Feeling guilty for not spending enough time with your children? Hearing other mothers comment “I never get to see my children”? Interestingly, studies are showing that mothers are spending an average of 14 or more hours a week on childcare, up from 10 hours in 1965. And this is the case even though married fathers have increased their childcare load more then four times over the same time period. Are we paying that much more attention to our children? In this current culture, many parents worry that their child won’t be able to compete in a society where resources and opportunity seem to be diminishing. Mothers take it upon themselves to provide more then the traditional role of care taking, to also figure out how to maximize our kids skills. More then 80% of mothers in a survey by (Real Simple April 2012) report that they take the main responsibility for planning their childrens activities. No wonder we are running ourselves ragged.
But hear this! Lately there has been a push back on time intensive parenting. It has been suggested that children who are the center of their parents universe may grow up to become more neurotic, less independent adults. The Free Range Kid movement, started by Lenore Skenazy, has advocated for more unstructured and less supervised play time. This approach trusts and empowers kids to be resourceful and creative while developing critical self management skills along the way. And in line with this parenting approach, perhaps a good mother is one who models self care, self motivation and fullfillment in order to also be present for her children.
So say no to guilt. Make the time you do spend together count and then balance quality intentional time, with unstructured independent free time. Lose that guilt!