Consider this interesting finding about the history of parenting in the United States: working mothers today actually spend more time with their children than stay-at-home mothers spent with their kids in the 1960s.
Specifically, a study found that moms in 1965 played with and taught their children for 36 minutes each day, and in 1998 moms were playing with and teaching their children for nearly 130 minutes each day.
Given the difficulties of balancing work and family life, are today’s parents getting enough alone time?
One study says no. Researchers concluded that parents, in their struggle to build a career and care for their families, have no time and energy left to spend on healthy hobbies and other forms of self-care such as rest and exercise.
Psychologists and other experts agree that parents need time alone not only for personal interests, but also to recharge emotionally and physically. Managing your duties as a parent and a working professional is difficult enough without occasional rest and time to yourself, and parents need to understand that occasional time alone is not an unreasonable accommodation.
In fact, one study found that devoting all of your spare time to parenting may not even be the best thing for your kids, especially when they’re younger than 11.
Intensive parenting has gradually become the norm in the United States, but according to a study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, the fact that parents spent lots of time with their kids aged 3 to 11 had virtually no bearing on the children’s emotional, behavioral and academic outcomes. The quality of the time spent was more important than the quantity.
For teens older than 11, however, increased parental involvement was shown to prevent negative outcomes such as delinquency.
While there is no denying that loving and caring for children is a full-time job, the Vaught Law Firm would like to encourage parents to occasionally take a little time to recharge.
Every day we see parents doing their best to make a living and provide the best possible life for their kids. Often, for parents who are separated or divorced, this requires compromise with the other parent. If you’ve tried collaborating with your ex in such a way, then you probably know how exhausting it can be.
Make no mistake: the children’s well-being should always be the top priority, but don’t forget also to take a little time to yourself. Breathe, meditate, exercise, rest — these can all be keys to healthy parenting, even in the midst of parental conflict.
To learn more about parenting plans and related family law issues in Texas, please see the Vaught Law Firm’s family law overview.