A commissioned 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 just 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.
Researchers looked at 2,000 US mothers who had children between five and 12 years of age. The team found that most mums ‘clock in’ at 6:23am and ‘clock out’ at 8:31pm, 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 whimpers 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. “Say what?” we hear you protest. Again, this is 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 and babysitters.
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 – how women’s physical and mental workload balloons 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!)
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