Mother playing with her children at home

(© Jacob Lund -

NEW YORK — Now Hiring! Work From Home! Position requires strong ability to multitask. The successful applicant will be able to plan and prepare nutritious meals, while maintaining mountains of clean laundry. She can provide tutoring, nursing, counseling and therapy sessions on an as-needed basis. In addition, applicants should be available for various event-planning activities, including birthday parties. The position involves staying up-to-date on all recommended practices of child development, including, but not limited to temper tantrums and adolescent awkwardness. Sleeping and eating not guaranteed for employees. Applicant must have a valid driver’s license or organize reliable transportation. Expect to work an average of 97 hours per week for 52 weeks per year. Pay range: $0 to $0 DOQ. Fringe benefits: priceless. 

Sound familiar? Welcome to the life of a modern American mom.

Yes, motherhood entails a list of responsibilities that could go on and on. According to a 2019 survey of 2,000 mothers raising school-aged children (ages 5 to 18), moms spend nearly 100 hours a week on parenting tasks — even if it means sacrificing sleep and “me time.” The poll, commissioned by Campbell’s Well Yes! Sipping Soups, found no fewer than 15 different hats a mom wears, from chef to financial advisor. It’s no wonder the job goes well beyond a 40-hour workweek! And while the results may be five years old, they certainly still work in today’s society.

Where do moms carve out the extra time for this massive job? More than half of those surveyed (53 percent) reported sacrificing sleep for their children, while 47 percent regularly give up date nights, hobbies and time with friends.

Despite the nutritional requirements of the job, the survey found that mothers often zero in on their children’s needs more than on their own. About 3 in 5 respondents (62 percent) say they often eat on the run, 53 percent admit they struggle to eat nutritious foods because of the demands of their schedule.

“It’s incredible how many jobs moms juggle in their everyday lives, so it’s no surprise that their personal nutrition isn’t their top priority,” says Diego Palmieri, Chief Marketing Officer, Meals & Beverages at Campbell Soup Company, in a statement. “Taking time to eat nutritious foods is something we all know is important, but for on-the-go parents – moms in particular – it can feel impossible.”

While moms tend to ignore their own needs, the survey found that they still make sure the kids are eating healthy foods. Mothers themselves eat balanced meals just 39 percent of the time, compared to 52 percent of the time for their kids. Moms also only manage to eat three meals a day 44 percent of the time; for kids, it’s 68 percent. And these women admit consuming the recommended daily number of fruits and vegetables 34 percent of the time, while making sure their children hit this goal 42 percent of the time.

Where does the time go? In a typical day, mothers say they spend 46 minutes preparing meals for their children, 44 minutes doing their laundry and 29 minutes creating artwork and drawings with the kids. Add to that the time spent as chauffeur, cheerleader, tutor and therapist, and it doesn’t take long to rack up many more hours than a full-time job.

Researchers found such a job would pay a handsome six-figure salary: a whopping $100,460 per year if moms were paid for their work as parents. And that’s despite the fact that 70 percent of the mothers surveyed still work a full- or part-time job to boot.

After the immeasurable amount of selflessness shown by the typical mom, the survey found she’s left with less than an hour a day of “me time.” For 88 percent of moms surveyed, this time is often stolen from hours of shuteye, be it getting up early, staying up late, or both.

“With the amount of time moms spend taking care of their children, it’s no surprise that they’re giving up time for themselves,” says Palmieri.

And yet despite the number of sacrifices they make, more than two-thirds (69 percent) of mothers say they want to spend even more time tending to their children.

But it is an impossible job that mothers somehow pull off. After all, how many jobs can claim to have fringe benefits that include cuddles, hugs, and the sense of satisfaction that comes from raising a healthy, happy human?

This article was first published on May 12, 2019.

About Terra Marquette

Terra is a Denver-area freelance writer, editor and researcher. In her free time, she creates playlists for every mood.

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  1. Bill Reed says:

    Mothers expecting to be paid for being a mother… is a JOKE.

    1. Bobby Cullari says:

      Well, maybe they should!
      And fathers should be paid as well for putting up with nagging wives. At day’s end it all balances out. So, mothers, you get NOTHING! Don’t like it; get a job!

      1. Sonrisa says:

        Screw you!!

  2. Bobby Cullari says:

    A 6 figure job?
    If you can’t pull a six figure income outside of parenting, you’re not worth that sort of money.
    You want to know what mothering is worth? What is the hourly rate we pay daycare workers.
    That’s your value – around 30k per year.
    Now, shut up and make dinner.

    1. Sonrisa says:

      You are an asshole.

    2. Dana says:

      I make $150k + parent of a 10 year old severe ADHD child. I came across this article seeking advice as a struggling mom/ executive/ wife/ homemaker, because there’s never enough time in the day to do all these jobs with 100% attention and/or accuracy (while still trying to maintain a cool, collective and supportive demeanor). The guilt of not doing enough at work, or not doing enough for your child (or not doing enough for your husband, or if the house is clean enough, or if there is enough food) never goes away. If you need an example on how to achieve work life balance, I’m it – and I’m here to confirm there’s no such thing. How dare you, Bobby, diminish a mother’s worth by stating that if the individual is not capable of making $100k outside of the home, their parenting efforts aren’t worth more than $15-$25 an hour. Everything I do at home is worth more than my hourly wage at work, and I make real money. As a mother my job is to ensure my son is a capable independent human being, with emphasis on teaching time management (.. eating, homework, sports, chores, social) and establishing personal boundaries while maintaining respect for others. It appears your mother may have failed you, as “respect for others” is clearly lacking in your response. This article is to inform imbeciles like yourself that mothers do more than just cook dinner, and their value is often overlooked. Now, shut up and get me my crown.

    3. Kacey says:

      You’re ignorant. A daycare worker takes care of a child for a few hours that’s it. They don’t cook, clean, run errands or manage finances. The two are not comparable so come back when your little brain comprehends that.

  3. Chad Thunder says:

    Hmmm… an article based off a poll conducted and financed by a food corporation talking about nutrition. Bias much?

  4. Louise says:

    I spend 15+hours a day everyday of the week taking care of the household and my 2 toddlers one 2 years and four months and one soon 1 year old. They require that sort of time from you since they are so small and cant do anything themselves basicly. As they grow older the number of hours I will need to dedicated will decrease. How can it be that many hours a week? Especially parenting for a 5-18years old? They will spend time in school, have activites and spend time with friends more and more so as they grow older. And when they old enough they will get to help around the house.

  5. MC says:

    As a working mother myself, I find these numbers to be greatly exaggerated. 13.85 hours of childcare daily PLUS 8 hours of work outside the home is 21.85 hours. Impossible. For stay-at-home mothers of young children, 13.85 hours per day might be accurate – but not for working mothers whose kids are in school or day care. The time just isn’t there.

  6. RB says:

    Ok first off, I am not trying to belittle any mothers out there but reading this article it seems more about single moms? I do not see anything in here about a core family?