Parenting is tough on any given day, and it does not get easier when one or both parents work outside the home. As you might expect, working moms have their own unique situations to confront, according to CareerBuilder’s annual survey of working mothers. As with all workers, today’s competitive workplaces, demanding positions and financial obligations affect how much time working mothers get to spend at home.
Balancing work and life
Workers often struggle with knowing how much time to spend at the office and when to clock out and head home. The survey found that 25 percent of working moms believe they have to choose between their children and having successful careers. In fact, 24 percent of working moms cite work obligations as the reason for having missed three or more significant events in their children’s lives in the past year.
In a competitive economy, many workers are still doing more with less at the office. Once the recession began and companies had to let workers go, the employees who remained were forced to pick up the tasks of their former colleagues. That mentality of giving 110 percent may not have left the workplace yet, even as the hiring outlook continues to improve. When working mothers were asked how much quality time they’re able to spend with their children during the workweek:
- 51 percent said four hours or more per day.
- 22 percent said two hours per day.
- 6 percent said one hour or less per day.
The challenge of new moms
Even new mothers adjusting to life with a baby just home from the hospital can’t keep work off their minds for too long. Twenty-six percent of working moms who have had a child in the past three years say they did not use the full maternity leave allotted by their company’s policy. In fact, 44 percent of working moms who have had children in the past three years took more than eight weeks of maternity leave. Conversely, 40 percent took off six weeks or less, and 12 percent took off two weeks or less.
The paychecks of working parents
Finances are likely a top priority for the average worker in today’s economy. Factor in supporting a child, and money is certainly a major concern. Whether you’re the sole wage-earner likely plays a role in your financial motivations as well. Thirty-nine percent of working moms and 43 percent of working dads surveyed are the only financial provider in their respective households.
While an almost equal amount of mothers and fathers are their households’ only source of income, paychecks are nowhere near as equal. The survey found that:
- 40 percent of working moms earn less than $35,000, compared with 21 percent of working dads.
- 59 percent of working dads earn $50,000 or more, compared with 33 percent of working moms.
- 17 percent of working dads earn $100,000 or more, compared with 6 percent of working moms.
The pay disparity might not come as a surprise, considering that a 2011 workplace diversity survey found women are the least likely group to earn $100,000 or more, and a separate 2012 survey revealed just how few female executives there are in today’s workforce.
Overall, the survey shows that working mothers and fathers are trying to do what’s best for both their families and their careers, and finding that balance isn’t always simple.