Burned out on Mothers Day

Mother’s Day comes once a year, but being a mother is an every-day job. It’s no surprise that 34 percent of full-time working mothers told a Mother’s Day survey they feel burned out. That’s surely a big understatement.

“Working moms report struggling to find work/life balance as they take on additional hours and second jobs in tough financial times,” according to the survey by CareerBuilder, an employment agency. It found:

* 30 percent are working longer hours because of layoffs at their company. * 43 percent work more than 40 hours a week. * 16 percent bring work home at least two days each week. * 14 percent have added a second job to make ends meet. * 25 percent have missed two or more important events in their child's life in the past year.

“Increased workloads are impacting the quantity and quality of time spent with their families,” the survey says.

The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that in the U.S. today, more than half of mothers with young children work, for career satisfaction but also because they and their families need the income. Many married working women have husbands who earn less than $30,000 a year. More than one-fourth of all children live in single-parent homes, with their mothers providing most of their support.

“For the children in many of these families being raised by one or two parents, the alternative to a working mother is poverty,” the pediatricians’ group says.

Yet, with the overall unemployment rate the highest in a quarter-century, the jobless rate for women head of households — mostly single parents — is soaring.

CareerBuilder suggests taking a pay cut is an acceptable tradeoff for women to have more time with their families, and recommends, “Talk to your manager.” We don’t think so.

Motherhood may be the most Hallmark-card-sentiment-heaped status in our country, at least on one day in May, but motherhood is not supported where it counts: in the workplace and in our society.

National, governmental action is needed to guarantee: pay equity; universal, affordable, high-quality child care; paid sick days; public schools with “wraparound” afterschool and summer programs; a lot more union workplaces (Employee Free Choice); and good, well-paid jobs — to name a few.