Story posted January 19, 2010
Thirty hours of leisure time each week. Women have at least that much downtime, says University of Maryland sociologist John Robinson.
The examination of this statement — and the quest for all that time — are the focus of a January 17, 2010, Washington Post Magazine cover story that taps the expertise of Bion R. Cram Professor of Economics Rachel Connelly.
Excerpt from the article, "The Test of Time: A Busy Working Mother Tries to Figure Out Where All Her Time is Going:"
Turns out, I didn't need a chrono-therapist. I needed Rachel Connelly. Connelly, 52, is a labor economist at Bowdoin College in Maine. She's also the mother of four children. Looking at the same data as Robinson, she sees working mothers with next to no true leisure time.
The revolutionary change of women entering the workforce — 47 percent of mothers of school age children worked in 1975, compared with 71 percent in 2007, according to federal statistics — coincided, she said, with intensified expectations of what it takes to be a good parent, particularly in middle-class families. But there are still only 24 hours in a day. To make it all fit, mothers slacked off on housework and gave up their personal leisure to spend their limited free time with their kids.
"My mother was home all day, so on the weekend, what did she want to do? Get away from us as fast as she possibly could and take my father with her. They went out every Saturday night," Connelly said. "But now, mothers are employed. We see it as essential that we spend time with our kids. We don't want to be away from them. On the other hand, we're never away from them."