A new US study confirms that the average mum works 98 hours a week. If you’re not too exhausted to do the sums, you’ll realise that’s almost the same as working 2.5 jobs. Or exactly the same if your boss makes you wipe his bottom and pick up sultanas from under his desk.
A hard road
Semi-annoyingly the study was commissioned by a drink company, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s gathered some interesting data and starting some important conversations.
Researchers looked at 2000 US mothers who had children between five and 12 years of age. The team found that most mums “clocks in” at 6:23 am and “clock out” at 8:31 pm, making their average work day 14 hours in length. Thus, the “average mum’s” work week totalled a whopping 98 hours.
We can hear the howls of protest here from strung-out mums who have night-waking children, and note that this average would be skewed by the fact that parents of older kids were included. We’re betting that if the study group was mums of under-3s that 14 hour work day would blow out considerably. The research also noted that there are no days off for mums, and that this 98 hour per week total included weekend and holiday days.
The study found that mums got an average of an hour and seven minutes to herself each day. What’s that? The howls again! Yup. Again, it’s an average and the “me time” would increase considerably as children got to primary school age. Know that we know that, mums of very small children. We see you!
Mother’s little helpers?
The findings go on to talk about “life savers” which they define as strategies that save time and make mums’ lives easier. (Unfortunately they didn’t cover dads in the study, so sorry we can’t give you data on them!) Unsurprisingly the “life savers” included Netflix, convenience food, babysitters and…. JUICE. They had to slip that in somewhere.
The findings were published in a press release, which you’ll find in full over on Yahoo’s UK site, including a final plug for juice (!) We’re hoping to cite the original data stat.
While the commissioned study obviously had a bit of a juice-focused agenda and is possibly questionable, it raises an important 100 percent genuine issue – women’s physical and mental workload once they have families.
At times the weight of what’s required of mums is overwhelming, and realising that this often undervalued labour takes up the equivalent of more than two full-time job hours might be a helpful way to begin quantifying the unquantifiable.
We look forward to broader, less juicy studies and more discussion of the work mums do. (And dads. Yep!)
How many hours a day do you work? And how does that pan out, in terms of weekly hours worked? And me time? Discuss!