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Modern working mothers are relying on a volunteer squad of up to eight family and friend members to help out with childcare during the school holidays, a survey has revealed.
In fact, the average network of helpers, which is usually ‘headed up’ by granny, dedicates more than 15 hours a week to helping the typical working mum.
The research by retirement home business McCarthy & Stone found that the summer six-week holiday caused havoc for 55% of employed mums who said they have to rely on family and friends for help.
More than half of the 2,000 working mums polled, all who have kids aged 10 and under, said they couldn’t manage without help from their own mum.
And over one in ten said they had to call on their mother in-law for help during the holidays too.
Both sets of grandfathers, best friends, partners and ‘other mums’ also get drafted in to help as well as neighbours the study found.
Three quarters of mums claim the help they get from family and friends allowed them to work during the holidays, and 83% said they would be forced to take unpaid leave if they lost their team of helpers.
Of the mothers questioned, 38% said everyone they knew fell back on their parents for childcare if they got stuck.
And 53% said grandparents are the primary carers for the kids when parents are unable to look after them.
But two thirds say their parents enjoy it as much as the children do and make the effort to take them on days out over the annual school break.
Four in ten mums said the kids are shipped off to the grandparents for several nights at a time.
Visiting parks, swimming pools and the seaside were all listed as days out to entertain the grandkids during the holidays.
More than half of the mums polled said their own grandparents cared for them as a child and the summer holidays provided them with lifelong memories of their grandparents.
Nearly a third (27%) of mothers said that it was impossible to manage everything yourself, and it was vital to rely on close family and friends.
But 21% said it is possible to manage everything if you are incredibly organised.
The study also found that just over a quarter of women said the hardest aspect of parenting was being a good mother while also being dedicated in the workplace.
And a third said the hardest part of being a mother was keeping the kids and house clean.
But it’s not a one way street – 33% of working mums also belong to someone else’s ‘team’ and get drafted in to help out with friends’ children too. Dads did not appear to be questioned for the survey.