Are Working Mums Responsible for Children Being Overweight?

Bonjour lecteurs. ‘Working mums have heavier children!’ This was the title that caught my eyes first thing in the morning on the Sunday Times… No need to say that it made my blood boil! Now, working mums are somehow, according to some new scientific research, to blame for the obesity epidemic in the country! Exit the fast food and fizzy drinks! We, ladies, are the only ones responsible for our children being overweight! Oh, merde…

Working Mums Are Responsible for Children Being Overweight

The study in question alarmed me. Apparently, children whose mothers work are more likely to have increased sedentary behaviour and poorer dietary habits. So the fast increase in the numbers of obese children teens is utterly down to working-mums…

While I still strongly think that it is 100% our responsibility to create healthy eating habits with our children, I am totally outraged that yet again, working mums are made the scapegoat of a real issue in our modern society.

Is that Really All?

Not trying to pass on the blame whatsoever, but may I ask why is it for us again to be the bad cops in that story?

Working mums have so much to jungle each day and while they might not all be extraordinary cooks in the kitchen, I find that blaming them for children getting heavier is un peu easy to say the less!

Instead of pointing fingers at a group of (already vulnerable!) individuals, how about trying to educate people? Maybe we should help them to change those unhealthy habits that they are supposed to pass on the next generations?

Such An Complex Issue

Equally, how about the media to write genuinely about the fact that the food industry is largely to blame for this national concern? Don’t they add sugar and other additives in everything we eat to create an addiction and push us to consume more?

Working Mums Responsible for Children Being Overweight, In the News, Mum Guilt, Healthy Diet, The Frenchie Mummy

And don’t even get me started on the fact that working-mums should be the main culprits to explain why kids are getting fatter! Have you ever seen what school canteens serve our children at break and lunch? One of the first things that shocked me when I started my teaching career in the UK was to see kids having pizza and sausage rolls at 10 am for snacks! How can we even blame mums in that case when they are not there to make the choice for their children, literally?

The Role of the Food Industry

Not to mention the media that constantly put all that food in our face so that it becomes second nature. While looking at all the articles on this topic today, I undoubtedly came across some ads before having full access to the pieces. And they were all advertising for fast food and prepared meals! If that it is not hypocritical, what do you call this?!

Working Mums Responsible for Children Being Overweight, In the News, Mum Guilt, Healthy Diet, The Frenchie Mummy

Bien sûr, I am expected to run my judgement here and to make the right choice for my Baba, but we are constantly bombarded by those messages everywhere! Not only us, mums but everyone!

Modern Women

And yes, society has changed beaucoup over the last 4 decades, big deal!

Reading back at another article on the study, I was simply horrified by the comments… Many (probably men?) joked that really, our place was in the kitchen. Some were even outraged that the new generation of women I am part of could barely cook like in the old days and were more concerned about trying to get a successful career over the welfare of their offsprings!

Proud to Be a Working-Mum

Welcome to the 21st century! May I put my hand up and say that I am proud to be that working mum who is trying to have a career because she thinks she deserved it? But that she also believes she is worth more than spending all day in the house and cooking!?

Working Mums Responsible for Children Being Overweight, In the News, Mum Guilt, Healthy Diet, The Frenchie Mummy

And let me tell you that I am not totally stupid. I am fully aware that trying to get it all is pretty much impossible on your own. I learned very early on that the dream of the working mum who is also a boss in her house was a myth. There are many days when my house is a mess and when I am not that prestigious mama cooking organic purées for Baba.

Comparing to Other Generations of Ladies

But I look at previous generations and I am proud to define myself as a working mum! I saw my own mum doing it all, exhausting herself to get this house ruining and working hard at the same time. Yet, she has never lived for herself. And I don’t think she was truly happy during those 25 years of sacrifices for my dad, my brother and I…

Working Mums Responsible for Children Being Overweight, In the News, Mum Guilt, Healthy Diet, The Frenchie Mummy

I don’t want to be that woman, neither do I want to be like my grandmother who was the stereotype of that amazing mama at home cooking delicious meals for her little family. You know, the one that this controversial study wants to make us feel guilty not to be in 2019? This lady is now on her own and struggling with a tiny pension because she was ever only a SAHM.

Is It Only My Responsibility?

So sorry dear UCL researchers… But today, your study makes me so angry when you blame working mum for children being overweight! Because the truth of the matter is that there is more to it. Let’s start asking the government to really get involved and stop those multi-million firms that are on a mission to turn us into food junkies addicted to unhealthy food for them to make more money.

