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Anxious About Money, Many Moms Don't Take Full Maternity Leave

Anxious About Money, Many Moms Don't Take Full Maternity Leave Credit: Pregnant belly image via Shutterstock

With women taking on greater financial responsibility to help support their families, a new study shows many new moms are wasting little time getting back to work after giving birth.

CareerBuilder'sannual study of working moms revealed that more than 25 percent of those surveyed who had a child in the last three years did not take the full maternity leave allowed by their company.  Forty percent were off work for no more than six weeks, with one in ten taking fewer than two weeks.

In addition to competitive work environments, the study points to increased financial pressures forcing new moms back to work. Nearly 40 percent of the women surveyed are the sole financial provider for their family.

"As more moms assume the sole or primary breadwinner role in their households, they're feeling increasingly torn between providing financial security for their families and having quality time at home," said Hope Gurion, chief development officer at CareerBuilder.

Moms report their new breadwinner status is pushing them to search for a satisfying work-life balance. A quarter of the working moms surveyed feel they have to choose between their children and being successful at their jobs, while 24 percent have missed at least three significant events in their children's lives in the last year due to work obligations.

[Is there a man shortage driving women to focus on their careers?]

With 30 percent of working moms able to spend fewer than two hours a day with their children, CareerBuilder offers several tips for finding a better work-life balance:

  • Have a Game Plan -- Talk to supervisors or HR departments about possible flexible work arrangements. Come to that conversation with a game plan on how the workload will be managed and responsibilities will be covered.
  • Get Organized -- Structure in a mom’s life will save them time, stress and mental energy. Keep one calendar for business and family commitments to avoid double booking. Set up a schedule for chores, homework, family activities and playtime.
  • Quality Over Quantity -- Make the most of personal time. When at home, it's all about the family. Wait until after the children go to bed before checking email or finishing up presentations.
  • Schedule "Me Time" -- Working moms need to take care of themselves. Put actual time on the calendar for an hour or more of doing something enjoyable, such as going to the gym, taking a walk or reading.

The study was based on surveys of 600 working mothers with children under the age of 18 who are living at home.

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance business and technology writer who has worked in public relations and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter. You can reach him at chadgbrooks@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.

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