Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Time with Kids Increasing, Along with Guilt?

Every working mom can relate. You never spend enough time with the kids. Well. A new study by the University of Maryland posits that mothers actually spend MORE time with their kids now than in the 60s. The study was cited in today's Washington Post.

The most interesting part to me was the distinction between primary time (time spent wholly focused on the child (reading, playing games, etc)), secondary time (time spent with the child, but while doing something else), and time spent available to the child but not engaged. It is the primary time that has increased, and I agree with the argument that since many of us have less overall time with our kids the time we have is "quality" time -- ie, time we really engage with our kids.

The article also talks about less time spent on housework. I think this is really true. As there are more two-parent working families, we have more money and less time. So things that aren't critical can be subcontracted out. We subcontract out our house cleaning and our laundry. This is a BIG help. Especially the laundry. We have someone who comes in every two weeks, washes up to 7 loads of laundry, folds it, and puts the kids away (ours she leaves on the bed). This is SUCH a help. The cleaning is key for the bathrooms and kitchen, but just so/so for everything else. We probably need it either more often, or perhaps we need a different cleaning service.

Anyway, interesting article, and I have to say I agree with much of it. I know I work hard to try and plan activities and things to do with my kids when I am home (either after work on or weekends). In fact, when my Dad visited recently for a day, he said he wondered what we did on the weekends. And says he now sees that weekends are "all about the kids". Thankfully, we work to keep it that way.

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