Have days gotten shorter?

November 9, 2009

in Beyond the Marriage, Series

In days gone by folks didn’t have all the “time saving” devices we have today.  Things like doing the dishes, doing the laundry, mowing the yard (before string trimmers!) and cleaning the house took more time. And yet, most folks had more time for each other – for going to friend’s homes, sitting on the porch, going to the park, playing cards or other games, and so on.  They also tended to have time for a full nights sleep.  So what is eating up our time today?  A few to think about below, please add your own on-line .

  • Commute time – In the mid 60’s my father’s 15 minute each way to work commute was longer than most folks.  Today an hour plus is common on both coasts, may large cities, and for many living in the suburbs.  Travel time for shopping, school and entertainment are also all up substantially.
  • More organised sports etc. for kids – The days of pickup games and playing after school with the kids on block are gone. For many families it is unusual for everyone to  be by 8 PM, and not having the whole family home by 6 PM is the norm for most.  Parents spend a lot of time taking kids to sports, dance, music, and so on – and more time attending games, recitals and shows. I am NOT against these things, but they rob parents and kids alike of time that could be used for building family and marriage relationships.
  • Eating out – Getting everyone into the car, the drive, the wait for your meal, the wait for the bill, and the drive back home all take time – time not spent in eating at home. Time saved in cooking and clean up is saved for just one person, while the extra time is taken from all.
  • More stuff – When I was growing up, my family was upper middle class.  But we had one car for years, one TV till the 70’s, one simple swing-set for outside play, and far fewer inside toys than kids have today; and that was the norm for a middle class family.  More stuff means one has to work more time to pay for all the stuff.  One of the reasons both parents work in most families today is that it takes two incomes to afford the lifestyle they have chosen.
  • TV, The Internet and Gaming – I will address these later this week.

Please understand that I am not calling any of these wrong or bad.  But these are things that eat up a lot of time for many folks, and if you want more time for anything, you have to cut back on something else.

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