How much time do mums spend running around after their children?

Mother's Day gifts

How much time do mums spend running around after their children?

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, a recent survey commissioned by Next has sought to find out exactly how much mums do for their children – from ferrying them to and from birthday parties to taking time off work to care for them when they’re sick.

The retailer surveyed 2,000 UK mums, asking them to put numbers on how much time and energy they dedicate to their kids in a multitude of ways. 

The survey found that on top of school events (like parents' evenings and plays) and acting as a live-in chauffeur, mums spend 112 days of their kids' childhoods watching them take part in sports and hobbies. 

When tallying up the time spent across spectating, school events and looking after their ill/hurt kids, it equates to the average mum spending 577 hours (over three weeks) a year running around after her kids.

On top of this, she will take her child to six birthday parties a year, which works out to one birthday party every other month (the equivalent of 78 parties in her child’s lifetime). 

Emma Willis, TV personality and presenter, acknowledges that she owes her mum lots of things – both as a child and as an adult: “My life firstly as she gave birth to me. I think I owe her my zest for life –it’s very similar to hers. And the biggest thing is the hours of childcare that she’s given me for the past nine years. She just does it [without question], I know I can just pick up the phone and she’ll say, ‘Yes I’ll be there.’”

If these survey findings tell us anything, it’s that mums deserve a little bit of TLC this Mother’s Day – 31st March. 

The importance of ‘me time’ this Mother’s Day

All this running around to extracurricular activities, parents’ evenings and penalty shootouts mean that 78% of mums feel they get less than an hour to themselves each day, with 10% saying they get none at all!

But taking time out for oneself is vital. Sue Frogley, CEO of Publicis Media UK, comments on the importance of “me time”: “It is striking how little time we allow for ourselves. ‘Me time’ is so important, and we should not feel guilty about it; we need to carve out that time like we would with any other commitment.”

On Mother’s Day, it’s all about you. You’re free to shape the day’s schedule any way you please, immune to the chorus of ‘I’m bored’ (which, according to the survey, mums hear an average of 12 times a month!). 

There’s nothing wrong with a bit of ‘me time’. For many mums, this might be as simple as catching up on that series everybody is talking about or going on a spa day, long walk or shopping splurge. 

Mums give time, money and much more… 

According to the survey, the average mum receives five drawings a year to stick on the fridge door - that’s 65 pieces over the course of a childhood. (Interestingly, mums in Wales come out on top for most drawings received from their kids each year - almost five and a half in total!)

Mums themselves are very generous by nature too. They will gift their children 38 presents every year (on average) across birthdays and Christmas – and this is on top of the countless pennies and pounds spent on other things relating to their children, such as teachers’ leaving presents, school trip fees, and leavers’ hoodies to name a few. 

Along with drawings, the average mum receives only two boxes of chocolates and two bunches of flowers each year from her tiny tearaways – so it seems the ‘gifting traffic’ is certainly more heavily weighted in one direction. 

But all mums should ask themselves – when was the last time you treated yourself to something? Mother’s Day is a nice excuse to venture out to the shops and treat yourself to something you’ve had your eye on for a while.  

And despite the fact a whopping 35% of mums don’t receive any flowers at all during the year, that doesn’t mean you should go without. Flowers can instantly bring warmth and beauty to any home. They can brighten up hallways, make living rooms more vibrant and are a popular talking point for guests, so make sure you treat yourself to a nice floral arrangement this Mother’s Day. 

Given the amount of running around mothers seem to do (whether that’s to birthday parties, parents’ evenings or sports matches) make sure you award yourself some ‘me time’ this Mother’s Day and take some time out to appreciate all you do for your family.  

Poppy Watt