Read this op-ed!
In an Op-Ed in today’s New York Times, Stephanie Coontz writes that “[p]arents today spend much more time with their children than they did 40 years ago.”
“The sociologists Suzanne Bianchi, John Robinson and Melissa Milkie report that married mothers in 2000 spent 20 percent more time with their children than in 1965. Married fathers spent more than twice as much time.
A study by John Sandberg and Sandra Hofferth at the University of Michigan showed that by 1997 children in two-parent families were getting six more hours a week with Mom and four more hours with Dad than in 1981.”
And this despite women’s greater presence in the workforce. So where is the extra time coming from? From “shortchanging” adult time – time as a couple and time with friends.
Koontz goes on:
“Couples need time alone to renew their relationship. They also need to sustain supportive networks of friends and family. Couples who don’t, investing too much in their children and not enough in their marriage, may find that when the demands of child-rearing cease to organize their lives, they cannot recover the relationship that made them want to have children together in the first place.”
Fortunately, children actually might not want to be spending all those hours with their parents.
“Indeed, the researcher Ellen Galinsky has found that most children don’t want to spend as much time with their parents as parents assume; they just want their parents to be more relaxed when they are together.”
Lots of great ideas here-- you should check out the whole thing!
Yale Law Women Conference Co-Chair
Yale Law School Class of 2009