Is this really new?

30/09/2013

Increasing work pressures are putting a strain on parents, who say it is robbing them of family time, a new survey shows.

The Hyundai Family Time Study surveyed 750 people and found 59 percent say work commitments have a “real impact” on the quality of their family life.

Almost half, 49 percent, of respondents reported working between 40 and 49 hours, while 13 percent work more than 50 hours a week. . .

Is that new?

My father was a carpenter at the freezing works. He left home not long after 7am, worked until 9pm several evenings and often had at least a half-day of work on Saturdays too. If he wasn’t at work he’d be in the garden, doing maintenance at home or voluntary work in the community.

Fathers of friends worked similar hours.

One difference between then and now was that Sundays were family days.

Shops weren’t open, there was no organised sport and very few other options for any entertainment we didn’t generate ourselves.

We went to Sunday School and church in the morning. In summer we almost always came home, packed a picnic and went to the river. When it was too cold for that we’d almost always have a family outing to the beach or river or to visit friends.

Another big difference is that it was very unusual for mothers to work outside the home when I was growing up. Now it is much more common.

However, when we were young we were left to our own devices much more.

Parents I observe now seem to spend more time actively with their children than most parents did when I was a child.

It wasn’t quite that we were to be seen and not heard, but we were expected to keep ourselves gainfully occupied without parental assistance and most of the time we did.


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