It’s no secret that working moms are under a great deal of pressure. Our own Work It, Mom! survey of 400 breadwinning working mothers found that 73 percent worked full-time outside the home, and 68 percent found it stressful — with many becoming resentful of having to support their households.
The recession isn’t making it any easier. Several surveys have come out recently, trying to gauge the effect the economy has had on work-life balance in general, and working mothers in particular. As you’ve probably guessed, the results aren’t pretty.
We often say there’s really no such thing as work-life balance; it’s more of a juggle and, from time to time, you have to forget about keeping all of those balls up in the air and just try to catch them as they fall. But guilt is still a factor, according to a recent survey by Splenda. The survey of more than 1,000 moms in the United States with children under 18 was meant to focus on wellbeing, health and nutrition, but it also found that 61 percent of working moms say that it’s difficult to achieve “a comfortable work-life balance” — and 64 percent of those moms say they sometimes feel guilty about it.
Another study, this one by US staffing company Adecco Group, asked working moms about the impact that the recession is having on their work-life balance (or lack thereof). Eighty percent of the women who participated in Adecco’s Workplace Insight Survey said that they work because they have to, not because they want to — and almost half of them (48 percent) are more stressed than before, with 16 percent adding that their work hours have increased because of the bad economy.
Sixty-five percent of them are cutting their budgets at home but, in spite of that, 19 percent admitted to overcompensating for the lack of time with their kids by lavishing them with material goods instead. And while nearly half said they wish they could spend more time with their kids, 30 percent say they are overwhelmed by their responsibilities at home.
So what to do about it?
There are no easy answers, but there are lots of places to start. Traci Feit Love, who writes The Breadwinner Mom, offers up five survival tips. A few months ago I identified one of my biggest demons — feeling overwhelmed – and offered up a few ways to cope. And, of course, finding a great community of like-minded people can help in myriad ways, from offering support to tips to a safe place to vent.
How are you coping with the recession? What is stressing you out the most — and how are you handling it?