Are Moms Who Work Part-Time the Happiest?

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The stay-at-home mom / working mom debate will probably continue to wage, but a new survey released today by TheBump.com and ForbesWoman.com gives us a glimpse into what moms of different employment statuses are really thinking and feeling. It suggests that many of those who work full-time and those who stay home full-time aren’t happy with their current roles.

982 women participated in the survey, and of them, 664 were working mothers. When asked if having a child affected their work performance, 34 percent admitted their work performance was slacking a bit and they wished they were home with baby instead of at work. In fact, 47 percent felt they would be happier if they didn’t have to work at all.

Unfortunately, the current economic situation makes staying at home impossible for many women. For working moms, 62 percent say financial circumstances were the reason they chose to return to work. In addition, 48 percent of the working moms and 33 percent of the stay-at-home moms said that being able to stop working is a financial luxury that many families can’t afford.

“Americans are facing more financial pressure than ever, and our survey reveals some troubling cracks in the facade of the have-it-all working mother,” says Meghan Casserly, ForbesWoman staff writer. “More than a third resent their partners for not earning enough to make it a possibility. This raises some significant questions for parents and the companies that hope to keep them in the workforce.”

Not only does the decision to work or not affect a mother’s mood (and her relationship with her spouse), but it also affects how they treat themselves. Both working moms and stay-at-home moms feel they sacrifice “me” time to fulfill their roles (34 percent and 58 percent, respectively). They also spend less money on themselves, with 34 percent of working moms and 53 percent of stay-at-home moms spending less than $50 on themselves a month. What happened to treating yourself?

“Personal spending and even full-time careers are taking a backseat to raising children and are ultimately having an effect on moms’ overall happiness,” says Carley Roney, editor in chief of TheBump.com. “This survey reveals that whether working or stay-at-home, moms are feeling pressure from their financial situation and partners to choose their role.”

With 25 percent of stay-at-home moms feeling that they’ve sacrificed their identity by being at home, and 43 percent of working moms saying they have been made to feel they don’t spend enough time with their children, we have to wonder, do part-time working moms have the best of both worlds? Working part time, a mom makes money to help her family’s financial security, gets to keep the non-mom side of her brain sharp, yet she also has plenty of time with the kids.

Are you a stay-at-home mom, a full-time working mom or a part-time working mom? What do you think is the best scenario?

Plus more from The Bump:

The Back-to-Work Guide for New Moms

The Truth About Being a Working Mom

What It’s Really Like to Be A Stay-at-Home Mom