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!