TIME assistant managing editor Dan Goodgame warns against misinterpreting these findings. "In a lot of the coverage on this story, the headline is ‘Extra! Kids don’t really want to spend time with their parents!’ which is not true at all. I think people are misreading the kids’ interviews; it’s not that kids don’t want to spend time with us, it’s that they are cognizant of not only the quantity but the quality of time we spend with them." What kids clearly do care about is how stressed and tired their parents are, and the lesson for parents, says Goodgame, is that children are much more sensitive to our moods and our fatigue than we think. "It probably doesn’t do our kids much good at all if we’re frazzled about work or are exhausted when we’re spending time with them," he says. So if you find yourself nodding off after an evening of homework assistance and bedtime stories, stave off the temptation of the late-night movie and get some sleep instead. You’re kids will thank you for it. Someday.
Watch for emerging support groups for working parents trying to deal with the sudden absence of guilt in their lives. According to Ellen Galinsky’s new book, "Ask the Children: What America’s Children Really Think About Working Parents," the majority of kids in dual-income households feel they spend enough time with their parents. Only 10 percent of the 1,000 children Galinsky interviewed wish they could spend more time with their moms, while 16 percent want more of their dads’ time. Many parents who were interviewed predicted their kids would want them to stop working, while in fact most children were happy with the time they spend with both parents.