Modern Moms Spend More Time With Kids

Although many mothers today are convinced that they don't spend enough time with their children, a recent study found that they spent more time with their kids than mothers did 40 years ago.

A University of Maryland study found that, on average, today's mothers spent four more hours per week focused on their kids than mothers in the 1960s did. In the '60s, mothers spent 10.2 hours a week with their children versus 14.1 hours now.

Today's moms, whether they work outside the home or not, are cutting corners. Time spent on housework -- namely cooking and cleaning -- is down 40 percent in the last four decades.

"Mothers in the past may have been in the home, but they weren't necessarily focused on children," University of Maryland sociologist Suzanne Bianchi said. "Today, particularly for working parents, housework slides. They focus on children."

Over time, a mother's job description has changed.

Moms in the '60s didn't think twice about letting kids run off and play by themselves, but today mothers are fully integrated into their kids' lives as homework tutors, air traffic controllers and chauffeurs.

Lori Manik is a stay-at-home mom with four kids, but with their hectic activities she rarely stays at home at all.

"Moms are now running kids everywhere and keeping schedules for everybody," she said.

Like a lot of today's moms, Manik tends to neglect personal time, husband time and sleep.

"Anyone who knows me would tell you it's between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. Those are my hours to get [things done]," she said. "I'll do laundry, pay bills after they're asleep."

Modern Moms Still Feel Guilt

Despite their Herculean efforts, roughly half of the mothers interviewed say they don't have enough time with their children.

Experts say today's society is a far more kid-centered culture with a trend toward "hyperparenting."

"That's the generation we're in now," Manik said. "Everybody wants to do the best they can and do everything -- their family, their kids. Be the best parents they can be."

According to the study, dads today are far more involved in parenting. Even though women still do twice as much around the house, fathers have nearly tripled the hours they spend focused on children.

In 2003 dads spent seven hours a week with their kids, up from just 2.5 hours in 1965.

"They are responding to the fact that more of their wives are employed," Bianchi said. "The increase in fathers' time really bodes well for the movement towards more gender-equal parenting."