it's 3 o'clock, do you know where your parents are?

what is the current accepted/modern/standard/whatever family structure now? husband works, wife works, wife gets pregnant, kids, and then? i’m assuming both husband and wife wants a career.

i vaguely remember many stories with the old family structure where it is not unusual that the father is the ‘stranger’ in the house, with the kids being closer to their moms. are we moving to a family structure where both parents are strangers compared to whoever is taking care of the kids now?

Our family has 6 kids: 1 was father’s from previous marriage, 3 were mothers’s from previous marriage, 2 are newly adopted. Mother stays home with 2 small kids and 2 high-school-age (2 are out of the house) most of the time while dad does his over-paid high-tech job. During the school year, when mom is teaching–talk about low-paid!–the teen-agers watch the little ones (for money) while mom is out. Dad watches the little ones when mom needs a break (weekends/evenings as necessary).

Mom is certainly the primary care-giver, but dad is no stranger.

It’s not 3o’clock now, and as far as I know mine are at home sleeping like good little retirees oughta be. :slight_smile:

Growing up, my Dad worked a lot and I remember my Mom doing the “Just go back to work and quit disrupting us” sigh often. I’ve heard the same thing from some of my stay-at-home girlfriends, so Dad as stranger still continues somewhat.

I’m a single working parent, I don’t see how I could be considered anything but the primary care-giver. Well, yes I do, if I were working afternoons or midnights and my child were in school during the day, I guess that’d qualify. I’d think the only way your sitter as primary influence scenario could happen is if that cross-shift thing were to become more common. Even if both parents work, it can’t be very common that they both work nights, can it?

Well, my mother is probably playing on her computer. My father is in his plot under the big oak tree neear the back of the Catholic cemetary. I never wonder where he is.


What a strange OP. There are a number of varieties of ‘family structure’ that are current/accepted/standard, and most of them involve one (in the case of single parent households) or both (in the case of dual-parent h/holds) of the parents working.

What is the point you are trying to make?

Oh, and my folks are like Queen Tonya’s, although it’s still early here and they’re probably knocking back a couple of wines before nigh-nighs.

NoCoolUserName 6 kids, no outside help needed and both parents have careers. wow.

Queen Tonya if i may ask, in terms of quantity, who get’s more time with the kids? the sitter or you?

StGermain :slight_smile:

i use the term ‘strangers’ very loosely, as i assume anyone on work hours equals about 10 hours away from the house, minus sleeping time etc leaving about 3-5 hours free time for everything else, such as housework, kids, self etc. that is just relatively not very much.

Well, during the school year, the teachers spend more time with my son than either the sitter or I probably. Our average day, I wake him at 5, he’s dropped off at 5:30, then the sitter takes him to school at 7:30 and picks him up at 2:30, I pick him up by 5:00, so that’s 4 1/2 hours for the sitter some of which he’s sleeping, then about the same for me considering bedtime is around 9:30. Of course, I get the entire weekend. In the summer and on vacation days, he’s at the sitters nearly 12 hours, and with me for the 4 1/2 still.

It’s not a lot of time per day, you’re right. 4 1/2 hours to squeeze homework, playtime, dinner, getting ready for the next day, etc. If I were a stay at home parent, I wouldn’t be getting him up quite as early, so that time would increase to about 7 hours daily.

Is that what you were asking?

I sometimes catch myself thinking it is odd that my immediate family is two people. It has been just the two of us (my son and I) for 10+ yrs but it sometimes still feels…odd. It works though. It’s not a “family” in the traditional sense but it works for us.

[stands, waves, bows] Thank you! [sits down]

It’s actually better than that. Dad plays in a rock & roll band, and Mom is a member of the cutting edge art gallery and does shows several times a year. Hah! So there!

Re: outside help. We did have to borrow a bit from gramps to finance the most recent adoption, but we’ll get that paid back soon.

We’re single-income no-kids at the moment, but plan to change both of those at the earliest opportunity.

And my parents are (probably) asleep right now, given that it’s about quarter to three in the morning in Cape Hatteras, NC, where they’re on one of their biannual windsurfing trips (pretty good for a 64 y.o. woman and 74 y.o. man, methinks).

I was a SAHM for many years. This summer, due to financial pressures, I went back to work, and, due to the schizophrenic hours of the job I was able to get, I am becoming the stranger in our house. I work most evenings, some mornings (due to split shifts where I get a 3-5 hour “siesta” in the middle of the day), sometimes into the wee hours of the morning or overnight, and I get two days off a week–but rarely on the weekends. So, as you can see, I am here now while the rest of my family is gone. I can’t just tell my kid not to go to school so we can spend time together :(. Occasionally, I’m allowed to request a certain day off. Well, now it turns out that I’m only allowed to do this six times a year–no one bothered to tell me until now–and, of course, I’ve already exercised that option that many times in the four months I’ve worked there. I was going to write a Pit thread, but I find myself more sad and depressed than angry. :frowning:

This job has forced my husband to put in a lot fewer hours at his own job so that my daughter will have at least one parent. He is forced to pick her up from after-school care by 6 p.m. Back when I was always home, he felt free to stay at his job later. I guess they’re getting by without him–gasp! And, of course, they have weekends together. But, I see my kid about two evenings a week, and most mornings, if I am able to be awake.

My husband took a business trip a couple months ago and I just about fell apart with all the cobbled-together child care arrangements (not to mention that I had to use two of my apparently precious few schedule switches.) However, I could leave for a month (not that I have the type of job that entails business trips) and they would be fine. The dishes would pile up without the invisible fairy to do them, and that’s about it.

