No one goes into parenting expecting it to be full of relaxing spa days and five-star luxury (and if you do, we have a bridge to sell you). But it is difficult to know exactly how demanding the job is until you're truly in the trenches. Hobbies and even simple, quiet moments fall by the wayside because aside from work and household obligations, raising our kids is a secondary full-time job.
With that being said, it should come as no surprise that a new survey asserts parents only get 32 minutes or "me time" on a daily basis. And, honestly, that sounds pretty generous.
The research was performed by Munchery, a meal delivery service, whose goal is to not only provide yummy food for busy families, but also take away some of the stress of that age old question, "What's for dinner?" Out of the 2,000 parents interviewed, 24 percent said they spend more than 30 hours each week directly taking care of their kiddos, in addition to other daily responsibilities. Full-time working parents put their assessment at 18 hours of being on direct kid duty.
Thirty-two percent of these parents also said they don't actually stop working in some sense until around 8 pm if you factor in their parenting to-do list, leaving little to no time for a breather at the end of the day. At that point everyone is just downright exhausted. A Netflix binge feels pointless when you know you'll pass out halfway through the first attempted episode.
Another little tidbit gleaned from the survey to which we can all surely relate? On average caregivers have to literally hide from their kiddos four times a week just to get a moment alone. If you've ever snuck into the bathroom and quietly locked the door, raise your hand. That's what we thought.
If it feels like you're always in the car, join the club. The Munchery survey learned that at least six car trips each week are used to take kids to school and other activities, with mom and dad adding an extra five trips to the grocery in a seven-day stretch. We could try to work in some audio books in the car for a hint of "me time," but then who would referee the kids in the backseat?
In the end, the rewards outweigh the daily struggles of parenthood, but that doesn't mean we can't dream of a little more downtime. One of these days we just might get it.