Family, Kids & Relationships

Over Half Of Parents Say They’re Too Busy To Enjoy Parenting

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You’re busy, your partner is busy, everyone is so busy. But are we too busy to enjoy even the most basic things, like parenting? The answer may be yes, according to a new survey conducted by OnePoll, a national market research company, in conjunction with the Crayola Experience, a family attraction with five locations across the country. 

Of the 2,000 parents with children between the ages of 3 and 16 surveyed, over 55 percent say they’re totally preoccupied when they’re trying to spend quality time with their kids. Perhaps even more cringeworthy for parents: The majority of those surveyed — about 82 percent — admit their child has complained about not spending enough time with them, and 25 percent have heard that complaint on multiple occasions.

It’s not just the occasional soccer game that parents miss when time demands become too much. About 40 percent of parents admit to missing at least one important milestone in their child’s life, too.

“Let’s face it. The daily responsibilities of parenting can rapidly fill our days and sometimes the fun of parenting can get lost,” said Victoria Lozano, mother of three and senior vice president of Crayola Experience, which co-sponsored the survey. “Before we know it, we’re wondering where the time went and how the kids grew up so quickly.”

Most parents are doing the best they can. No one sets out to miss the end-of-year dance recital, a parent-teacher-visit, or to be too busy to play Legos with their child once in a while. But in an increasingly connected world, it’s easier than ever to get distracted. Sometimes just finding uninterrupted time in your schedule can be a struggle, especially if you’re a working parent or you have multiple children — or both.

So what are the obstacles to this lack of time and attention? In addition to everyday distractions, coming up with an activity to do together was a top reason parents cited, with about 45 percent saying that even when they do have time, they’re not always sure how to make the most of it.  

Not all parents have time to plan a sporting event or a trip to the museum, although both made the list of the top 10 activities that parents would love to do with their kids. There are plenty of other ways to carve out quality time, and some don’t cost a penny. Curling up for a storytime session, playing a board game or a quick round of Old Maid, or even just tossing a ball in the backyard all count. So long as you’re focused on your child and everyone is enjoying themselves, that’s all that matters.

Everyone is busy, but kids grow up fast whether we’re there for all of it or not. Even if it’s short bursts of quality time, it’s never too late to start carving out time to spend with your child.

The former Content Director at Parenting, and several other brands, Ana Connery is a writer and content strategist whose work appears in USA Today, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, Cafe Mom/The Stir, Momtastic, and others.