And no, those are not the words of a woman who is trying to achieve something for herself! Some people might have liked women to remain that trophy wife but those days are over!

And could we please try for one day of the year not to make mums even more guilty? Let’s be honest, they don’t already beat themselves up enough, right?

This little rant is done… It makes me feel better, but maybe tomorrow I should not read the news? Just so that I can truly enjoy a coffee 🙂

Wishing you a good Sunday evening…






  1. Lynn savage
    March 10, 2019 / 7:01 pm

    What a load of rubbish, working mums get blamed for everything. the very big corporations that are really the makers of a lot of things wrong in the world today just never seem to get the blame for anything.

    • Cecile Blaireau
      March 11, 2019 / 11:19 am

      so true. I am not trying to pass on the blame as I still think it is our responsibility to give them a healthy diet but it is an issue that our society as a whole is facing. Not only working mum creating fat monsters! Argh, still so annoyed about it…

      • Jessica Barnett
        March 13, 2019 / 10:30 am


  2. Natalie Burgess
    March 10, 2019 / 10:15 pm

    Really interesting post xx

  3. Margaret GALLAGHER
    March 11, 2019 / 1:57 am

    So many factors to consider – it’s not one single thing – it’s a combination

  4. Tracy Nixon
    March 11, 2019 / 5:11 am

    Yes, I saw this on GMB.

    • Tracy Nixon
      March 12, 2019 / 6:42 pm

      Working mums have less time to prepare and cook meals – so yes, they could turn to convenience/ready made meals for quickness, however there are many lazy non-working parents who cannot be bothered to cook and therefore do the same! Some working mothers may cook meals when they are off work and freeze for when they are working. So in conclusion, I don’t believe this to be true!

      • Rachel Craig
        March 12, 2019 / 11:40 pm

        Those who are in paid employment nowadays seem to be under many pressures from the job / employment/ boss, etc. This is likely to impact on other aspects of their lives, and others. Yet individuals are meant to be entitled to a family life:- Human Rights. Maybe the Quality of Life of individuals should be researched. Looking at how Employment Pressures, Targets,Changes, etc impact on Quality of Life of each individual, and their family life, community life, etc. Nutrition is important, many places of employment no longer have canteens:- So do not encourage healthy, sociable meals through action / experience, lifestyle. Which could / would normalise and encourage such experiences.

  5. Julia Kerr
    March 11, 2019 / 6:22 am

    I think that schools play a big part in it by having very little PE time, diet can only do so much they also need to exercise and as they spend most of their week days in school there needs to be some sort of exercise happening there – fun games etc, I don’t mean get them doing sit-ups, but getting them moving around. It actually helps them to concentrate more in the classroom if they’ve burnt off the energy.

    At home I think parents need to make sure they are leading by example and eating healthily themselves, and they need to get the kids out of a weekend and kick a ball around with them or take them to the park or soft play, let them burn off that energy.

    • Cecile Blaireau
      March 11, 2019 / 11:05 am

      Agreed with you. Schools could do more but yet they are facing huge cuts for them to do so. And there is also so much pressure on teachers for them to have good results on more academic subjects and sport is often the less important one.

  6. Darrell Perry
    March 11, 2019 / 7:13 am

    I don’t believe the study for one second. Saying “Working Mum’s have heavier children” is like saying “All lorries are red”. Some will be, but not all. There is a lot more to this than meets the eye. But just as an example. my local swimming pool has vending machines. It is cheaper to buy a can of cola, than a bottle of water!

    • Cecile Blaireau
      March 11, 2019 / 11:04 am

      Exactly! We are bombarded by ads for food and all those naughty food are way cheaper and more available than actual good food! Plus society has hugely changed. We buy in supermarkets when our grandmothers would go daily to the grocery and get fresh food.

  7. Priscilla Stubbs
    March 11, 2019 / 8:59 am

    What a ridiculous statement. Some working mothers may make bad food choices, just as much as stay at home mothers. Working mothers taken as a generalisation is also not a good term to use, some mothers work full time, some only a few hours a week. I read the article in the paper and yes, it was written by a man, he didn’t saying that children of working fathers are overweight. Forget it and let’s move on.

    • Cecile Blaireau
      March 11, 2019 / 9:57 am

      yes, interesting that it the mums to blame and not the fathers! I even wonder why this study happened in the first place quite frankly as they were targeting families from the start. It was like they were going for it in the first place…

  8. Jayne Townson
    March 11, 2019 / 9:53 am

    Some really good points there, I agree with what you say about the school canteens, I was shocked when my kids started school that they could buy pizza at playtime, it’s really shocking.

