Working mothers - another survey of doom
In the UK, working mothers spend on average just over one hour per day with their children. The exact amount is one hour and 21 minutes, which was a lot more than the screaming headline in the Daily Mail that carried the story but still, I thought that sounded pretty good. That was until I read further and discovered that the amounts stated included weekends. So averaging it out most of these working mothers are spending only a matter of minutes with their children each weekday. Brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘Hello Stranger,' doesn't it?
In Australia, working mums come out on top. They spent the most time with their children per day, spending two hours and 17 minutes per day with their Aussie offspring. American working mothers rack up one hour and 34 minutes.
So is it okay? Is there a choice? Should we obsess about this, chalk it up to another #fail in our roles as mothers, fall on our metaphorical ironing boards? Again?!?
Of course the newspapers covering these results didn't bother looking at working fathers. Well, why would you? We expect working fathers to be absent; in fact I'm sure many kids think those suits are just dad-skin and briefcases come surgically moulded to their dad's fist. Yet another mummy-knocking survey. Perhaps some of that paid researcher time might have been better spent hoovering our houses or unblocking the sink for example. In a household with two working parents, why is everyone most concerned with judging the mothers?
In the US, they are trying to do something about the ever-diminishing time parents and children are spending together with a new scheme called FAST Parenting (FAST standing for Families and Schools Together). On MumsRock.com, we used to file someof our posts under the title ‘Speed Parenting.' We thought that was funny at the time.
Judgments aside, I do wonder what our children will grow up to aspire to family/work/life-wise with their hand-over worlds of childcare, school, babysitters and occasional hands-on parents. Will they rebel against our ambitions and responsibilities, downsizing to rural squats and turning their back on the career ladders we've struggled to scale for so long? Perhaps they will have their children young, home-school and raise a generation of kids who have more in common with our parents or grandparents generation.
And as I ponder that one, I'm going to close my computer down and hang out with my son for a bit. Just to chill and see whether I can't up our average a little bit.