Sunday, February 28, 2010

So you are raising a child?

Raising a child has gone the way of cooking.  At the turn of the century, it took at least an average of six hours to prepare a meal in the American household.  Now with time saving microwaves, and prepared meals, it takes less than thirty minutes. 

Now ponder the time investment of raising a child. Assume a child needs 12 hours of sleep a night when very young, and 10 hours in later childhood.  That reduces a day of actual care to a mere 12-14 hours.  Most people work 8 hours a day or more.  But that doesn’t include lunch, or commuting time.  That cuts about 10 hours of the day that the parent is available to be with their child. At best, that leaves 2-4 hours a day you actually get to spend with your child.

At most, four hours is 16% of your day.  How can people raise their children, when they are only spending sixteen percent of a waking time with them? 

Some people even go farther into whittling this time down by scheduling their children into activities, and themselves into meetings of one type or another.  Getting more skills, or serving a social obligation, has a good purpose, or does it? 
I know that you think you need to be building that career, but your career will be much longer than you think.  Current trends now stretch it into your 70’s.  Will a couple of years of refocus on your child really slow you down in a 50-year career?

You and your child get 18 out of your 80 years of life.  After that, you are an activity squeezed into their lives. 

Maybe we need to refocus the American family.  If people earned a living wage, we could go back to a one wage earning family.  The drop out rate in American Schools is now over 30%.  With Mom and Dad both working 12 hour days, at odd shifts...I can see a corollary.  I don't see any improvement soon. 

Unfortunately, the most positive outcome of this current recession will be at least we will have a bit of time to spend with our own children.

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