If you’re a parent who feels like you have literally no time to yourself, you’re probably right. Sure, parents have always commiserated over "oh my gosh, you're going to miss sleep" jokes. But according to a survey that explored the daily lives of 2,000 working parents, parents of young children lose out on more than sleep—they enjoy barely any ‘me time’ at all.
In a single day, parents act as chauffeurs, nurses, referees, chefs, maids, and so much more. And managing all of this work leaves them with no time for themselves. A survey conducted by meal-service enterprise Munchery confirmed that employed parents of young children only enjoy 32 minutes of ‘me time’ out of a 24-hour day, and that time typically came in increments of 10 minutes or less. 24 percent of parents reported that they spent at least 30 hours directly taking care of children, not including other responsibilities such as housework or paid work.
One way parents procured some of these 32 minutes was by literally hiding from their children, with the survey reporting the average parent hid four times a week! Parents also fessed up to distracting their offspring with additional screen time, such as watching television or playing with a digital device, so that they could have a slight break.
While technology has its benefits, it can make it harder to truly unplug from work as well, meaning that a little piece of the office can follow parents home. One way to catch up on extra me time is to limit responding to work emails (to the degree which you’re able), so that you truly can make the most of your time at home.
And if you feel like you’re a parent missing out on me time, at least you know that if you feel like you're never alone... you're not alone.
Kayla Heisler is an essayist and Pushcart Prize-nominated poet. She is a contributing writer for Color My Bubble. Her work appears in New York's Best Emerging Poets anthology.