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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Are kids sucking up all your free time?



mom_schoolpeek.jpgThis is an interesting essay from the Washington Post that puts a twist on the tired old subject of helicopter parenting. Most articles focus on how bad it is for the kids, who get overly dependent and lack independence because Mom never leaves their side. Writer  Margaret K. Nelson, author of Parenting Out of Control: Anxious Parents in Uncertain Times, argues that it's also bad for the mom. The endless hours spent previewing movies, helping with homework, escorting them to play dates and sitting on the sidelines of sports fields are the reason, Nelson argues, that hyper-involved women have more divorces, fewer friendships and non-existent free time.

She writes: According to sociologists Suzanne Bianchi, John Robinson and Melissa Milkie, adults in 2000 spent less time with their spouses than adults did in 1975, as they spent more time at work and more time with their children. The higher divorce rate among women with high-pressure careers could therefore be both a cause and a consequence of intense devotion to one's children: These mothers may find that the only reliable, and persistent, relationships are those with their kids.

I can definitely recognize myself in some of these statistics, finding it hard to remember the last time I went shopping with a girlfriend or had adults-only nights out or even just curled up with a book for a few hours and let the household chores wait. After stopping at the second birthday party of the day one recent Saturday, I whined that my kids have a better social life than I do. I thought it was a funny joke, but maybe that's really more sad than funny.

~ Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Friday, July 16, 2010 9:17am]


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