Posts Tagged ‘ health ’

Are Working Moms Making Their Kids Fat?

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

I often joke that I’m the busiest unemployed person I know. Between a 2 1/2 year old, an 8-month old, and my pretend career, I have zero time. And I have a full-time nanny (Cleo) and a cleaning lady.

So it came as a huge surprise to me that a new study shows that working moms spend a whopping 3 1/2 hours less on their kids’ meals and exercise regimes than stay-at home-moms (SAHM).

First of all, that’s it? I would think it would be much more, considering that I can barely find time to work out or put a proper dinner on the table. Cleo helps us with meals and between all of us, my husband included, we manage. (The study also said husbands don’t pick up the slack.  Mine does in many ways, though meals are expected to come from me. And I do the best I can.)

Sidenote: Phil did ask one day why Fia was eating so many chicken nuggets:

Me: “Because lately I haven’t had the have time to make good meals.”

Him: “We can’t become those people who only feed her one type of food.”

Me: “Then help me come up with a menu for the week for all of us.”

Him: (Shrug shoulders. Subject dropped.)

Me: (Looked at a cookbook–Ellie Krieger–that night and came up with meal plan.)

Him: (Meetings at night the rest of the week.)

Me: (Didn’t waste time making a meal for myself. Fia and I just winged it, which probably included chicken nuggets for both of us.)

Conclusion: Neither of us became obese.

I bring up obesity because the study actually states that the lack of parental involvement in a child’s diet is linked to obesity, regardless of socio-economic status. Huh?

The study was done by Cornell University and is in the current online issue of the journal of Economics and Human Biology.  In it, the authors say “…the findings are consistent across socio-economic lines measured by the mothers’ education, family income, race and ethnicity.”

This makes no sense. It has been reported time and time again that obesity in children is directly linked to socio-economic factors. The poorer people in this country have children with higher obesity rates. Doesn’t mean we all can’t stand to get fit and healthy, but the generalization towards working moms just irks me. First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative is all about changing our lifestyle through education. We need to educate everyone: Caregivers, schools, parents, etc., on proper nutrition and exercise. An excerpt from the First Lady’s site states:

The threat of childhood obesity to the health of our children and the health of our nation has never been greater. Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled. Today, almost one in every three children in our nation is obese or overweight. The numbers are even higher in African American and Hispanic communities, where nearly 40% of the children are overweight or obese.

To now link this obesity issue to working moms is preposterous, in my opinion. As if us moms don’t have pressure enough already.  Now working moms have to feel guilty for making their children fat? Please. Everyone read my post on The Failure Hour. I now have another reason to celebrate my inadequacy as a parent.

Fia, Your Mom Pretends to Work. Therefore, You Might Get Fat. Sorry, Baby!

I’m not a scientist, nor do I understand all the research a study like this undertakes. I won’t bash the authors because they are just reporting their findings, but how many reports and studies do we need to tell us how to “be” a proper mom? How many millions of dollars do we need to spend researching pure logic? As my fellow blogger Heather Morgan Shott says in High-Chair Times:

“Instead of fanning the flames of the mommy wars by comparing working moms to nonworking moms, why don’t these researchers redirect their efforts to curing cancer?”

Amen, sister.

My good friend Hulda, who just moved to LA from Iceland, is here with me while I write this. She is a PhD professor. She actually pulled the study for me and read it (bless her). She finds the hoopla this study is causing just plan silly (and some of the data a little questionable).

“In Iceland, 96% of moms work. It is just the norm,” she told me. “Almost all kids are in daycare from a young age.”

I’ve been to their country. It’s an amazing place. Theirs is a culture with an incredibly high standard of living. Their kids become productive citizens. Their babies aren’t missing out because the moms are working. Oh, and by the way, their obesity rates don’t come close to ours, though they are rising. But I’m guessing it’s not because the moms work (which has been the norm for decades there). I would bet a Big Mac that it’s because our American companies have saturated their market with all our crap. Soda, fast food, you name it. Those entities are the real enemy. Corporate greed at any and all cost.

