Why 7.47pm is the new clocking off time

I was strangely heartened to read some recent research which revealed that Brits don’t officially wind down until 7.47pm each evening

As a parent of three young children who have a natural immunity to sleep – coupled with a healthy contempt for bedtime – it was nice to discover that I’m far from alone!

The survey of 2,000 people was commissioned by security specialist Yale and found that life is made up of two thirds hard work. The average person is awake for 15 hours a day, 10 of which are spent working and ticking off tasks from a never-ending to do list.

Furthermore, 38% of respondents felt that they don’t get enough time to properly enjoy their homes or where they live.

Although I work from home, these findings really resonate with me. I spend most of the day writing blog posts and fighting a losing battle with emails and often don’t switch off my computer until around 7pm. It doesn’t actually feel like being at home at all.

As soon as my working day is over, it’s time for the bedtime routine which, as any parent knows, can be very hard work indeed! As well as employing ace negotiation skills to ensure that all vegetables have been eaten, there’s the battle to get the kids upstairs, through the bathroom and in bed in under an hour.

My four-year-old son is always the last of the three to go to sleep. Once his requests for ‘just one more story’, another glass of water or to be tucked in for the umpteenth time have been replaced by a butter-wouldn’t-melt face and loud snoring, it’s often well after 8pm.

My wife and I don’t eat until the kids are asleep – previous attempts at dining as a family failed miserably as we can’t eat that early without ending up snacking later – so it’s often nearly 9pm before we collapse into the sofa. We rarely manage to watch anything on TV right through without me falling asleep.

Although the aim of the study was to establish how much time people spend at home and how seriously they take security, it has confirmed something else for me. It seems to have produced a highly accurate picture of life as a busy parent.

While it’s obviously far from being a case of misery loving company, it’s always reassuring to know that you’re not alone. Juggling a job and parenting can be incredibly hard work at times.

It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that others have got it sorted and that you’re the only family struggling to fit everything in and dropping the proverbial ball here and there.

The results of this survey beg to differ, so this Family Fortunes moment is one to keep in mind next time you wearily trudge downstairs as the daylight starts to fade...

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Guest Sunday, 17 January 2021

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