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Got a Minute?

January 25th, 2010 (09:09 pm)

current mood: weird

Washington Post writer whose kids go to my son's elementary school wrote this article, The Test of Time, that appeared in the Jan. 17 Washington Post Magazine.

The writer, Brigid Schulte, had read about an expert who claimed that working mothers are not as short on time as most people think, that the average working mom actually has 30 hours of leisure time a week. She couldn't figure out where her 30 hours were, so she contacted this supposed expert. He instructed her to keep a time log. When she finally found the time to do so, she couldn't see much leisure time in it at all. Then the "expert" analyzed her log and pointed out plenty of leisure activities, such as waiting for a tow truck, answering work-related phone calls while at home, and taking her kid to ballet lessons. Now that's just bizarre.

This article has touched off some controversy. I think the "expert"  is delusional. Most readers I've spoken with who have kids think so too. On the other hand, some people have attacked the author for having a job at all, or for having kids, or for bringing up the topic in the first place.

What do you think?


Posted by: Tim W. Burke (timwb)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 02:27 am (UTC)

The expert's got a weird definition of leisure.
Being conscious and unoccupied by work is *not* "leisure."

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: January 28th, 2010 09:48 pm (UTC)

I read that article. The "expert" considered a lot of things leisure time - for example, time spent exercising was leisure time. She did take over a year to find the time to keep the log so that wasn't in her favor. However, time with your kids was labeled "child care" wasn't it?


Posted by: petrini1 (petrini1)
Posted at: January 30th, 2010 04:41 am (UTC)

It seemed to me that the "expert" was inconsistent in categorizing her activities. Some of the time spent with her kids was considered child care, but other time spent with her kids was considered leisure. I couldn't figure out his rationale for labeling it one or the other. I do agree that our society is sending the wrong message when we tell people that time spent exercising is leisure, despite all the evidence that it's crucial for health. And no normal person would consider waiting for a tow truck to be a leisure activity! It's sure not my idea of a good time!

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