want to ‘have it all’ – I mean, how very dare she.
If a woman chooses to have a child and give up work – points to her, but, isn’t she lucky to have the choice? What of the families that can’t sustain themselves without both working? What of single parent families?
Do we think that the fact that London has the highest child poverty rate is unrelated to the fact that children in London are more likely than children in other regions to live in a household where no adult works? Methinks not. The predominant cause of child poverty is parental worklessness; there are multiple government and charitable initiatives in place to rectify the problem. In light of this, aren’t there some pretty serious flaws in the implication that children will be better off if mummy stays at home?
Instead of ridiculous headlines such as ‘Working Mothers’ Children Unfit’ why not use the research in a positive way? I say more initiatives promoting healthy body image, decent childcare schemes and dare I say it let’s finally extend paternity leave and give families a real choice.
Alas, alack. The media coverage this has had today has only served to perpetuate a widespread and frankly unsettling notion that working mothers are either incompetent, irresponsible or both.