Wednesday, April 7, 2010
What's Family Time?
I have to admit it: I only just read Tara Parker-Pope's column this week. It talks about how parents spend more time with their kids than they used to and that's a good thing. Over on Slate, they have a different opinion about the same study. The XX spin is that the time parents and (older) kids spend together isn't so great because it's not time spent doing something meaningful or fun, like hiking or playing a game. Rather, it's time spent going to and from activities that are intended to help children get into Ivy League schools. I have two things to say about this: (1) I am so, so, so tired of reading about the push to get kids into Ivy League schools! I mean, is Swarthmore in the Ivy League? No! And Jonathan Franzen is doing Just Fine. (Kidding! Except for the part of having had it up to my ears with hearing about competitive colleges.) (2) Car time maybe schleppy and no fun, but, let's face it, it's time during which two people can share music, a story on the radio or even a conversation. It's not like playing Monopoly, but who wants to do that every day anyway? We've all got to get from here to there and so the in-between time I spend with my kids on a bus or subway or just walking down the street feels like something very basic, like eating bagels. It's not everything, but it's not nothing.