In 1965, mothers of children aged 5 to 18 spent 14.2 more hours a week being physically active than being sedentary. In 2010, they spent 3.8 more hours a week being sedentary than they did on physical activity.Interesting, but why did they put driving in the same category with watching TV? Because one sits to do it? Chauffeuring the kids around used to count as one of the child-rearing tasks. I suspect the reclassification has to do with the focus on the woman getting enough exercise. We're so much less concerned with what's good for children that helping them get to their various events and social occasions is equated with lolling about in a recliner.
And why was "playing with children" seen as physically active? Much playing with children involves sitting around while they do things with toys and games. Building blocks, dressing dollies, playing Candyland and Old Maid, operating the electric train — these were all done sitting down. Yeah, there are those running and jumping around kids' games that we played in the 60s — tag, hopscotch, monkey-in-the-middle — but Mommy didn't play those games. It would have been bizarre for Mom to join in on, say, jump rope.
Much of the work of raising children has to do with simply being present and watchful over long periods of time. It's not an exercise routine. If Mother is concerned about burning calories she's probably less vigilant. I grew up in the 1950s and 60s, and my mother didn't play with me. But she was around, relatively nearby when I played. Kids played with kids. Go out and play. Find something to do. And we did. Whether she sat down and whether that sitting involved a TV doesn't matter. It so happens that my mother stood, read the newspaper, and listened to the radio. But you see my point: Child-rearing is not an exercise routine, and our present-day focus on adults getting exercise should be kept separate.
People today are really confused, it seems to me in my old age.