Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Despite 'Mommy Guilt' Time With Kids Increasing

Here is an excellent piece from today's Washington Post that describes the-Time With Children Study-that you can see below in my blog entry dated 3/12/07.

By Donna St. George Washington Post Staff Writer March 20, 2007

Cynthie Bush pulled on her coat and started to say goodbye. She and a friend were taking a night out -- three hours in all, for a quick dinner and a PTA event. It was not the kind of thing she did often, with two small children and a full-time job.

But before she could leave her Herndon home, her 4-year-old daughter began to cry for her. For a moment, Bush recalled, she wondered if she should cancel. Her days were already so full. She needed more hours with her children, not fewer. That whisper of worry and regret is familiar to a generation of mothers who juggle homework and housework, sports practice and dance lessons, in days that often include paid jobs and traffic-snarled commutes.

But for all the rush of modern life, recent research suggests that mothers are actually doing a better job than they may think, at least by historical standards. According to a University of Maryland study, today's mothers spend more hours focused on their children than their own mothers did 40 years ago, often imagined as the golden era of June Cleaver, television's ever-cheerful, cookie-baking mom.

In 1965, mothers spent 10.2 hours a week tending primarily to their children -- feeding them, reading with them or playing games, for example -- according to the study's analysis of detailed time diaries kept by thousands of Americans. That number dipped in the 1970s and 1980s, rose in the 1990s and now is higher than ever, at nearly 14.1 hours a week.

This is especially striking because it is at odds with how today's mothers view their own lives: Roughly half of those interviewed said they did not have enough time with their children.
"It's almost like it doesn't matter how much they do, they feel they do not do enough," said sociologist Suzanne M. Bianchi, the study's lead author.

"This is part of the burden of this generation of parents: enormously high expectations for how children develop, how they feel about themselves, how they achieve and how successful they are in the world," said William Doherty, a family studies professor at the University of Minnesota.

Click here to read the rest of the article.


Marisa Meneely Wilson said...

Oh, wow this is so me. I've been reading about this a lot and have tried sneaking it in front of my husband just to say , "SEE, I told you so...". I kept thinking, how the heck do other moms do it? I've survived the last year on I'd say an average of 4-5 hours of sleep at night. I have a 4 year old, a one year old, a great job, a great husband, but one day I do expect to go over the edge a little and my happy little "homies" won't know what hit them. So it's great to here we're spending more time etc, but something truly has to give. I predict we'll start dying earlier than men soon and the statistic of men outliving woman will be a thing of the past...