Juggling work and family is a familiar — and constant — struggle that many working mothers face. Now many moms are adding “sole breadwinner” to their list of obligations.
According to CareerBuilder‘s annual Mother’s Day survey, 34 percent of working moms report that they’re shouldering the full financial burden of their households, compared to 39 percent of working dads who currently report that they serve as the sole breadwinner. The national survey polled 411 working moms and 420 working dads with children 18 and under who live with them.
Work taking its toll on family relationships
It can be a challenge for mothers to adapt to being away from their children, and it can be tough on the rest of the family as well. Seventeen percent of working moms say their jobs have negatively impacted their relationship with their children, while 12 percent say their careers have adversely impacted their relationship with their spouse or significant other.
Then there’s the guilt that many men and women may feel for being working parents. Twenty-eight percent of working moms say their children have asked them to work less, and 24 percent report that they spend two hours or less with their children each day during the workweek.
“The household dynamic has changed over the years with women reshaping traditional roles,” says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder and working mom. “Women account for more than half of the U.S. workforce and are often the breadwinners for their households. While many women successfully manage careers and families, the quest for more quality time at home will always be top of mind.”
Maternity leave cut short
Some new moms, faced with demanding work environments, have had to shorten their maternity leave. Of women who have had a child in the last three years, 30 percent didn’t take the full maternity leave their company allowed. While 45 percent of women who have had a child in the last three years took more than eight weeks of maternity leave, 17 percent took four weeks or less and 12 percent took just two weeks or less.
Finding a better work/life balance
While juggling professional and personal responsibilities isn’t easy, by making small changes, working moms can achieve a happier balance. Here are some tips for finding a better work/life balance:
Explore other work arrangements. Sixty percent of working moms have taken advantage of flexible work arrangements, and the vast majority of them say it hasn’t negatively impacted their careers. Discuss options with your supervisor or HR department, armed with a game plan for how you can manage your workload, cover responsibilities, etc.
Learn to say no. Set boundaries, choose the activities that are the biggest priority for you and forget about the guilt.
Get organized. Keep one calendar for business and family commitments to avoid double-booking. Set up a schedule for chores, homework, dates with your significant other and family activities.
Remember quality over quantity. If you’re only able to spend a few hours with your children each day, make the most of that time. Wait until your children go to bed before checking email or finishing that presentation.
Carve out “me time.” Moms need a break too. Schedule time for yourself to relax and recharge.