The average mum in the UK now takes on care responsibilities for six different family members, as well as at least one pet, according to a survey by Care.com.
According to the study of 2,000 mums, in addition to two or more children, mums are also looking after an elderly parent or parent-in-law, a grandparent or grandparent in-law, at least one other relative, one family pet, and even their partner.
Some also have to look after their grandchildren and step-children, with the average monthly household care bill totalling £112 – more than seven per cent of the average family outgoings of £1,521 – according to the study’s findings.
The survey also found that 89 per cent of UK mums feel like they are always caring for other people, with the average mum spending four hours and 34 minutes actively caring for others. In comparison, the mums said they got just an hour and 58 minutes to themselves.
Seventy per cent of mums feel that they are so busy taking care of others, they don’t have enough time to spend with their partner or friends, whilst 71 per cent of mums also hold down a job.
Liz Fraser, parenting author and Care.com Modern Family Expert said: “As any mum knows, caring for children takes up a huge amount of time, but the children aren’t the only ones in the family relying on mums.
“Many mums are part of what is now known as the ‘sandwich generation’, caring for their children as well as their elderly family members.
“Even if they are simply running errands for an elderly parent or grandparent or popping in to check that they are OK every now and then, it means time out of their day.
“In some cases, these multiple care responsibilities leave mums feeling guilty about the lack of time that they have to spend with their children, friends or partner and can also lead to little time for relaxing or simply doing something for themselves.”
“This in turn, along with the pressures of work, can affect mothers’ physical, emotional and social wellbeing.”
The study further found that feeding or cooking meals is the most common job that mumsdo for others, along with washing clothes, doing the housework and shopping for them. They also have to run errands, take them to school, appointments or social activities and clean or bathe them.
Some 15 per cent care for elderly relatives living with them full time, while 22 per cent have an average of two grandchildren and spend nearly eight hours per week taking care of them. Sixty one per cent feel guilty for the lack of time spent with their family, while 75 per cent wish they had more time to spend with their family. And three quarters of mums wish they had more help caring for everyone within their family.