A question I get asked a lot is how I can spend every waking minute with my kids, day in and day out without going insane. My adult daughter asked me, how so many parents can miss so much time with their kids. This really got me to thinking about how many families function in a vastly different lifestyle than that of our own. It is not unusual for both parents to work out of the home, kids in school all day. Many times now kids are in after school programs and only have time to quickly eat some dinner, do their homework and go to bed leaving very little time for family involvement. Weekends are spent running off to get a chance to actually play and do things with their friends what they can not do in school together. Research shows that working parents spend only 19 minutes of quality time caring for the kids a day.
An average of 19 minutes a day is an alarmingly small amount of time to spend with a child. One of the benefits of being unschooling parents is that we get to spend incredible amounts of time with our kids. A misconception is that we are with them 24/7 though and this simply is not in the least bit true. While I do spend large amounts of time with them I do get moments of being alone. Sometimes I run errands with either my husband or adult daughter while the other adult stays home with the kids when we do not all go together which is often as well. Sometimes I go for a walk, many times I am later joined on my way back home as they always know where I walk, but it gives me at least 10 minutes to myself. I take long baths for clearing my mind and relishing in the luxury of bubbles. When I go with hubby to do scrap metal jobs, nobody else enjoys this activity so we get not only alone time but husband and wife time which is great!
Truth be told though, I love spending so much time with my awesome, interesting kids. It saddens me to see so many families missing out on time with their kids. It really makes me wonder why people want kids in the first place if they were never going to spend more than 19 minutes a day with them. When my first two children went to public school, I see now just how much time was missed getting to know them, nurture them, raise them compared to my homeschooled children now. If only I had realized it sooner, perhaps I would not have missed so much time with them. I realize many do not have a choice and both parents must work, I must really give hats off to them for how hard they work for their kids. It just is a very sad statistic to know so little time is available for the children.
19 minutes a day may give us a good clue on the breakdown of the family unit today. With a Nation that has moved towards service work is meaning lower paying jobs. Lower paying jobs is meaning more parents are needing two income earners in the home to make ends meat with not enough money for daycare. Two-income families are meaning not just children missing out on time with one parent but both. Sometimes the parents jobs mean the kids must attend the after school programs or be left home alone. This all leads to disharmony and severed relationships leading to behavior problems. At some point something has to give and a major change is desperately needed to reform the family unit.
So in the future, when folks ask me how I can spend so much time with my kids and not go crazy I know what my reply will be. How can YOU afford to miss so much time?