Welcome to America. This isn’t about “pursuing a career”–it’s about making ends meet. Turns out, though, that we pay a price either way.

kambuckta, i don’t exactly know, but i’ll try anyway. since the old family model where the man works and the wife stays at home and look after the children no longer is the standard, what happens when two people marry? who’s expected to take care of the children while the parents work? the grandparents? the sitter? child care centre? who is the children’s role model/guardian now? who spends the most time with your child? is it you or someone else?

that’s a whole lot of questions there and i don’t even know what i’m getting at. two questions mainly. what is the unspoken family structure now? shouldn’t kids (the young ones anyway) spend more time with their parents than anyone else? if the father is the ‘stranger’ of the house because he worked and the mother don’t, won’t a double income family mean the parents will be ‘strangers’ too? (relative to whoever else is the caregiver) is there a win-win situation, or will it be all compromise? will couples go through these questions everytime they plan to have children or is there an accepted standard?

Queen Tonya, yes that’s what i’m asking. your arrangement seems pretty standard and it works out best for everyone. in fact, since you get the 4 and a half hours straight without having to split it up, i think you get more time than the sitter.

Queen Tonya/calm kiwi, actually i’m not concerned with single parent families with this OP because i’ve always assumed that ties don’t get any closer than that since you’ve only got each other. :slight_smile:

NoCoolUserName, no! you’ve got to be kidding me! there must be a downside somewhere… hehehe, wow…

Gyrate, windsurfing at 64/74? i’m attacked by wows in this thread… and i haven’t even windsurf before…

on preview - yes, i can’t count.

Of course I do:
If it’s 3 o’clock in the day, Mum will be in the middle of pitting her wits against the brainy articles on 15:1 on Channel 4 and Dad will be at the bookies.
If it’s 3 o’clock in the night, they’ll both be in the casino.

It’s dead easy in my family.


Well, school-age children spend more time (awake) with their teachers than anyone else–and it was that way in the 50’s as well, I’m sure.

I do find it very strange that it so often makes better financial sense to pay someone else to take care of your children.

Oh, my parents? They’re usually at work at 3.

It’s more like 5:10 here, and certainly not 3. But my dad’s probably doing stuff on the computer, and my mom’s probably cooking dinner now.

When my siblings and I were growing up, both our parents had fulltime jobs. My mom would usually be home by 4 to cook dinner, drive us around to our various activities, and try to relax. Dad would be home by 6:15 to eat dinner and watch TV afterwards. Sometimes Mom would get off early from work to pick us up from school, or to have some time to herself. (sometimes she’ll take a nap in the afternoons)

Now that we’re all more-or-less grown up, my brother’s usually out of the house teaching music / doing school stuff / hanging out with his friends / doing church things. My sister’s across the country, and I’m here in my own apartment. So our parents don’t have to do much of anything that involves us, which could be nice.


At 3:00 PM, my mom would probably be waking up my stepdad so that they could both get ready for work at Ruby Tuesday’s.
3:00 AM? Mom would be awake, either watching TV or sewing bits of my Homecoming dress together.
I think the point isn’t that so many moms and dads have demanding jobs; I think that as long as they try and take the time to talk to their kids every now and then, it’s not so big a deal. If Mom/Poppa isn’t home when I get there after school, they’ll try to put in a quick phone call on their break to make sure I’m feeling okay and that I’m not Doping for hours on end. :smiley: They’ll also leave little notes around the house, saying stuff like “Smile! We love you!” and things like that. I don’t have a problem with not seeing my parents much, because we still communicate.

I assume my parents are still underground. I mean, we took the precaution of burning them before burying them and everything. But I haven’t checked recently.

I work pretty much 8-4, so I am out of the house from 7-5:30. No overtime or weekends. One day or so most weeks I work at home. Ms. D. teaches part-time at a community college. This quarter I believe her class is M,W from 12-2.

The oldest kid gets home from high school around 2:30, the younger 2 get home around 4. We try to have as many dinners together as a family as possible.

We parents don’t have too much planned for evenings. Most nights there is a kid’s activity or 2 - music lessons, scouts, band, etc. We old folks tend to hit the hay pretty early.

Pretty boring times at casa Dinsdale.

My dad was out of work when my brother was born, so my dad stayed at home and looked after him while my mum worked.

Both my parents worked when I was born, and I remember spending lots of time with “Aunty” Jessie. Who was evil and I hated.

This is pretty much how things work at our house now. My husband is gone from about 8:30 to 6:00, with lots of evening meetings, and I’m out from 7:00 to 4:30. I work at home in the afternoons, though, so I’m home when the kids come home from school and available to pick up and drop off where they need to go. My husband is the backup guy for when I can’t be available, or when the kids are going two places at once.

And sometimes I take a nap in the afternoon, too. :smiley:

Tamex, i don’t know what to say… but yes, we pay a price either way. :frowning:

teachers don’t really spend more time with the kids as there are usually more than one class etc, and it’s not a one on one affair so the relationship tend to be limited. hmm, it’s friends i guess - once they have close friends whom they spend all their time together with.

are we happy with the arrangement that brought us up? would you repeat the same with your own family? true, quality is way greater than quantity. there just isn’t any other way is there? or is there another way? we have hit 2000, we are doing much more than we ever did in the past, yet we have lesser time for our families than ever, why?