Dear Grandparenting: I keep hearing and reading about all of America’s wonderful “helicopter” parents, always hovering over their kids and spending long hours so happy together. Blah, blah, blah.
It doesn’t take a genius to see through that. Just do the math. Most mothers have jobs, unlike when I was raising my children. Plus, more husbands are working more hours and bringing work home. By my reckoning, today’s parents have a lot less time to spend with their kids.
I have problems with all this lavish praise for modern parents. It’s a big lie that makes me and every other grandparent look bad, like we were neglectful or something. Someone should set the record straight. How about if you get the ball rolling? Windy Miller, Sidney, Ohio
Dear Windy: Not so fast. The way in which your generation of grandparents raised their children isn’t the issue. You did just fine. The proof, after all, is the pudding: the children you raised to become the dutiful parents you describe.
But the dynamics of the modern American family have indeed changed. Yes, more mothers work, but thanks to labor-saving devices and carry-out/delivery food options, they spend 40 percent less time cooking and cleaning than mothers during the 1960s, according to a recent University of Maryland survey. Modern moms are also more likely to neglect sleep and personal time.
Fathers help fill the domestic vacuum created by this new division of labor. Add it all up, and the picture that emerges is a more child-centered household culture, based on an analysis of a dozen surveys on how Americans spend their time, conducted by University of California faculty.
Parents today devote “dramatically” more time to their children than their forebears did. According to the report, college-educated men and women put in the most time.
GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
Jack Smith, of Marshall, Michigan, is “sorry I can’t take credit” for a remark he overheard at a party:
“The simplest toy of all is one that any grandchild can operate. It’s called a grandparent.”
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.