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March 22, 2007

Working moms time with kids is actually increasing

The next time your mother points out that you should give up your career to spend more time with your kids, you can point out that you spend MORE time with your kids than she did when raising you.

A University of Maryland study shows that today's working mothers actually spend slightly more waking hours with their children than at-home mothers did a generation ago. In the study, 300 working moms to kept time diaries explaining how they'd spent the previous 24 hours. The results, compared to time diaries kept by '60s moms, showed the following:

  • Today's working mothers spent an average 14.1 hours a week with their children.
  • In 1965, the mothers spent 10.2 hours with the kids.

So, just how do we do it? 

The study points out that a working mom sleeps an average of six (6) hours less a week than our SAHM counterparts.  We also have less kids, spend less time on housework, and less “personal” time than our ‘60s mothers.  The 60s mom may have been physically there more, but she was busy cooking, cleaning, sewing, and ironing – all things that many of us working moms now outsource with housekeepers, meal delivery, and that darn dry cleaning bill. 

Looking back to my mother's generation, I see differences. My mother (a SAHM until I was about 10 yrs old) would "shoo" us out of the house every day.  We were not to stay inside (where she was doing housework, laundry, and cooking).  When we were school-age, we came home from school, changed our clothes, had a snack, and were thrown outside again.  She spent the majority of her time doing things for us and not doing things with us.

In today's busier, more child-centered times, mom's don't allow their kids to play outside unsupervised.  And we enroll them in a million classes and activities expose our kids to culture and athletics.  Not to mention giving up the housework and the pot-roast dinner to have active, quality time with our children. 

The big take-away here? Working moms, we are doing ok.  Throw that guilt out with your next order of Chinese take-out.

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