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To think we don’t realise what modern life is doing to families?

(277 Posts)
MrsGrindah Tue 23-Jan-18 20:42:33

I’ll own up here.. not a mother myself but a stepmother.
But I spend a lot of time travelling on trains for work and see so many parents on the phone to their kids ( in the mornings and before bedtime). Yes it’s great that technology allows this, but I just feel sorry for people missing out on being with their families. Last week there was a man talking to his little boy, apologising that he had gone before the boy had woken up and wouldn’t be back by the time he went to bed. I felt so sorry for everyone
Not blaming the parents and of course we all have to work. My point is as a society we are becoming used to this and almost expect people to be prepared to sacrifice a significant chunk of family life. Just makes me feel sad to see it and I wonder whether we’ll regret it in years to come.

kaytee87 Tue 23-Jan-18 20:45:09

Regret keeping a roof over their children's head? Doubtful.
And I say that as a sahm.

Crispbutty Tue 23-Jan-18 20:45:12

The only difference with modern families and the past is that at least people have the technology to FaceTime or speak to their children now.

As a child in the 1970s this wasn’t possible but my dad still had to go out to work mon-fri like any other.

KatharinaRosalie Tue 23-Jan-18 20:47:39

Modern life? When was the time when the majority of parents did not have to work and could spend all the time with their kids?

Adviceplease360 Tue 23-Jan-18 20:48:36


Shitty comments like keeping a roof over a childs head/food on the table just silence a real issue.
It is normal for kids to be away from their parents for the majority of the day, rarely spend more than an hour during the week with either parent and we will regret it.
It is not natural and I believe causing many issues and long term impacts which we all ignore.

TrinitySquirrel Tue 23-Jan-18 20:48:37

I never used to see my Dad for weeks at a time when I was a kid, and then when he was working near home he worked nights. It's nothing new at all. What's new is that so many kids are being raised directly by their parents instead of their grandparents while their parents were out at work.

Adviceplease360 Tue 23-Jan-18 20:49:32

Where fathers worked away, normally there would be a constantly present mother.

agbnb Tue 23-Jan-18 20:50:26

I think you've identified one of the outcomes of the modern economic situation (lots of people in precarious zero hours jobs, the rest of the working population in commuting/overworked hell).

And also the myth of the Superhero Employee.

You cannot be a 'good' employee and be a good parent and a good daughter and a good friend to a small group of people and a good wife (& take care of yourself as is healthy). People would need a 48 hr day just to make a dent in that pile of expectations!

People can't afford to live close to work like in previous decades, and employment being so precarious, it's no wonder most family breadwinners are on an endless treadmill of work, eat, sleep, work with very little headspace (never mind the physical time) to really be there as a balanced member of the family.

MrsGrindah Tue 23-Jan-18 20:51:25

I said “ of course we all have to work” . I’m not objecting to putting a roof over peoples heads! I meant I feel the increasingly long hours, travel for work culture and relying on phone calls to say goodnight can’t be good. It was not a criticism of working parents

WhooooAmI24601 Tue 23-Jan-18 20:52:24

My point is as a society we are becoming used to this and almost expect people to be prepared to sacrifice a significant chunk of family life.

We've no choice. As a society our homes, food, holidays, cars and childcare fees have increased to the point where the average family can't be sustained on one income. I think at least stuff like FaceTime and Skype mean children can have contact with loved ones; DH works away regularly and the DCs FaceTime him every evening; they take the phone to their rooms and chat about their days, their homework, he's even read bedtime stories with them through it. If I'm honest I'm thankful for it; it doesn't sound much but when the DCs are small it can really help them.

SleepFreeZone Tue 23-Jan-18 20:52:40

I was a child of the 70s and rarely saw my dad at bedtime as he was at work. My mother was a SAHM until I was 5 then she went out to work full time. We were a very ‘modern’ family I guess.

RatRolyPoly Tue 23-Jan-18 20:52:51

It definitely was different. At least previously you could expect to be able to support a family on a single salary.


Alienspaceship Tue 23-Jan-18 20:52:53

YANBU. Modern life is demanding in a different way to the demands on previous generations.

