more guilt for the working mom

Hat tip to Erin for this one:

Parents spend more quality time with first-born children.

I have a sort of duh-science reaction to this article, I have to say. One thing that I’m not entirely clear on is what exactly is involved in quality time–does that mean you’re only spending time with one kid? And that the time spent is not doing things that qualify as chores? Or eating?

‘Cause if that’s the case, I think I spend about six minutes a day with each kid during the work week. Holy crow, they’re both destined to fail!

Well, at least the Bee can’t complain that I don’t spend as much time with her as I do with her brother…


March 23, 2008. meta.


  1. Sandra replied:

    “Quality time” is such a silly phrase. The researchers didn’t count time spent together in the car as quality time…why not? With teenagers especially, that might be the only time you ever sit together and talk without distractions. All those dance classes and gymnastics that the first-born kids do is not quality time, IMO. If you’re sitting in the waiting room with your 2-year-old while the 5-year-old “learns” gymnastics, which kid is really getting quality time? Time is time. You don’t know until it’s over whether it was quality or not.

  2. PunditMom replied:

    Anything to make us feel even worse about how spread thin we all are. 😦

  3. Library Lady replied:

    My reaction to this was–no kidding! Of course, in terms of time spent with your children your first is going to get the most. After all, is there any other kid to get your attention? 🙂

    But in terms of “quality time” I think Sandra really makes the right point. Gymboree classes and “educational” trips pale in comparison to simply hanging out with your kids doing everyday things. Those talks that SC and I have in the car in the mornings are some of the best talks we have these days. INTERACTION is what so-called “quality time” is all about, isn’t it?

    And if there are TWO parents in a household (and the sort of parents they interviewed in that article were from very traditional families) why isn’t DAD spending “quality time” with one kid while Mom deals with the other? It works for us–and both of us DO work!

    Oh, and was anyone but me appalled by a mom saying her 7 year old’s life controlls the rest of the family’s? Or am I just weird that way?

  4. Jody replied:

    But, am I reading that chart correctly? Only children spend less “quality” time with a parent than first-born children in families of 2-4 children? And no more time with their mothers than all but third-borns in three-child families?

    I start to wonder what the n-size is when I see numbers like those. I also wonder how that connects to studies showing that only children are more adult-oriented than children with siblings….

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