Monday, June 6, 2011

The "We Decade" Dilemma

Fresh from her appearance on The Colbert Report, Stephanie Coontz proffered her well-researched opinion to the audience of anxious parents and parents-to-be at the Parent Map-sponsored Baby Map Event. Ms. Coontz said that she has found in her research that while parents are spending more time with their children, they do so at the expense of time spent with other adults or as a couple. This observation rang true to my ears, as I've grown accustomed to hearing from clients with children: "Are we normal? Does this experience happen to other people? I honestly have nothing to compare ourselves against!" The hard truth is, yes, these families are quite normal. And yes, the parents in these households are so cut off from other adults in similar situations that they can't possibly realize how common their situation is.

So, what to do? First, today's parents, congratulate yourselves on spending more time with your children than previous generations. Second, remind yourself that to be the best parent you can be, you need to be a fulfilled adult and partner. When reviewing your calendar, take note of how many fun and enriching events you have posted for your children when compared with those for you and for your relationship as a couple. Do the numbers skewed in the kid's favor? Then get some "me time" and "us time" on there, pronto!