At least New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg gets it. His soda ban (any sugary beverage over 16 ounces is O-U-T) passed this week. I believe it’s his most brilliant move to date. But I’m getting off track.

This whole argument becomes so circular. If you spend a couple hours less per day with your toddler, then we have to assume he/she is in daycare or with a nanny. Therefore, 2 of their 3 meals are taking place without you. So really it’s the daycare or nanny who is feeding your kid crap. Which I doubt is the constant in all this. But if it is, fix it. This isn’t rocket science.

Any child over 5 is in school full-time whether the mom works or not. So when they get out of school at 3 pm, make sure they don’t have a house full of Doritos to come home to. (The study says that unsupervised children are more likely to eat poorly. Wow, that’s a shocker.)

Come on people, this is basic stuff. Whether you stay at home or work, just love your child, feed them nutritious meals, have whomever is watching them feed nutritious meals, have them exercise with or without you, and instill the importance of healthy living.

Then, at the end of the day, plop down on your couch with your favorite glass of wine (red is better for you), and give yourself credit for making it through another day as a mom who is simply doing the best she can.

 

Photo of fat kid courtesy of Shutterstock

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Moving Mid-Pregnancy: Anemia

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Here, he's the size of a cauliflower. And taking all my iron!

Author’s Note: Join me every Tuesday or Wednesday for “Moving Mid Pregnancy,” to read about my ongoing search for a new “everything” (from nannies to mom friends to health providers) while pregnant and living in a new city.

I have been so exhausted since the move to LA. I feel like I just can’t get caught up. Part of it is being pregnant while doing all this. But another big part is I’m anemic. I know this happens to a lot of women in pregnancy, though I was surprised when my doctor called with the news. I eat red meat, kale, and beans a lot. I also exercise and try and get as much sleep as the bouncing baby in my belly allows. Nonetheless, my numbers are way down.

I went to the health food store and bought Floradix. That’s what a few other women recommended to me. I ate hamburgers three nights in a row. And kale. I can’t tell if it’s making a difference, because it’s hard to distinguish between just being tired from pregnancy versus anemia. I guess the iron supplements can take awhile to kick in. Bleh.

The Senior Pregnancy Editor for Parents.com, Heather Morgan Shott, and blogger of High Chair Times is alsoanemic. So severe her doctor said she had never seen such low numbers. She became anemic while pregnant with Mason and remains so 15 months later.  Bleh. Not fun.

It  never ceases to amaze me what we women go through to bring babies into this world. Whether it’s pregnancy issues, (like my embarrassing pregnancy problem I wrote about…ack!) or labor and delivery itself, it’s pretty remarkable that we don’t rule the world. Seriously.

If anyone has any good tips out there on the anemic thing besides the things I’ve mentioned I’m sure all of us who share this issue would love to hear it.

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Milestone Monday: Toddler Hypochondria?

Monday, December 5th, 2011

"My Finger Hurts," Fia says

Author’s Note: Join me every Monday as I share Fia’s ongoing milestone (mis)adventures–from potty training to talking to everything in between.  Mayhem and mischief guaranteed on Milestone Monday!

How is it that my toddler turns two and develops severe hypochondria? Actually, it ‘s been going on for some time now. Every part of her body seems to be in constant pain.

“Mommy, finger hurts. Kiss. Make better.”

“Mommy, eye hurts. Kiss. Make better.”

I’m all for smothering her, but this is getting a little ridiculous.

The most common body part: her elbow. I’ve never met a person who has such constant elbow pain.  And none of these body parts are on the same side. Sometimes it’s the left thumb. Other times it’s the right pinky.

The best is when I’m driving. These phantom pains pop up as she sits in her car seat listening to Elmo. Isn’t it bad enough that I can’t listen to NPR? But now I have to hear her listing off her knee, her cheek, her shoulder ailments…. I’m not stopping on the freeway to offer kisses, that’s for damn sure. Silly girl.

When I was in 2nd grade, I had a fake cast made and wore it to school. I pretended I broke my arm. Clearly I was a needy child, desperate for attention, even though at that time in my life, my parents gave me plenty.  Did Fia inherit this trait? And is this hypochondria thing a normal milestone, or am I going to have the youngest person on the planet diagnosed with fibromyalgia?