    • Cecile Blaireau
      March 11, 2019 / 11:01 am

      Totally! And then mums are to blame for everything. I still think it is our responsibility to get them into great eating habits but this article and this study were so targeting mums yet again…

  9. Caroline A
    March 11, 2019 / 9:59 am

    Yet another thing for working mothers to be made to feel guilty about – you just can’t win!

  10. charlotte isobelle
    March 11, 2019 / 1:25 pm

    What a load of rubbish, it is up to you what you feed your children and what your eating habbits are, no matter what you do!

  11. Jeanette Leighton
    March 11, 2019 / 3:33 pm

    Absolutely nonsense my mum worked none of me or my siblings were overweight

  12. Carol Thomas
    March 11, 2019 / 6:10 pm

    Unless there is an underlying medical issue the responsibility for overweight children does start at home. Not just with Mom. Dad is also part of it. Working or not working, makes no difference. My Mom worked and there was always homemade food, deserts etc on the table

  13. Sandra Fortune
    March 11, 2019 / 7:14 pm

    Load of rubbish ! My daughter is a working mum and continually trying to make sure my grandson has a healthy diet . Some kids are naturally plump too . They should take a look at the bad foods they sell in the supermarkets and advertising before pointing the finger at anybody . Yes and schools could help .

  14. Caroline Tinsley
    March 11, 2019 / 9:17 pm

    It’s really shocking how far we still have to go before these kind of thoughtless sexist comments stop being normal. In some ways it seems like we have slipped back from when I was teenager 30 years ago.

    March 12, 2019 / 12:45 am

    I do not think you can solely blame working mums, how silly! I think junk food is too easily available and it is too tempting!

  16. Darrell Perry
    March 12, 2019 / 6:32 am

    For example in our household, both my wife and I work. But it is me that does all the cooking ( I enjoy it!) and managing the kids (she does most of the cleaning, so it balances itself). So in our case it would be the working father’s responsibility if the children became obese. Wonder how many actual families were studied for this scientific research.

    • Cecile Blaireau
      March 12, 2019 / 7:36 am

      about 20000 apparently

  17. Lindsey Stuart
    March 12, 2019 / 10:24 am

    I think it’s ridiculous how expensive healthy foods are compared to junk food.
    I work full time but I prepare meals at a weekend and freeze! Everyone can be healthy if they want to but I know how easy it would be to cook up some chicken nuggets and fry some chips rather than cook from scratch.

  18. Katherine Carter
    March 12, 2019 / 5:45 pm

    So many factors involved really.

  19. Sheena Batey
    March 12, 2019 / 6:03 pm

    The blame can’t just be laid at the feet of working mothers . Our whole culture is for instant gratification and big portions

  20. Peter Watson
    March 12, 2019 / 6:23 pm

    I wouldn’t believe anything emanating from a Murdoch rag.

  21. Jeanette Leighton
    March 12, 2019 / 8:52 pm

    When I was in school that’s where most of the junk food is readily Available

  22. Jeanette Leighton
    March 12, 2019 / 8:56 pm

    It Doesn’t matter if parents work or not

  23. Sima Chawda-bell
    March 13, 2019 / 6:11 am

    This is not always the case with working mums, my mother worked from when I was 6 months and I was never over weight. Interesting points tho

  24. charlotte clavier
    March 13, 2019 / 10:49 am

    Interesting post but i think its a lot of different factors to contribute and not if your a working parent or not

  25. Annabel Greaves
    March 13, 2019 / 11:54 am

    This is a really useful article

  26. Natalie Burgess
    March 13, 2019 / 5:38 pm

    Its so awful that mums get blamed for everything yet fast food is always the cheap option when,kids go out. And the price of healthier options especially when eating out is ridiculous!!

  27. Kelly Wheelhouse
    March 14, 2019 / 10:08 am

    They are always wanting someone to blame. I am a working mum and proud of it, I can’t afford not to work and I love providing for my family- it shouldn’t just be up to the man to work! I’m not understanding why this is pointed at mothers because I’m sure working fathers that do the cooking for their little ones will also give them a quick ready meal or something fattening. How about looking into the deeper issue which is the amount of fats, salts, and sugars being pumped into food aimed at children!

    • Cecile Blaireau
      March 14, 2019 / 8:32 pm

      Totally agree with this. the food industry is making us all fat! Not only children.

