Did parents 20 years ago have more time? 

Did parents 20 years ago have more time? 

I often wonder if parents in the 1980s and 1990s, and way before that had more time than parents do today? More time to spend with their children, to do the housework, to read a book, or to have a bath. Generally just more time to do more things or to get stuff done.

Obviously parenting techniques haven’t changed; we still have babies and raise our children in the best way for us. But our lifestyles have changed.

There are a few factors that contribute to parents of 2017 having less time than those 20 to 30 years ago.

Breastfeeding. This might sound mad to even be included in this list. However with the rise in breastfeeding and the want to do so, as breastfeeding mum I know it’s time consuming. I know it’s for the good of the baby and the good of the mother too, but it’s incredibly time consuming especially if your baby likes to cluster feed throughout the day and won’t take a bottle. Fear not ladies if you’re in this situation and have done nothing else all day, trust me it does end and each feed becomes so much quicker, so eventually you will have time to clean the house and make dinner.

Alongside this there’s trying to be seen as the perfect parent who takes their baby or toddler to baby and toddler groups. I’m not having a dig here as I do just that. They are a lifeline for a new mums to get out of the house to make friends, or for a mum who can’t keep the toddler from wrecking the house and needs to escape. These groups are great, but they are time consuming and I think that there’s now an unspoken pressure to go to these.

Then there’s the smartphone. Without these we wouldn’t feel connected to our friends, or be able to let the world know what we are doing on Instagram. However for me and I’m sure many other people agree they are a massive drain on our time. I have no idea how long I spend on my phone each day – probably hours. I can honestly say that without a smart phone I would definitely have more time. Do you agree?

Lastly the pressure to work. In today’s environment there is so much pressure for women to return to work after having a baby. Coupled with rising living costs and the want to climb the corporate ladder. We know that there are more women in the workforce than 20 to 30 years ago, which is a great thing. However saying that it really consumes our time, especially if we’re also responsible for nursery drop off and pick ups. There is now so much positive movement towards flexible working and I hope that many companies start to action this and support parents so they have more time with their children.

So those are my reasons why I believe we have less time today. It’s not a bad thing and they all provide so many benefits too. I would be totally lost without my smartphone or the rise of flexible working, so I really shouldn’t moan about not having enough time. I guess it’s just about time management and finding a balance.

Do you agree?

Claire x



  1. Emma September 3, 2017 / 9:58 am

    I know exactly what you mean but it felt like my parents had less time back then in the 80s and 90s. My Mum returned to work full-time and I think she then felt that she had to prove that it wasn’t going to impact on family time, so she carried on trying to do everything because back then the expectations were still very much on the women to run the house. My dad did seem to have a lot of time though and was out most nights with various social things. I just remember my mum always being busy, constantly dashing from one thing to another, trying to stay on top of everything and just running herself ragged. It was those memories that made me decide I would become a stay-at-home mum when I was offered the opportunity. However, like you say we now had different time pressures and smart phones etc are another distraction fighting for our time. Argh, we never have enough time do we? A really thought provoking post. x

  2. Karen, the next best thing to mummy September 3, 2017 / 6:50 pm

    My mother would say that I have more time than she ever had, but that is because I am more organised , but I wouldn’t tell her that, seriously though, there are more labour saving devices around now, such as automatic washing machine, vacuum cleaner and so on, but mother’s now a days are encouraged to go back to work after maternity leave, so it’s swings and roundabouts as the saying goes

  3. Natalia September 4, 2017 / 3:20 pm

    It’s an interesting point; I would love to do a direct hour comparison with a day in the life of my mum with a small child!

    Re the inclusion of bf – agree it is very time consuming in the beginning. But now I credit it with getting my daughter out of the house within 25 mins of waking up on the days when she goes to the childminder as she has breast milk to keep her going before arriving at childcare and having porridge. There’s no prep involved at all. One of the reasons I would recommend bf after a return to work!

    • The Pramshed September 4, 2017 / 3:57 pm

      I would love to do a direct comparison too. I completely agree that breastfeeding is so convenient once established, but in the early days it does really consume you. It’s not a negative thing just an interesting point to understand once you become a parent. Thanks for reading and commenting x

  4. SwindonMum September 5, 2017 / 7:52 am

    I never understand this question. Parents aren’t an homogenous mass; they are people, who are all different. Wouldn’t matter what decade or era you look at, you wouldn’t be able to do a direct comparison.

    My Mum was a single Mum in the 80’s. She looked after me and my sister whilst holding down various jobs to keep the roof over our head (No maintenance money). She had a twin tub, had to walk everywhere in the early days because she couldn’t drive, didn’t have a dishwasher, shower etc.

    I’m a SAHM with an incredibly supportive husband who does an equal share of childcare and housework. No comparison.

    Oh, and if you really want to know how long you spend on your phone then download an app called Quality Time. It monitors usage and gives you a daily/weekly breakdown of how long you’ve spent on each app/internet browser, and total time. It’s scary! I was spending far too long on my phone…so deleted the app 😉

    • The Pramshed September 5, 2017 / 12:00 pm

      Thanks for your comment and I do agree that we can’t directly compare parenting between different eras. Technology and social media has a part to play and consuming our time, and possibly portraying it that we don’t have enough. Thanks for the tip on the app, I’ll check that out, and probably scare myself. Thanks also for reading and commenting x

  5. Judit K September 5, 2017 / 11:34 am

    It is difficult for sure . I’m expecting a new baby now , nr 2 . I will try to breastfeed at least I give a try in the first few weeks , than we see .
    Smartphones , well i just need to sit down to rest for a little while , don’t think that smartphones are distracting . We all have things to do . And the worst thing you can do to yourself is to compare to other people . We all have different lives and choices . And we all can decide for our needs what we want . You don’t need an expensive car , house or holidays . You can always save . Well sure if you live in London or around the counties life is expensive , or myself live in Ireland , so Dublin and counties around are mad crazy . But I don’t get stresses lifes too short for getting stressed and worried . We can only controll a bit .

    • The Pramshed September 5, 2017 / 11:58 am

      Completely agree with you and yes we shouldn’t get stressed, life is too short. Also as mums we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others, we all do things differently. Congrats on baby number two and good luck during the newborn days. Thanks for reading and commenting x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge