16 hours: the average working day of a working mum

A working mum’s average working day is 16 hours, with around a quarter of mums with three to four children starting at 5-6am and over half of mums with four children not finishing till nearly midnight, according to a survey.

The nationwide survey of 1,000 mums by Watchshop found that working mums spend on average an additional 54 hours a week on parenting and household chores, making an average week of 79 hours.

Over half think they would be further in their careers if they hadn’t had children, with over a quarter of younger mums saying they should have delayed having children till later. Ideally, mums say 27 is the best age to start a family.

The survey also shows the pressures many mums still face at work. A quarter of single mums said their employers were not very understanding if they had to miss out of work activities or if they were late because of their children. A third felt guilty if they had to miss work because of their children.

Over half of the mums surveyed were working full time and on average they had just one hour off a day. They spend as much time commuting – doing the school run and getting to work and back – as they do helping their children do their homework and parenting, with around two and a half hours being the average.

The survey also showed 44% of mums say they have no help with looking after their kids, while on average grandparents help out around six hours a week, around the same as divorced dads and around an hour a half less than dads who are married or cohabiting. Dads who are in a relationship but not living with their children’s mums spend more time on average on childcare.

The survey also breaks down in to age categories and shows older mums tend to prioritise work more than parenting as they get older and get less spare time. This may be because more older mums go into full-time employment. Older mothers seemed to find it the most difficult juggling work and parenting, with 30% of mothers over the age of 55 saying their employers do not understand at all when they are running late because of children.

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