  28. Mrs Kay Young
    March 14, 2019 / 12:08 pm

    I find it so infuriating that the media are determined to make mums feel bad. Whatever you do, it’s wrong. I try to focus on positive things and just enjoy being a mum.

  29. leah
    March 14, 2019 / 3:00 pm

    we seem to of lost the concept of ‘treat ..i would not want to be like me growing up, when only real time you had chocolate and sweets was at Christmas. but with my kids chocolate and sweets where treats not standard food at meal times.
    fast food places where rare treats and still are, where do these people get there fun from??.. is it normal visit fast food place every day? clues in the name and I think they are ok as treats, but we all need to take responsibility for our own actions to yourself and our children.

  30. Toni Hravey
    March 14, 2019 / 4:21 pm

    This is an interesting one as we are all responsible for our own choices. I believe families are responsible for what the choose to eat.

    From a purely personal point of view i am fed up with the nanny state making decisions for me ( what is available / what should be sold etc) because others don’t take enough responsibility for themselves even though we have more and more information all the time

  31. Emma Walton
    March 15, 2019 / 3:44 pm

    It doesn’t matter if you work or not, if you don’t educate your kids about the dangers of junk food and excess sugar, and also don’t encourage them to get out and exercise, they may well be overweight.

  32. Jodi
    March 16, 2019 / 12:37 am

    Good job that it’s us mothers to blame and not working dads- otherwise the whole population would have been obese for millennia!

  33. Ailsa
    March 16, 2019 / 6:15 am

    All rubbish but I think being a working mum makes me overweight !

  34. sharon catterall
    March 16, 2019 / 3:13 pm

    i think thats terrible,you cant be with your children 24 hours a day regardless of whether you work or not,but you can educate them about good food choices

  35. Corinne Henson
    March 17, 2019 / 9:24 pm

    I think this is a little harsh, we are all doing our best to juggle work, kids and everything else life throws at us and to point the finger of blame is completely unnecessary!

  36. judy kennedy
    March 18, 2019 / 1:13 pm

    Its about what we feed our kids. We know better now than previous generations. Problem is there is so much temptation which I am susceptible to myself. Food is everywhere. Its about educating our children. We would sneak out at lunch time (not allowed) and a group of us would go to my friends house. She was a working class girl and ate ryvita, salads and fruit for lunch. I a working class girl as well would have a sausage roll and a packet of wine gums. I could made have made better choices with better information when I was young. My mum used to give me crisps and sweets as well as all the good stuff, but maybe too many treats to be honest.

  37. Nadia Josephine
    March 18, 2019 / 7:01 pm

    I am not a parent, and I struggle sometimes to keep myself in checking with regards to health and food so I have so much respect for parents keeping their kids healthy and happy. This article has some great advice

  38. Susan B
    March 19, 2019 / 1:13 pm

    I enjoyed reading your post and appreciate your candour. And yes, I agree with you: working mums are not responsible for obesity. There are so many societal and commercial factors that it is absurd to blame just one group.

  39. aj
    March 19, 2019 / 2:15 pm

    no not at all

  40. Jo S
    March 20, 2019 / 9:07 am

    Blaming a whole group of society is so wrong when there are actually many layers to the reasons why our obesity levels are rising.

  41. julia Linsley
    March 23, 2019 / 6:04 pm

    Makes me cross I have always been a working Mum yet none of my children were or are overweight or obsese ! All parents whether stay at home or working have a responsibility to feed and teach their children to eat healthily

  42. Leah
    March 23, 2019 / 10:09 pm

    i wanted to be stay at home mother, it meant we did not have luxuries, holidays or flashy car, but what we did have was healthy kids, growing up on fresh veg from garden and long in countryside, i would not swap this time for that bit extra money, i cannot get this time back and I was not going to waste my time in dead end job and miss my children growing up.

  43. Emily Neasham
    March 27, 2019 / 8:59 pm

    So many other factors in this, we can’t just blame one ‘group’ of people. and why’s it always mums!!

  44. Fiona jk42
    March 27, 2019 / 9:53 pm

    I totally agree with you, this is a load of rubbish. I’m sure the main reason for the article is to provoke responses, so it is probably best to ignore it.

  45. Rebecca Whatmore
    April 10, 2019 / 1:25 pm

    It is probably different for each child and their situation.

  46. Sarah Ann Roberts
    April 10, 2019 / 1:48 pm

    l dont think this is right at all, its how you raise your children not if you work or not. I think these people who run these should invest in money to make healthier foods less expensive for families, after all you can get cheap processed foods so much cheaper than vegan or organic foods.

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