08/03/2012 13:19 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Most British Mothers Feel Guilty About Going To Work

Mums are worn out and feel guilty and under-appreciated says survey PA

A survey of mothers has found the majority of us feel guilty about going out to work and not devoting enough time to our children.

The report, entitled the 'Changing Face of Motherhood,' found that around 88 per cent of British mothers - the third highest in Europe - feel they have got their work life balance wrong.

Around half blame the recession for making it harder to be a good mum, because of constant money worries, and having just a minuscule 26 minutes of 'me time' to themselves a day (whilst the European average is 48) adds to the pressure - although almost half of the mums questioned said they would prefer to spend any unexpected free time with their children rather than on their own.

The researchers polled over 11,500 working mothers in 13 Western European countries to see how they managed holding down a job while bringing up their families. A whopping 91 per cent of British mums said they felt isolated in their role.

Simon Bradley, director of the Social Issues Research Centre (SIRC) who undertook the research on behalf of Procter & Gamble to coincide with International Women's Day, said British women are hard on themselves when it comes to their perception of what make a good parent:


The report highlights how many mums are caught in a guilt trap where they feel guilty for not spending enough time with their children, and increasingly isolated as they try to balance work and family life. Compared with their European counterparts, UK mums are the hardest on themselves; questioning their parenting skills, while often feeling undervalued in their home.


The survey found that one in four UK mums felt taken for granted and were thanked less than once a month for looking after their families, with tasks like picking up clothes, tidying the bathroom and acting as an alarm clock being their top daily unnoticed tasks.

Most - 82 per cent - said a simple 'thank you' in recognition of all their work would be enough, rather than a card or flowers.

Speaking to some mums this morning, we found that the figures were an accurate reflection - even when we think we've got the balance right. Mum of one Claire told us that despite only returning to work two to three days a week, she still feels guilty sometimes about leaving her little boy, whilst working mum Sue lamented about no one noticing the stuff she constantly does around the house - even after putting in 12 hour working days!

"I even get grief for being tired and grumpy all the time," she told us, "Yet I come home to stuff lying around the house, nothing put away, mess... and so have to start working all over again!"

But not all the guilt was about going out to work - one mum told us she feels guilty for NOT feeling all that guilty about leaving her 19-month-old and enjoying her work.

What do you think? Do you feel guilty about going to work? Undervalued in the home?