Mums on the go - Working parents get almost no time to relax

First published: 02-03-2016

Parent and children reading Mother's Day rolls around once a year and often it's the only time where we turn the tables on our mums, and let them put their feet up, instead of looking after everyone else.

We ran a survey to see just how busy mums actually are during the other 364 days in a year, and whether they get any time to relax when not at work or taking care of the kids. Is a mum's average day really as hectic as we all think it is?

A bit of me time

Everyone needs a little bit of time to take it easy and indulge in a few hobbies, or just to enjoy a glass of wine in front of the telly.

It turns out that working mums do get to sit still for a more than a few minutes every day, but not much more. On average, 1.9 hours of a standard working day is all that's allocated to a bit of me time for mums, with the majority being taken up with working and parenting.

51% of respondents stated that their free time only occurred after the kids had gone to bed, and perhaps surprisingly, only 13% of mums said that they managed to relax during school hours, indicating that this time is often filled with other tasks.

Person reading a newspaper

The work-life balance

It can be tough to get the right balance between work and relaxation in your single years, never mind when you've got one or more kids in tow. But when trying to cope with the demands of ferrying the children around, it's certainly helpful to have a boss who understands this struggle.

Respondents to the survey revealed that most employers were sympathetic towards their needs, not giving them a hard time when it comes to running late, staying at home due to children being ill, or even working fewer hours.

However, it was revealed that over half of the mums we surveyed still work standard 9-5 days, while 11% admitted that they have to work over weekends on occasion. 56% think they would have progressed further in their career if they didn't have children, too.

The guilty party

In addition to the 11% mums working the occasional weekend, 11% said that their shifts varied, while a further 5% worked night shifts. With all this work outside the standard 9-5 day, how do mums feel about this time spent away from their families?

47% of the mums that responded to the survey felt guilty when they had to work late, spending time away from the kids. In contrast, a third of respondents actually felt guilty about having to leave work early due to child commitments.

It seems the average mum's lifestyle is tilted in the direction of work rather than play, with many parents struggling to juggle all their commitments to both the kids and the office.

Perhaps it's time that we all tried to make life a little easier for mothers throughout the year, rather than just on one special day.

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