The Over-Parenting Crisis by Katie Allison Granju, author of an influential book on attachment parenting, complains about parents who obsess about every aspect of their children’s development.
This over-parenting has become an epidemic. Legions of well-intentioned mothers and fathers, urged on by popular media and the marketplace, are frantically striving to create an endlessly controlled, bubble-wrapped childrearing environment. From neuroses with regulating our babies’ sleep habits, to insistence on antimicrobial everything, to the attempt to continue “babyproofing” our homes until our babies are well into elementary school, our current parenting zeitgeist is competitive, market-driven . . . and exhausting.
Then Commenter Abbi pointed me to a New York Times blog post about a couple who work different shifts to reduce daycare costs, as I suggested in my post on frugal strategies for young families. During his lunch hour, the husband drives his wife to work at Costco and their 3-year-old and 19-month-old to their daycare for a few hours. Their day ends like this:
At 5:00, Tim picked up the children, brought them home for dinner, ate his own dinner standing by the kitchen counter, then loaded the kids in the car and went to pick his wife up from work at 9:00. Next came bath time, and story time; sign language flashcards for Bailey, potty training time for Cole; after 10:00 there was time for some dinner for Megan, then three loads of laundry. Lights finally out at 2:00 a.m.
Flash cards at 9:00 PM? And I wonder why, if one of the parents is home most of the day, they wait until 10 PM to do laundry. Abbi said it’s because some parents believe they must focus exclusively on their children when they are awake. Maybe this is what Granju is complaining about.
This arrangment does sound difficult, although I suspect this couple could schedule their time at home more efficiently. But no matter the work arrangement life with small children is hectic and intense, unless you have lots of paid household help or energetic grandparents.