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"Go Mom" article #301191
03/21/07 02:00 PM
03/21/07 02:00 PM
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lngilbert Offline OP
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Found this article in the Chicago Tribune today. Really is just reinforcing the idea that moms don't need time to themselves. I can't believe they are getting applauded for losing sleep, not doing housework, and getting takeout so that they can spend more time with their kids.

Hey, Mom, you are doing fine, study says
Maryland study finds mothers actually are spending more time with their children than a generation ago

By Donna St. George, The Washington Post; Tribune staff reporter Bonnie Miller Rubin in Chicago contributed to this report
Published March 21, 2007

WASHINGTON -- Cynthie Bush pulled on her coat and started to say goodbye. She and a friend were taking a night out for a quick dinner and a PTA event. It was not the kind of thing she did often, with two small children and a full-time job.

But before she could leave home in Herndon, Va., her 4-year-old daughter began to cry for her. For a moment, Bush recalled, she wondered if she should cancel. She needed more hours with her children, not fewer.

That whisper of worry and regret is familiar. But for all the rush of modern life, recent research suggests that mothers actually are doing a better job than they may think, at least by historical standards.

According to a University of Maryland study, today's mothers spend more hours focused on their children than their own mothers did 40 years ago--often imagined as the golden era of June Cleaver, television's ever-cheerful, cookie-baking mom.

In 1965, mothers spent 10.2 hours a week tending primarily to their children--feeding them, reading with them or playing games, for example--according to the study's analysis of detailed time diaries kept by thousands of Americans.

That number dipped in the 1970s and 1980s, rose in the 1990s and--judging from the most recent study--now is higher than ever, at nearly 14.1 hours a week.

This is especially striking because of how today's mothers view their lives: Roughly half of those interviewed said they didn't have enough time with their children.

"It's almost like it doesn't matter how much they do; they feel they do not do enough," said sociologist Suzanne Bianchi, the study's lead author.

The research offers a look into a generation of great change for mothers.

They have given up hours in other parts of their lives to make more time with their children--cutting back on housework, which was down more than 40 percent over 38 years. They also trimmed their free time--and to some extent their sleep--as they multitasked. Multitasking hours roughly doubled.

"This is part of the burden of this generation of parents: enormously high expectations for how children develop, how they feel about themselves, how they achieve and how successful they are in the world," said William Doherty, a family studies professor at the University of Minnesota.

In all, the research, published last autumn, tells a story of family trade-offs and cultural shifts over a span of years when American mothers entered the workforce as never before and the number of families headed by single mothers jumped markedly.

This was also a time when families had fewer children and parents were more educated.

"There is a greater stake in each child succeeding," co-author Melissa Milkie said.

In Flossmoor, Ill., Jeanne Miller, a mother of three, ages 16, 14 and 11, said the findings confirm what she already knew: That today's stretched-too-thin mothers are doing just fine.

`Doing just what we should'

"We're doing just what we should be doing," said the 42-year-old real estate lawyer. "We're playing Scrabble and cards and going to all games, sitting out in the cold and the rain."

Like many of today's parents, Miller spends a lot of hours in the car, shuttling from pompom squad to Scouts to music lessons. "That can be some really good time," she said.

This is a marked departure from her own family life in the 1960s and '70s, when Miller stayed home once she got home from school. Other ways she differed from the routine of her schoolteacher mother: She does carryout more and sleeps less.

"I do most of the personal things after the kids are in bed, sometimes staying up until 1 or 2 in the morning. By 10 p.m., my mom was down for the count," said Miller, who also teaches at Northeastern Illinois and Governors State Universities.

Karen O'Donnell, 39, who works for an investment firm, outsources a lot of domestic chores to free up more time with her three daughters, ages 9, 5 and 4.

She hires someone to clean her home in Western Springs, Ill., once a week, relies on a nanny to handle grocery shopping and laundry and has jettisoned ironing for the dry cleaners. She is considering hiring a service to help her get better organized and streamline the remaining clutter.

"I'm definitely not as fanatic about the house as my mother," she said. "I'm the one who helps with the homework and the school projects. . . . I put my time where it counts."

Her husband, an attorney, steps up to the plate in a way that men from an earlier era did not. "He does everything ... including making play dates. My dad didn't do any of that."

Despite all the juggling, O'Donnell said she often feels like she drops the ball. Like many others, she cuts back on time for herself, often skipping lunch and forgoing working out. "When it gets warmer, I'll start walking to the train."

How researchers set study

Not all time spent with children is the same, so the Maryland researchers looked at it in several ways.

There is primary time, when a child is the focus of a parent's attention. There is secondary time -- helping with homework, for example, while cooking dinner. Then there is a third category: just being with children.

Looking back to 1975--the earliest year that the diaries captured this level of detail--they found, again, that mothers gave more time than in the past.

For married mothers, hours with children rose to 51 a week in 2000 from 47 a week in 1975. Time spent by single mothers slipped to 44 hours a week from 50 hours.

What the researchers could not capture was what they think of as "accessibility": when a parent might be uninvolved but is available--inside the house, for example, when the children are in the back yard.

""There is a greater stake in each child succeeding," co-author Melissa Milkie said." Give me a break.


