A third of working moms are burned out

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workingmomYou know all those May flowers that are blooming thanks to April showers? It’s time to pick ‘em and give ‘em to Mom because this Sunday is Mother’s Day.

As if being a parent wasn’t hard enough, not to mention a mom who works outside of the home, these tough economic times aren’t making life any easier.

Quality time with family is the most important “to-do” on working moms’ lists this Mother’s Day. In fact, some working moms report struggling to find work/life balance as they take on additional hours and second jobs in tough financial times. Thirty percent of working moms, whose companies have had layoffs in the past 12 months, are working longer hours and 14 percent of working moms have taken on second jobs in the last year to help make ends meet. One-third (34 percent) reported they are burned out. This is according to CareerBuilder’s annual Mother’s Day survey conducted from February 20 to March 11, 2009, among 496 women, employed full-time, with children under the age of 18.

Working moms are feeling increased pressure to be able to continue providing for their households and are spending more time on work. Forty percent of working moms fear losing their jobs today more than they did one year ago. Forty-three percent work more than 40 hours per week, while 16 percent of working moms reported bringing work home at least two days a week. Six percent said work comes home with them every workday.

Increased workloads are impacting the quantity and quality of time spent with their families. Nearly one-in-five working moms (19 percent) said they spend two hours or less with their children each day. One-in-four (25 percent) reported they had missed two or more significant events in their child’s life in the last year.

“More than anything, working moms want the gift of time this Mother’s Day,” said Mary Delaney, President of CareerBuilder’s talent management and recruitment outsourcing division, Personified, and mother of three. “Nearly one-third say that despite it being one of the toughest economies in the nation’s history, they would even consider taking a pay cut to spend more time with their kids. If you’re struggling with work/life balance, talk to your manager. Working moms who communicate their need for flexible time, job sharing or something in between will find that most companies are receptive to these kinds of policies.”

Many working moms choose to work alternative schedules so they can spend more time with their kids. Fifty-five percent of working moms say they take advantage of flexible work arrangements at their organizations, with the vast majority reporting that work style adjustments have not adversely affected their career progress.

Delaney recommends the following tips for managing the working mom balancing act:

1. Take care of yourself – It may seem like there is never enough time for yourself, but be sure to take an hour or two each week to enjoy your favorite activities. If you need help sticking to it, block off the time in your calendar as an appointment so you don’t cancel your “me time.”

2. Talk to your manager – Propose alternate work arrangements that not only provide better work/life balance, but positively impact productivity. Suggest compressed work-weeks, flexible hours that let you start earlier and leave earlier and telecommuting.

3. Keep a routine – Make sure that chores, dinners and other household responsibilities are planned and scheduled in advance to save you time, stress and mental energy. Having a solid routine in place helps the whole family operate more smoothly and allows for more quality family time.

4. Make the most of family time – Sometimes getting home from work to a whole other set of to-dos can feel like the second shift of your day. Learn to not sweat the small stuff and take full advantage of your family time by enjoying activities with your kids and putting other menial tasks on the back burner.

5. Lighten the load – While you may be tempted to be involved in every project and every conference call, get comfortable with delegating responsibilities to members of your team. Not only will this allow your staff continue to grow, but it will help alleviate your day-to-day duties.

19 Comments
  1. My sister, Carolyn, is one of those burned out mama’s. In one of her more frizzed out days, I suggested she take a sabbatical. She eeeked out a crazed laugh. Then I reminded her of our debrief 4 weeks after she returned from joining a group who trekked into Macchu Pichu (please note: Trekked – did not take bus). “What was the take-away of dropping out of mommyland?” Answer: “I feel like I’m a much better parent.” As sabbaticals gain momentum in the workplace, mom’s too can benefit.

  2. Whew its harder on single working moms with no child support help or the other parent around at all… Its just rough…

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  7. A warning to all who attempt tip #2…

    “Talk to your manager – Propose alternate work arrangements that not only provide better work/life balance, but positively impact productivity. Suggest compressed work-weeks, flexible hours that let you start earlier and leave earlier and telecommuting.”

    Thanks to my doing just that, I’m now one of the increasing number of unemployed workers. I was laid off after 19 years. Thanks to ‘Lean Business Systems” more and more companies are simply requiring workers to work and ever increasing amount of overtime. I attempted to keep up. I brought my son to work on weekends. There were even times that, because of a deadline, I returned to work after picking him up from after-school care to finish a project. More than a few Fridays were spent coming back in at his bedtime and having him sleep next to me while I worked until 3am to get a project finished. I did all I could to keep up with my employer’s demand of my time. As I spent more and more time at work, my son’s behavioral issues became increasingly worse. Finally, I asked my manager about other positions requiring less overtime. I was willing to take a pay cut if necessary. All my cried for help fell apon deaf ears and weeks after that fateful conversation, I was unceremoniously dumped.

    A bit of background, I’m a lone parent of an 8yo son who has slight physical and behavioral problems due to brain damage he received after being shaken at 3 months of age by his father.

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