NEW YORK — If mothers were asked to put together a job advertisement for, well, being a mom, after the results of a recent survey, it just might look like this:
Now Hiring! Work From Home! Position requires strong ability to multitask. The successful applicant will be able to plan and prepare nutritious meals, while maintaining mountains of clean laundry. She can provide tutoring, nursing, counseling and therapy sessions on an as-needed basis. In addition, applicants should be available for various event-planning activities, including birthday parties. The position involves staying up-to-date on all recommended practices of child development, including, but not limited to temper tantrums and adolescent awkwardness. Sleeping and eating not guaranteed for employees. Applicant must have a valid driver’s license or organize reliable transportation. Expect to work an average of 97 hours per week for 52 weeks per year. Pay range: $0 to $0 DOQ. Fringe benefits: priceless.
Yes, motherhood entails a list of responsibilities that could go on and on. According to a survey of 2,000 mothers raising school-aged children (ages 5 to 18), moms spend nearly 100 hours a week on parenting tasks — even if it means sacrificing sleep and “me time.” The poll, commissioned by Campbell’s Well Yes! Sipping Soups just in time for Mother’s Day, found no fewer than 15 different hats a mom wears, from chef to financial advisor. It’s no wonder the job goes well beyond a 40-hour workweek!
Where do moms carve out the extra time for this massive job? More than half of those surveyed (53 percent) reported sacrificing sleep for their children, while 47 percent regularly give up date nights, hobbies and time with friends.
Despite the nutritional requirements of the job, the survey found that mothers often zero in on their children’s needs more than on their own. About 3 in 5 respondents (62 percent) say they often eat on the run, 53 percent admit they struggle to eat nutritious foods because of the demands of their schedule.
“It’s incredible how many jobs moms juggle in their everyday lives, so it’s no surprise that their personal nutrition isn’t their top priority,” says Diego Palmieri, Chief Marketing Officer, Meals & Beverages at Campbell Soup Company, in a statement. “Taking time to eat nutritious foods is something we all know is important, but for on-the-go parents – moms in particular – it can feel impossible.”
While moms tend to ignore their own needs, the survey found that they still make sure the kids are eating healthy foods. Mothers themselves eat balanced meals just 39 percent of the time, compared to 52 percent of the time for their kids. Moms also only manage to eat three meals a day 44 percent of the time; for kids, it’s 68 percent. And these women admit consuming the recommended daily number of fruits and vegetables 34 percent of the time, while making sure their children hit this goal 42 percent of the time.
Where does the time go? In a typical day, mothers say they spend 46 minutes preparing meals for their children, 44 minutes doing their laundry and 29 minutes creating artwork and drawings with the kids. Add to that the time spent as chauffeur, cheerleader, tutor and therapist, and it doesn’t take long to rack up many more hours than a full-time job.
Researchers found such a job would pay a handsome six-figure salary: a whopping $100,460 per year if moms were paid for their work as parents. And that’s despite the fact that 70 percent of the mothers surveyed still work a full- or part-time job to boot.
After the immeasurable amount of selflessness shown by the typical mom, the survey found she’s left with less than an hour a day of “me time.” For 88 percent of moms surveyed, this time is often stolen from hours of shuteye, be it getting up early, staying up late, or both.
“With the amount of time moms spend taking care of their children, it’s no surprise that they’re giving up time for themselves,” says Palmieri.
And yet despite the number of sacrifices they make, more than two-thirds (69 percent) of mothers say they want to spend even more time tending to their children.
But it is an impossible job that mothers somehow pull off. After all, how many jobs can claim to have fringe benefits that include cuddles, hugs, and the sense of satisfaction that comes from raising a healthy, happy human?