Yes, it’s good news at last for parents. A report has come out that doesn’t conclude that we’re a bunch of irresponsible feckless losers, incapable of finding our own bottoms with both hands and a compass. Mind you, it wasn’t signed by 110 experts, -ologists and authors, so maybe it doesn’t really count. But it cheered me right up.

It’s from the improbably named ‘Future Foundation’ – a government think-tank – and according to its findings, parents today are spending far more time actually doing stuff with their children than our parents did with us. I believe this is what is known as ‘quality time’ – a phrase which, for obvious reasons, conjours up images of strolling along in a crinoline being fed triangular pralines wrapped in green foil by a dashing white sergeant (think Terence Stamp in Far From the Madding Crowd). Or is that just me?

Anyway, according to the report, 30 years ago, our parents would have had just 25 minutes left over each day after all that proper cooking and ironing they used to do, compared with our lavish 99 minutes, after nukeing a ready meal and merely folding our non-iron shirts (yeah, right). So we have all that extra time to spend being fantastic parents. And apparently, parenting is now our favourite hobby.

So what exactly are we doing with our extra 74 minutes? Well, extensive research at a secret location (oh, all right then, my place) reveals that 74 minutes is just long enough for two children to barge their mother off the computer to check their e-mails, for said mother to turn the computer off forcibly, hear tables, explain reflexive verbs (again), check two homework diaries and shout a bit, fail to get two children to do any music practice, hunt around for the TV remote control, then turn on the telly and watch one episode of The Simpsons en famille. And that, my friends, is sheer quality!


14 thoughts on “Doh!

  1. Wow! I wish I were that productive with our 74 minutes. I don’t think we did much more than feed, bathe, and dress the kids. Oh and keep them from killing each other about 5000 times. (We’re not quite up to 700,098 attempted assaults yet. Give us time. My oldest is only 2.)

  2. 74 minutes… 74 minutes… all in a row? Does it count if the kids are playing under the kitchen table while I sit there and read a book? No? Yeah, okay, then our 74 minutes mostly involved discussion about bathing and tooth brushing, then the actual occurance of said cleaning actions.

  3. Well I spend my 74 minutes eating chocolate and watching the soaps, doesn’t everyone?

    And yes, I’m pretty sure bed,wed,dead (UK); root, shoot, marry (Aus); cliff, shag, marry (US)are all the same thing. Thanks for visiting – I love your blog!

  4. I feel better already! Even though we spend our entire extra 74 minutes hunting for the remote control. Now if you’ll excuse me I must go iron my crinoline.

  5. graham – thank you so much for giving me carte blanche to watch the simpsons as an act of parental self-empowerment. you are the best kind of academic … so please don’t take offense at my latest post! now can you find a way of justifying ‘the apprentice usa’, ‘greenwing’ and ‘robin hood’? your cheque is in the post …

  6. I think I have a few minutes of “extra” time, since I’m not much of a proper cook.

    Rachel, to me, after a lovely chicken nuggets and left-over take-out rice dinner: “Mommy, I think you’re such a good cook!” ๐Ÿ™‚ Lucky me!

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