Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Strollers, childhood obesity and Mummy guilt

A couple of months ago my aunt gave me an article that said that children spend too much time being pushed in the stroller, especially older children.

Apparently we are subconsciously teaching our kids that you sit down to get around, and it is all because our lives are too busy and we are rushing, and our kids will all end up fat and dead of diabetes or heart conditions by the time they are 20.  OK, that's an exageration but I'm sure you can imagine the tone of the article.

Now I'm not trying to down-play the terrible thing that is childhood obesity and all the related health risks but do mothers really need one more thing to feel guilty about? I swear we are doing our best.

I was furious and indignant when I first read the article, and I still resent the implied criticism of all the Mums out there but, four months on, it has definitely changed my behaviour.

I have a double pram for Princess and Wild Man and we do spend a reasonable amount of time walking around our local area (normally to the local cafes for some much needed caffeine at about 6am). 

I used to feel really positive about pushing them around - they were getting fresh air, Vitamin D, not watching the TV, quality time together, experiencing the natural world blah blah blah (you see what I mean about mother guilt) but after I read the article I became consious of the fact that Wild Man was definitely capable of walking at least some of the time and the only reason he didn't was that I was in the habit of pushing him (and I was in a rush to get coffee).

No more! It only took a couple of gentle suggestions from me and he was enthusiastically running along the footpath, exploring people's front gardens, patting local dogs and generally having a wonderful time.

This brave new world is not without its drawbacks - walks take twice as long, Wild Man can be difficult to control, I keep having to pretend to be a dog out for a walk with its owner (complete with stick in my mouth) and I am terrified of cars reversing out of driveways and into my little boy - but for the most part it is fantastic and I love watching him enjoy this new sense of freedom.

So even though I resented the article I'm really glad I read it. And in the end my sense of guilt had a really positive effect.

How much time do your kids spend walking compared to in the stroller? And do you have trouble with them running off?


  1. Love your blog, babe! You know what this blog is like? It's like having dinner with you, except if I had laryngitis and you had to do all the talking. I remember dinner with you! That was always good fun.
    Anyway, I have those little backpackie, child lead things, and they have saved my kids' lives many times, and anyone who has a problem with that can get knotted!

  2. Oh Alyssa, I miss those dinners!! Couldn't agree more about the leads. Seriously, is it worse to have your child wearing leads or run over by a car??


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