How Much the Everyday Changes When You Have Kids

Before I had kids, I knew life would be different, but I wasn’t prepared for just how different the everyday would be. It turns out that taking care of kids requires a lot of attention and time, and that extra time must come from somewhere.

Coming back to my old data friend, the American Time Use Survey, I compared time use for those with children under 18 of their own in the household against those without.

More specifically, I plotted the 25th to 75th percentile range for both groups and the medians for reference. I looked at non-holiday weekdays.

Here’s how to read the charts below:

Does not have own

kids under 18

in household

Has own

kids under

18 in

household

20

75th

percentile

15

Minutes

in day

10

Median

5

25th

percentile

Compared median to those with no kids

-40%

-20%

-10%

10%

20%

40%

Less time

More time

 

Out of 605 classified activities, below are the ones that showed the biggest drops for no-kids to kids. Relaxation, playing games, phone calls, and other personal activities take the biggest hit.
 

Personal

mail

Relaxing,

thinking

Arts and

crafts

Taking

class

Playing w/

non-household

children

Personal

e−mail and

messages

Vehicle

repair

Phone calls,

misc.

Playing

games

Phone calls

w/ friends

No Kids

Kids

No Kids

Kids

No Kids

Kids

No Kids

Kids

No Kids

Kids

No Kids

Kids

No Kids

Kids

No Kids

Kids

No Kids

Kids

No Kids

Kids

20

120

45

120

60

60

400

160

Minutes

40

150

100

100

50

150

50

140

350

35

15

120

80

80

40

40

300

30

100

100

100

25

10

60

60

30

30

250

80

20

60

40

40

20

20

200

50

15

50

5

40

20

150

10

20

10

10

Listening

to radio

Looking after

hh children

(primary act)

Tobacco &

drug use

Repair,

maintenance

Care for

hh adults

TV and

movies

Religious

practices

Homework (hh

children)

Computer

use for

leisure

Reading

No Kids

Kids

120

30

60

60

60

120

120

80

80

250

55

50

100

50

100

25

100

Minutes

50

40

200

60

80

60

40

80

20

80

45

30

60

150

30

60

40

15

40

40

60

20

40

20

40

100

35

10

20

40

10

20

20

10

30

20

Missing

travel or

dest.

Not enough

detail

Listening to/

playing music

(not radio)

Sewing

Work,

other job(s)

Planning for

hh children

Laundry

Running

Waiting

for medical

services

Travel for

shopping

No Kids

Kids

200

45

120

120

90

60

45

40

300

Minutes

40

80

40

40

55

35

100

100

250

150

35

70

35

50

30

30

80

30

60

30

80

200

45

25

25

50

25

100

60

20

150

60

40

20

20

40

20

35

40

100

15

30

15

15

50

10

40

10

20

30

10

10

50

Travel for

excercise

Travel for

gas

Travel for

nonhh kids

Interior

decoration

Shopping

Gap/can’t

remember

Driving nonhh

children

Phone calls

w/ family

Attending hh

children’s

events

No Kids

Kids

30

30

40

80

12

45

120

100

200

Minutes

40

70

35

110

25

10

25

35

60

30

80

100

150

20

8

30

50

20

25

90

25

15

60

6

40

100

20

80

20

15

30

10

4

15

70

15

40

50

20

10

5

10

2

10

60

Personal

mail

Arts and

crafts

Relaxing,

thinking

No Kids

Kids

No Kids

Kids

No Kids

Kids

20

120

Minutes

150

100

15

80

100

10

60

40

50

5

20

Personal

e−mail and

messages

Taking

class

Playing w/

non-hh

children

No Kids

Kids

45

400

160

40

140

350

35

120

300

30

100

25

250

80

20

60

200

15

40

150

10

Vehicle

repair

Phone calls,

misc.

Playing

games

No Kids

Kids

120

60

100

50

150

80

40

100

60

30

40

20

50

20

10

Phone calls

w/ friends

Care for

hh children

(primary)

Listening

to radio

No Kids

Kids

120

60

80

Minutes

100

50

80

60

40

60

30

40

40

20

20

20

10

Tobacco &

drug use

Repair,

maintenance

Care for

hh adults

No Kids

Kids

30

60

80

50

25

40

60

20

30

40

15

20

10

20

10

TV & movies

Religious

practices

Homework

No Kids

Kids

60

60

250

55

50

50

200

40

45

150

30

40

20

100

35

10

30

Computer for

leisure

Reading

Missing

travel or

dest.

No Kids

Kids

45

120

120

40

100

100

35

80

30

80

25

60

60

20

40

15

40

10

20

 

Where do all of the minutes go? Mostly shuttling around kids, taking care of kids, and preparing to take care of kids.
 

Health−related

self care

Food

presentation

Pick-up/

drop-off hh

children

Care for

hh children

Travel for

hh children

Food

preparation

No Kids

Kids

No Kids

Kids

No Kids

Kids

No Kids

Kids

No Kids

Kids

No Kids

Kids

120

25

20

70

70

100

Minutes

40

20

60

60

15

80

50

50

30

15

60

40

10

40

40

10

30

20

30

20

5

20

20

5

0

10

Grocery

shopping

Travel for

class

Travel for

nonhh adults

Religious

services

Travel for

banking

Working out,

misc.

No Kids

Kids

25

50

50

60

70

45

Minutes

120

20

40

40

50

60

35

100

15

30

40

50

30

25

10

80

40

30

20

20

5

15

30

60

20

Health−related

self care

Pick-up/

drop-off hh

children

Travel for

hh children

No Kids

Kids

No Kids

Kids

No Kids

Kids

120

20

100

Minutes

40

15

80

30

60

10

40

20

20

5

0

10

Food

presentation

Care for

hh children

Food

preparation

No Kids

Kids

25

70

70

Minutes

20

60

60

50

50

15

40

40

10

30

30

20

20

5

Grocery

shopping

Travel for

class

Religious

services

No Kids

Kids

50

60

45

Minutes

120

40

50

35

100

40

30

25

80

30

20

15

60

20

Travel for

nonhh adults

Travel for

banking

Working out,

misc.

No Kids

Kids

25

50

70

Minutes

20

40

60

15

30

50

10

40

20

5

30

Good times.

All of the changes seem to make sense, but I’m a little surprised that “working out” inched up for those with kids. That has not been my experience. I wonder if we’re seeing parents who work from home or are stay-at-home drop off their kids at school and then head to the gym. That seems to make sense anecdotally. I’ll have to take a look at that subset.

Notes

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