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In my view there are two main factors that are driving this: (1) increased work outside the home for both parents (not just women entering the workforce, but also both men and women working more hours than they used to) and (2) vastly increased parenting standards as compared to only a generation ago. These two factors exacerbate each other and drive many couples apart.

The first factor does it by robbing people of time and energy. There really are only so many hours in the day. When more of us are spending more of them working outside the home than ever before, that leaves less time for everything else — and everything else includes not only the mundane but necessary life maintenance chores, but also time for raising children and spending time together as a couple. Simply put, there’s less time on the table.

The second factor tends to take that smaller amount of time and very preferentially divert it to the children. This has happened for a variety of reasons, but the upshot is that children are much more actively parented in a non-stop fashion than was previously the case. Anything less is considered poor parenting today. So, instead of having a good amount of “free play” time, kids are scheduled — many of them have schedules as busy as a corporate VP, with parents spending a goodly amount of time either shuttling them around between their various appointments or participating in preparing for various activities, clubs and so on. At the same time, school demands have increased quite a bit, despite the reality of our deteriorating educational system — kids have more homework, and the homework they have often requires parental involvement to some degree or other.