 

Baby Finger picture via Shutterstock

 

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My Embarrassing Pregnancy Problem

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Pregnancy Woes

If there were an Ugly Vagina Contest, I would win, hands down. Granted, I wrote last week about how I don’t think the lady parts are very pretty to begin with. But in this pregnancy, I think I’ve taken the ugly vag to a new level. This is something mortifying to talk about. And taboo. I’m diving in anyway because I feel we women are sometimes embarrassed to discuss stuff like this. And yes, I am one of those women. It makes me feel prude-ish. Why? Not sure.

But maybe some of you have also experienced my “condition” and have a solution? Or maybe you have a different embarrassing issue? Don’t let me go out on this limb and be met with silence. It sucks when you feel alone in your “female” issues.

I think my condition is called Vulva Varicose Veins. As the belly grows, pressure is put on your blood vessels down there. Those vessels actually puff up. It’s gruesome.

I’d love to know if Angelina Jolie had this while carrying twins. And if so, was Brad freaked out? Somehow I think celebrities are immune to these horrid issues; that it only happens to us common folk. I would love to be wrong, but we’ll probably never know. (Maybe at her next red carpet I’ll go stalk her and shout, “Hey Angelina: did you have Vaginal Varicose Veins when you were pregnant?” To which she’ll reply, “Why yes I did. And Brad found it very sexy.”)

I did buy a maternity support belt to lift my stomach up and take some of the pressure off. I don’t think it’s doing much though. My OB says it won’t make the condition go away, but it will help it from getting worse. Oh good, so my vag won’t go from grapefruit to watermelon size. Whew.   You can buy a fembrace, but then it’s like you’re walking around wearing a diaper. Or these things that Mork might have worn, had he been a pregnant woman. Oh, and to share even more—for me, this condition is only on the right side. So I’m lopsided in my deformity.

On my legs, it’s the left side that’s cursed. I’m getting spider veins. What, is Mother Nature trying to even out the horrors? Wow, thanks. Really appreciate it.

This never happened with Fia. I am now wearing compression thigh high stockings that cost $55 at a medical supply store. And the support belt that has three straps to it. It takes at least 11 minutes to get dressed with my undergarments alone.

Luckily neither of these “conditions” hurt. Though it’s not exactly comfortable either. It feels like I have weights pulling down on my private parts, especially if I stand up after sitting for a while. With 2 months left to go, I still have time to find myself in pain. Bleh. Ugh. Yuck. Argh.

My OB out here is a good-looking guy. I had to get the courage to ask him to take a look. I wanted to get a wax, but I was scared I’d hemorrhage. He laughed. “You won’t hemorrhage. And remember, this office is in Beverly Hills, so wax away.” Then he said he’d seen worse. But I got the feeling I was up there. Like maybe I’d get 3rd place in an ugly vag contest. Thing is, I have yet to get the wax. I’m actually too embarrassed. I need a good aesthetician who has quite literally “seen it all.”

My friends tell me how little I complain in this pregnancy. That’s because if I complained, it would go like this, “Well this morning, my vagina went from the size of an orange to a grapefruit. And has the texture of a cauliflower. And how are you?” No one wants to hear about this. Unless you have been in my shoes before. Or have an equally embarrassing tale to tell. Then I need to hear from you. Come on sisters! Dish with me.

 Image: Pregnant Woman via Shutterstock

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Why Don’t Babies Breathe Heavy?

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Run Run Run

How is it that toddlers don’t breathe heavy? Fia is never out of breath. Do they have Olympic-like cardiovascular systems? We love hiking in Griffith Park, near our house. There are these crazy hills that her little legs can walk/run up without her body huffing and puffing. I honestly don’t understand it. Even a marathon runner would start to pant. I sound like a hippo in heat. And when we play chase, she’ll run after us but her breathing remains at the same solid level. I’m really curious: Are toddlers equipped with a different lung capacity? It just kind of defies the human body. But It’s something I notice in tot-land.

Any docs or experts out there have the answer? Just curious.

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