NEW YORK — Parents who complain that they feel like they have no time to themselves anymore may be right. A new survey that explores the daily routines of moms and dads finds the average parent enjoys about a half hour of free time on a typical day — and many find themselves being forced to actually hide from their kids in order to get away.
The survey of 2,000 American parents, commissioned by the meal delivery service Munchery, delved into the everyday lives of the participants and concluded that they’re only afforded 32 minutes of time to themselves each day. In fact, a third of parents say they don’t truly stop “working” until at least 8 o’clock at night, if we consider the demands of parenting to be “work” too.
Those with full-time jobs were found to clock an average 18 hours a week directly caring for their children. Meanwhile, one in four participants says they put in at least 30 hours each week — in addition to other responsibilities — for child care duties. And there are plenty of other responsibilities to worry about: the average parent endures six car rides each week taking the kids to school or extracurricular activities; five trips to the grocery store each week; and an average of five times a week disciplining the children for bad behavior.
Whew. It’s no wonder many parents even feel like they have to resort to trickery to enjoy a breather. The average parent admitted to hiding from their children four times a week just for some extra “me” time. And while studies may urge us to limit screen time, parents admit to letting the kids watch TV or play with a digital device so they can take a break.
If you’re wondering why a food delivery service cares about the busy lives of parents, look no further than their findings on meal preparations: 88 percent of participants say they’re too busy to cook, and a whopping 96 percent agreed that not having ample time to prepare a meal leads them to feeding the kids (and themselves) less healthy food. In fact, the average parent winds up skipping 227 meals each year due to being so crunched with time.
Slightly more than half (54 percent) admit that being too busy is the biggest reason they’ll opt for takeout. In all, the researchers calculated that parents spend $4,524 each year on carryout or delivery.
The survey was conducted by research firm OnePoll in March of 2018.