Working parents know the struggle of waking up around 5 or 6 AM, dropping the kids off at school or daycare, working all day, and then rounding up the family for homework, dinner, and bedtime. The day is over before you know it, and you’ve barely spent any quality time with your kids.
While this is a very relatable day-to-day experience for many working parents, one mom turned to social media to wonder if she was alone in literally hating that she doesn’t get to see her kid for more than an hour or so a day during the work week.
“Does any other working parent feel like they don’t get to spend enough time with their kids on the weekdays? We get off at 5pm, pick up our toddler from daycare, make dinner, eat around 6:30pm, and then our bedtime routine starts at 7pm. I HATE IT. I HATE IT. I HATE IT,” @edvcatedx tweeted.
Tons of messages and replies flooded in from parents with similar feelings of sadness, along with messages of solidarity for this frustrated mom.
“I feel the exact same. I get off at 5 and don’t make it home until 5:30-5:45. We eat at 6:30, and the kids are in bed by 7:30. Hurts my mama heart so much,” one user tweeted in reply.
Another echoed, “Yes! It hurts! My baby girl is only 6-months-old and I only spend time with her for like 2 hours before she goes to bed.”
One Twitter user replied that she understood the feeling of sadness from not getting that quality time during the week, and added a nice sprinkle of guilt on top of it when moms try to get in any sort of “self care” time in for themselves.
“OMG. And feeling guilty for a one hour workout,” they replied.
Another former nanny turned mom chimed in with an interesting perspective on child care for working parents. “When I was a nanny I always thought about how I spent more time with these people's kids than the parents did. And I'm lucky enough to be a SAHM but I know my husband feels the same way,” she wrote.
One Twitter user mentioned that since the work week is pretty much a wash when it comes to quality family time, weekends can be that time to really cherish being a family and bond, but then the house is neglected, the pantry is empty, and Monday rolls around with double the to-do list.
“And then spend the weekend feeling guilty for either letting some chores fall by the wayside to spend time with my kids or not spend enough time with kids bc of housework/errands/etc,” they wrote.
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t!
Though many working parents are feeling guilty for not getting to spend more than a few hours a night with their kids, research actually shows that mothers and fathers are spending more time with their kids than 10, 20, and even 50 years ago. This is even despite the fact that 46% of parents today are both in the workforce versus just 31% in 1970.
So, how could this be? Well, more involved dads could be a huge part of that. Nearly half of millennial dads — around 45% — say they are more available as parents and just “more involved, open and hands-on with their kids,” than their parents were.
Dads are now spending around 59 minutes a day with their children; in the 1960s, dads spent an average of only 16 minutes a day on parenting. Those 59 minutes still seem so low, but it’s truly leaps and bounds from the generations that came before.
And millennial moms and dads are prioritizing quality time.
So while @edvcatedx may feel frustrated and sad that she only sees her child in small snippets during the week, the fact that she actually cares about that speaks volumes to her parenting and thoughtfulness as a mom.