Moms feel overwhelmed by responsibilities: poll

NEW YORK Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:54pm EDT

A woman lifts her son on Pensacola Beach, REUTERS/Colin Hackley

A woman lifts her son on Pensacola Beach,

Credit: Reuters/Colin Hackley

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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Many U.S. mothers feel like single parents, whether they are married or not, and two out of three resent handling all the household chores even when they prefer their partners to stand aside, a new survey shows.

The study by ForbesWoman and the pregnancy website TheBump.com found that 92 percent of working moms and 89 percent of stay-at-home mothers felt overwhelmed by work, home and parenting responsibilities.

"Moms have an innate aspiration to do it all and a secret desire to be superwoman," said Carley Roney, editor in chief of TheBump.com.

Seventy percent of working moms and 68 percent of stay-at-home mothers questioned in the poll of more than 1,200 women said they feel resentful toward their partner because of all they have to do.

"It's not just that women can't ask for help; they don't want to," said Meghan Casserly, a reporter for ForbesWoman. "She feels it's damaging her sense of motherhood to ask for help. And it's causing resentment."

Nearly 30 percent of working mothers said they do the bulk of the household chores and 31 percent said they are responsible for all of the parenting.

Much of this self-inflicted grief is encouraged by media images of a super working mom who looks glamorous while cooking, washing, babysitting and holding down a full-time job.

"Moms identify with these tasks. They make them feel like a mother. She wants to be the best parent with the best kids in the nicest house and look beautiful while she does it," Casserly said.

But in reality, "she'll burn out and head toward relationship disaster," she added.

Mothers handle most of the parenting and household work, yet 79 percent of working moms and 71 percent of stay-at-home moms said their partners are equally responsible for discipline.

About 84 percent of stay-at-home moms don't get a break from parenting after their partner comes home, even though 97 percent of respondents say they need at least an occasional time out from parenting.

In fact, 50 percent of stay-at-home moms said they never receive a "time out" from parenting, while 96 percent said their partner manages to get a "time out."

To clear up their resentment, which could lead to further problems, Casserly said women need to have an honest conversation with their partners about housework.

"It might take some swallowing of their pride. Open communication is the first step to divvying up those chores and warding off any resentment," she said.

Details of the survey are available on (www.forbeswoman.com) and thebump.com.

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