A recent survey has shown what many of us know already: parents aren’t getting enough ‘me time’.
You know that time when you can focus entirely on yourself.
After you have children, you realise ‘me time’ is a sacrifice you have to make.
Perhaps ‘me time’ used to be having a massage, or taking a long rambling walk in your local park.
You might’ve indulged in creative ‘me time’, whipping up a painting or playing the guitar.
Whatever it looked like for you, chances are you’re prepared for that to take a back seat while you are raising your children.
But are you prepared for how shockingly little ‘me time’ you actually get?
Parents Aren’t Getting Enough Me Time
Meal delivery service Munchery decided not enough money had been spent on scientific research into whether parents were getting enough down time, so they decided to right that wrong.
Sometimes, the scientists don’t get their act together, and meal delivery services just have to step in – you know how it is.
The study analysed the everyday lives of 2,000 parents. And the results? When parents have finished working and parenting, there is very little time left in the day.
In fact, on average, parents were found to have just over half an hour to themselves each day.
That’s only 30 minutes of precious ‘me time’.
If you don’t feel this survey is scientific enough, try implementing your own research study.
Do Your Own Research
Head to your nearest playgroup and find a few parents of young children.
Sit down next to them and ask them what they’ve been doing lately.
When they start telling you about their baby’s teething troubles or their toddler’s bad attitude, stop them.
Say “No, I mean, what have YOU been doing lately?”
The initial look of panic that flashes across their faces will soon turn into a melancholic frown.
Perhaps there’ll even be full blown sobs, as they realise they have nothing to say.
A lot of the parents in Munchery’s survey admitted to hiding from their children four times a week, in a desperate attempt to carve out a little time for themselves.
How Parents Spend Their Time
Parents aren’t getting enough ‘me time’.
If they are in full-time work, they spend an average of 18 hours each week taking care of their children.
Almost 25% of the survey participants spent more than 30 hours every week taking care of their children, while juggling other responsibilities.
The average parent didn’t get to say goodnight to parenting duties until 8pm.
Although if you have a child who doesn’t yet sleep through the night, this might sound like a dream.
The survey also found parents spent time ferrying their kids around to school or other activities.
And then there were the numerous trips to buy groceries, because (gosh) those kids can also eat!
The average parent had to deal with a child’s misbehaviour five times a week.
This implies none of them had toddlers, because a toddler can smash out five tantrums before breakfast on a good day. Or a bad day, if you’re not the toddler.
With all of the tantrum-taming and grocery shopping it’s obvious parents aren’t getting enough ‘me time’.
Start with cooking meals, cleaning up stray LEGO, and taking kids to school. Then there’s helping with homework, arguing about screen time and generally trying to look interested in yet more tales of playground politics. And after all that, there is still more work to be done.
You wrestle your children into bed, and army crawl away from the cot housing your sleeping baby. Finally, you do the international ‘All My Kids Are Asleep At Last’ victory dance on the landing. Even then you still haven’t finished.
You need to tidy the kitchen, get yourself something to eat, sort out those forms from school. Now just finish that bit of work that’s due tomorrow, and then…
Oh, look at that! You’re asleep. And you didn’t even get to enjoy your half hour of quality ‘me time’.
Tomorrow then, maybe?