The Other McCain writes about the history of the term quality time in Living Well Is the Best Revenge:
The cliché of “quality time” was invented by Baby Boomer yuppies in the 1980s to rationalize the way their lifestyles deprived their children of so many traditional childhood experiences. Whereas most Baby Boomers grew up in traditional families — perhaps our parents were not as perfect as Ward and June Cleaver, but we still had the basic security of a stable home life — many of the Boomers sadly failed their children in this regard. If you’ve read Barbara Dafoe Whitehead’s book The Divorce Culture, you understand how the cliché of “quality time” insinuated itself into the vocabulary of parenting. The working mother might not be able to give her children the kind of daily supervision and care she’d like to give them, but she could take them on a three-day vacation to Disney World and say they’d had quality time together. The divorced father might only see his kids one weekend a month, but he could take them out jet-skiing at the lake and tell himself that this quality time made up for the absence enforced by the custody settlement.
Rationalizations are a psychological defense mechanism — the ego defending itself against negative feedback — and everybody has to do whatever it takes to stay sane in difficult circumstances. Even if we have been able to avoid the worst impacts of cultural decadence in our own lives, most of us have friends and relatives who’ve been directly affected by the unraveling of our social social fabric. Divorce, suicide, drug addiction, criminal violence — the kind of stuff Tucker Carlson was talking about Wednesday night — are both cause and effect of the downward spiral that has been destroying American culture for the past 50 years.
I didn’t notice the link back here until I caught up on his posts yesterday, so that was a pleasant surprise. I would argue however that the term wasn’t generally a rationalization by the fathers who were kicked out of their homes, but was instead a rationalization by the people who assisted with or advocated kicking fathers out of the home.