DontLetMeBeMisunderstood Tue 23-Jan-18 20:54:10

I’m a child of the 70s/80s and my dad worked in another country after he was made redundant and there was no work locally. I didn’t see him for weeks at a time and my mum worked once I was school age too, so I frequently came home to an empty house. It’s not a new thing, in the past parents just got in past bedtime and there was no phone calls en route.

Shenanagins Tue 23-Jan-18 20:54:35

It was perfectly normal when I was growing up for Dad’s to be out working all the hours of the day. In my case it didn’t mean that I didn’t have a close relationship with him

Parents work, it’s normal and children can still have close relationships with them.

edwinbear Tue 23-Jan-18 20:55:43

DH and I both work long hours with DC in wrap around care before and after school. I don't have to work, but my salary pays the private school fees. DH and I believe the sacrifice we make as a family now, is worth it to provide DC with an education at our preferred school.

MrsGrindah Tue 23-Jan-18 20:58:15

Yes I didn’t see my parents much either because of work but usually one end of the day or the other. Also I realise FaceTime is better than nothing but I just feel sad that many parents miss out on actually being there regularly.It happens where I work..parents of young children expected to travel away just as much as anyone else and although I’m sure they know that when they accept the job etc. and probably have no choice, I can’t help feeling we are losing something.

TheBlindspot Tue 23-Jan-18 20:59:30

My DD only sees her Dad for half an hour in the mornings Monday - Friday. He's out at work all day and she's in bed by the time he gets home. I'm at home though so she does have one parent constantly present (she's a toddler). We both have all weekend with her and each other.

For me, it's no different to when I was growing up in the 80s really. My mum was at home, and Dad worked Monday -Friday. He'd sometimes be home for baths and bedtime stories as he worked fairly locally, but not often.

kaytee87 Tue 23-Jan-18 21:00:04

Even my 90 odd yo grandparents both worked full time (minister & teacher). The only day they had off together was a Saturday so I don't recognise this as a modern thing. My mum worked full time and Dad part time (after he left the army) and now my dh is full time and I'm at home. We all do the best we can at the time for our families and there is no point worrying about and feeling guilty about things that can't be changed.

I'm sorry op, this just looked like a veiled dig at working parents which I can see now you probably didn't mean. People can't regret things out with their control though.

NeverTwerkNaked Tue 23-Jan-18 21:01:07

My dad worked long hours and my mum worked shifts. I had a gloriously happy childhood and am really close to my parents as an adult. Iets stop getting nostalgic about something that never really was.
Their hard work also ensured we had a lovely lifestyle with money spare for hobbies and holidays and help with university fees.

edwinbear Tue 23-Jan-18 21:02:06

I had to attend a conference in Lisbon last year on DD's 6th birthday. It sucked, but I was on probation after a year looking for a job following redundancy. Case of suck it up really,

LittleFeileFooFoo Tue 23-Jan-18 21:02:18

It is different, but there are some perks too!
I get to live in a nice rural area with am orchard and goats and commute to work. This means my ds gets fresh milk and cheese, fresh fruit in summer, and lovely preserves in winter. But if the crop fails (all our apples froze in a very late frost last year) we can buy food.

It's a craption of work, but we think it's worth it.

kaytee87 Tue 23-Jan-18 21:03:18

And in terms of closeness, my dad would be away for months at a time from my birth until i was 3. I had a very close relationship with him growing up. My mum then worked full time, back after bedtime a lot and we are very close now (see each other 3/4 times a week).

I think as long as children are well looked after by someone and parents are interested and 'present' when they do spend time together then no harm will be done.

MMcanny Tue 23-Jan-18 21:05:23

I think everyone has their own idea of ‘normally’ and ‘how it used to be’ when I was growing up my mum worked evenings and my dad did days and overtime on weekends. DH and I have worked similarly around each other and never felt the kids or us missed out.

MrsGrindah Tue 23-Jan-18 21:07:49

Im not getting nostalgic.. I never said it was better back in the day... I just mean I think we might realise that we have still sacrificed something even though we had means of keeping in contact. I feel sorry for working parents of young children who might have to rely on technology to keep in touch

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