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Re: "Go Mom" article [Re: lngilbert] #301202
03/21/07 02:43 PM
03/21/07 02:43 PM
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Chaco Offline
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when this generation of children reach adulthood these parents will be in for a surprise.
These kids will not know what to do without mom around. They will be freaked out by being by themselves and not running off to an activity. And these high expectations are going to cause problems.
I have seen this in my husband. Mom was always around, telling him how great he was, how special, blah blah. Did everything for him. He got to adulthood and did not know how to take care of himself. And he could not understand why things were not working out as he wanted them too. His mother had told him he could have anything. He went through several years of depression and general inability to move forward. We met in college and I have often felt I already raised a kid. the good news is is that 12 years later he is a wonderful man a month away from a Masters degree and a career as a teacher. But it was a long road.

fine if you want to spend all your time with your kids before they are 5. But once they hit school age, you need to go out and get a life. Children should perceive women as more than just mothers-impossible if that is all mom does.

Re: "Go Mom" article [Re: Chaco] #301219
03/21/07 03:27 PM
03/21/07 03:27 PM
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lngilbert Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: Chaco
I have seen this in my husband. Mom was always around, telling him how great he was, how special, blah blah. Did everything for him. He got to adulthood and did not know how to take care of himself.


Same here. My MIL always did everything for her kids. If I want my husband to help around the house, I literally have to tell him every step because he never had to clean at all. He won't even attempt to do something on his own besides dishes, and I'm expected to be SO HAPPY if he does them.

My SIL gets irritated if her husband asks her to help him around the house. She says if he wants it done, why doesn't he just do it himself?

It's funny because the youngest son didn't get any of that special treatment, and he turned out to be extremely independent.


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Re: "Go Mom" article [Re: lngilbert] #301222
03/21/07 03:31 PM
03/21/07 03:31 PM
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lngilbert Offline OP
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The thing that I really don't like about this article is that they are applauding moms for giving up their time, they are saying, "You have a job, so to make up for that you have to give up your personal time." I think it's really, really sad.

And moms don't think they do enough. Why? Because of articles like this! And yet, the article says, "relax, you're doing great!" while reinforcing the whole "give up your life for your kids" thing. It's a catch-22, an endless circle, a goal that can never be reached.

I am tired of hearing moms at the park district talking about how they get one night to themselves because both kids are in the same class, or they are signing up for the gym to get an hour to themselves. I just want to say, you have brought this upon yourself, but I guess it's not really your fault because society is mandating this type of lifestyle.

GRRRR.


You can't take the sky from me ...
Re: "Go Mom" article [Re: Chaco] #301224
03/21/07 03:38 PM
03/21/07 03:38 PM
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I've also wondered what will become of those children with obsessive mothers/parents. I figure they're in for a rude awakening in most parts of their lives. It will be almost impossible for them to have close friends or a romantic partner if they continue with the expectation that everyone else will worship them. And how will they ever work for a living or fulfill life's other requirements?

Re: "Go Mom" article [Re: bassgrrl] #301227
03/21/07 03:45 PM
03/21/07 03:45 PM
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nosy Offline
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The obsessive parent thing is worrisome. My sister and so many are SO involved with every little detail in and out of school. The kids are constantly monitored and assisted and scrutinized and instructed. They have a hard time making decisions for themselves and are quick to say "but I don't know how" or just ask their mom before even trying to do something. They fall apart if they fail at anything. I think kids are supposed to fail at some things and learn how to cope w/it. This trend doesn't seem good for kids.

Re: "Go Mom" article [Re: nosy] #301229
03/21/07 03:56 PM
03/21/07 03:56 PM
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Encore DT Offline
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What drives me insane the most is that some of these mothers don't realize that, by constantly being "there" and "looking out" for their children, they are making it worse. I mean, is it that hard to look at the people around you and realize that a child needs to be left alone sometimes so that he/she can learn some independence? And how about taking care of oneself?


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Re: "Go Mom" article [Re: Encore DT] #301231
03/21/07 03:59 PM
03/21/07 03:59 PM
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nosy Offline
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Exactly - the kids are NOT learning to be independent or have self confidence. Many parents are protecting their kids from learning important life lessons.

Re: "Go Mom" article [Re: nosy] #301234
03/21/07 04:02 PM
03/21/07 04:02 PM
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M.B. Offline
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Today's parents alwas seem to be at one extreme or the other. Half of them let their kids run wild, the other half give new definition to "micromanaging." Life is about balance. EVERYTHING in life. That includes parenting.


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Re: "Go Mom" article [Re: lngilbert] #301240
03/21/07 04:19 PM
03/21/07 04:19 PM
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flyingaway Offline
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Oh barf. What about this paragraph?

___

Like many of today's parents, Miller spends a lot of hours in the car, shuttling from pompom squad to Scouts to music lessons. "That can be some really good time," she said.
___

Parents are obviously exempted from any environmental concerns. Fill up the landfills with diapers and wipeys, and drive your kids around all day to pompom squad and other vital activities. You're raising the next generation, so it's okay! I guess this counts as a carpool, you just birthed your own carpool.

Chaco, maybe you could give us some tips on raising the husbands. I always hoped since the women's movement moms would raise their sons to not have such traditional role definitions, but apparently not. My husband is 50, and seems to have grown up with the impression women do the housework. I don't like fighting all the time over it, so haven't quite figured out how to retrain him. He does a little, but it's not even close to even. He does way more of the dirty, outside work then me, and I prefer it that way, so that kind of makes up for it. But I don't like the assumptions, and that is actually partly why I haven't had kids. I worry about the additional housework making me resent him, and also raising another generation who learns these role definitions.

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