Working Moms Feeling the Pressure of Parenthood and the Economy

Mary Delaney, President of Personified, CareerBuilder's talent management and recruitment outsourcing division

A mother's work is never easy, and for a mother who works outside the home, things are especially tough this year. In these trying economic times, moms are finding the balancing act between family and work is more challenging than ever, according to CareerBuilder's annual Mother's Day survey of 469 working mothers.

Here's what the survey found:

  • Thirty percent of working moms whose companies have experienced layoffs in the previous 12 months are working longer hours than they used to.
  • Fourteen percent of surveyed moms have taken second jobs during the last year to make ends meet.
  • Combining family needs, financial woes and busy schedules, it shouldn't come as a surprise that 34 percent of moms admit to feeling burned out these days.


Employees across all demographics are feeling pressure to work harder as they discover the truth behind the "do more with less" mantra. Not only are working mothers picking up the responsibilities left behind by laid off colleagues, but they also want to maintain high quality of their own work.

Consequently, they're devoting more time to their jobs and less time to home and family. Therefore 43 percent of surveyed mothers say they work more than 40 hours each week. Sixteen percent of working mothers bring work home at least twice a week, and 6 percent bring home work every day.

We all know working mothers always want to fulfill their job duties without neglecting their families. Yet, 40 percent of working mothers fear losing their jobs today more than they did a year ago. As a result of this extra time in the office, 19 percent of moms say they spend two hours or less with their children each day, and 25 percent have missed two or more significant events in their child's life in the last year.

Time is the greatest gift

As much as mothers love receiving flowers and homemade crafts on Mother's Day, this year the one gift they want most is time. Despite the current economy being one of the toughest in the nation's history, nearly one-third of mothers say they would consider a pay cut to spend more time with their children.

Fortunately, many employers are accommodating the needs of mothers who need some flexibility to balance their work-life demands. And working moms are eager to make the most of this opportunity. Fifty-five percent of working moms say they take advantage of their employers' flexible work arrangements, and a vast majority report that their career progress hasn't been hindered as a result.

How to balance your responsibilities

Although there's no magic formula for raising children and having a successful career, there are steps you can take to ensure that you, your family and your job don't suffer. Here are five tips to help working moms achieve a successful work-life balance:

1. Take care of yourself

Although your plate is already full, you need to secure some "me" time each week to indulge in your favorite activities. To prevent your personal time from being bumped off the list of priorities, block off the time as an appointment on your calendar.

2. Talk to your manager

Communicate your needs to your manager and illustrate how your improved work/life balance will benefit the company. For example, compressed work-weeks, flexible hours (so you can arrive earlier and leave earlier) and telecommuting can help productivity and save the company money.

3. Keep a routine

Divide household responsibilities (such as dinner preparation, chores and bill paying) between you and your family so that everyone is involved. If you have a partner, share responsibilities so that no one is bogged down in chores and you can enjoy quality time together.

4. Make the most of family time

Transitioning from professional to mother can be hard to do when you walk through the door, but don't forget to enjoy time with your children when you're home. You might want to cross off another laundry list of to-dos when you get home, but don't let the minor tasks distract you from enjoying activities with your children.

5. Lighten the load

Being a working mom might make you feel like a superhero, but you're only one woman. Learn to delegate responsibilities so that you're not on every call and in every meeting. Your staff will grow in their positions and you'll have less stress.

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