According to a 2017 study that’s been making the rounds again on the Internet, working American mothers punch in an average of 98 hours a week. That’s basically two-and-a-half full-time jobs, people.
The study, conducted by Market Researchers OnePoll in partnership with Welch’s nutrition program, looked at over 2,000 moms with kids between the ages and 5 and 12. On average, it was found that they start working — and by working, we’re talking about both motherhood and their paid job combined — at 6:23 AM and they stopped on average at 8:31 PM. That’s a ton of hours spent wiping butts and answering urgent emails. Sometimes simultaneously.
And while the public may be stunned to learn that most moms face a 98-hour work week, you know who isn’t shocked by this revelation? Working moms.
I am a married mother of three myself, and I have been both a professional at a 40 hour-a-week desk job and also a stay-at-home-mom. My work weeks have been equally long no matter what title is next to my name or where I park my car. And that’s because my challenges simply shift depending on my environment.
As a working mother, I had to get up early enough to get kids ready for their day before I battled morning traffic and an eight-hour office routine. Then I’d turn right around to go home, cook dinner, throw in some laundry, help with homework, and tackle the nightly bedtime mêlée. By the time I was ready to call it a day, it was easily 9:00 PM.
As a stay-at-home-mom, the only real change I’ve seen (other than a dramatic drop in pay) is an increase in housework and child care neither of which adhere to schedules. That damn laundry basket will beckon me at 9 at night. Kids do things like wake up in the middle of the night from bad dreams and I can’t say, “Sorry, dear, I’m already off the clock.”
Some folks like to point at the so-called “mommy wars” to show that working moms have it harder than SAHM’s or vice versa. And there are valid arguments on both sides to show that moms work their tails off. The truth is, though, that both kinds of moms have it equally tough. The challenges just have different names.
Bt the end of the day, a mother will stay awake and work until she is drop dead tired, because she loves her kids. And that is simply that. What American moms really need is access to adequate and affordable health care, child care, and maternity leave. With those three things helping to support healthy growing families, moms won’t have to do a majority of the heavy lifting when it comes to raising kids.