Mothers' unpaid work at home is rarely recognised. But now researchers have worked out that hard-working mothers spend 70 hours a week doing the chores and looking after their families. They calculated that women should get a salary of £37,000 if they were paid the going rate for their domestic work.
A survey reveals that a typical mother puts in longer shifts than a junior doctor, spending more than ten hours a day cooking, cleaning up after the children, getting them ready for school or nursery and helping with homework.
A third of mothers get less than six hours' sleep at night, and 83% say they have less than an hour of 'me time' every day, according to the nationwide study of 3,000 mothers with at least one child under 16, carried out by mobile phone network Three.
Only one in six are happy with their lifestyle – although more than half reckon they would be content if they had just one more hour to themselves each day.
Cleaning the house and cooking are the biggest drains on mothers' time. They each take up one hour and nine minutes a day, on average. Tidying up after children takes another 63 minutes and doing the laundry 61 minutes.
On top of running the household, many women in the survey work full-time or part-time jobs.
The researchers calculated that the average mother could earn £37,000 if she was paid the going rate for chores.
Sylvia Chind, from Three, said: "The modern mum is under a huge amount of pressure to give their best in all areas of their lives and their contribution to society often goes unnoticed."