Time. When you are a working parent or even just a parent to small children, time is taken up with so much stuff that it’s hard to understand just where it all goes. Much of it seems to be spent doing things of no consequence.
When I find myself with 20 minutes to spare in the evenings – perhaps while the overtired kids are slapping themselves in the bath – I feel fidgety. I don’t know whether I should be sitting down and staring out the window or doing some minor chore that is undoubtedly lurking somewhere.
There are always clothes to be put away, clothes to be sorted, dishes to be washed, dishes to be put away and half a dozen other things to boring to mention.
So it comes as very little surprise that a survey of British families has found that, on average, they only spend three hours of quality time together in a working week. Nearly a quarter of the families surveyed said they get less than one hour of ‘us time’ together between Monday to Friday.
Before we start moaning about how our modern lives are destroying the fabric of family life, let’s just say that I regard this survey as less than scientific or impartial.
The research – based on an online survey of 2,005 British parents in May 2014 – was commissioned by HouseTrip, a company that is conveniently using the findings to urge people to take a holiday together.
But there is probably some truth in it. I have no idea what ‘us time’ is during the week, frankly. I’m usually so exhausted by the time I get home, that the only thing I really want to do is crawl onto the sofa, eat dinner and stare at the television. Sometimes I’m not even sure what the people on the TV are saying, but watching the flashing images is of some comfort.
Which, it seems, is how the majority of people feel too. According to the same survey, 65% of couples (who are parents) spend their precious ‘spare time’ watching television over talking (33%) or having sex (31%).
That clears that up, then. I always knew I was average.
This lack of time also explains why the blog has been neglected for so long. It has been sitting in a corner of my mind, occupying my thoughts nearly every day. But I have not felt inspired to sit down and get anything written in the evenings because I am too damn tired after a day spent running around.
If one of the few things you can rouse yourself to do in the evenings is watch TV like a zombie, I can highly recommend season three of Curb Your Enthusiasm over any conversations you might be tempted to have with your partner or children.