Mums in Wales spent more time seeking sanctuary in the bathroom during lockdown than any other UK nation according to a new study* by IntelligentCarLeasing.com, a leading UK car leasing company.
The smallest room in the house has become the go-to place for peace according to the 2000 mums involved in the study. More than a third (38%) admitted they spent more time in the bathroom than they needed to, in a bid to escape the challenges of life in lockdown.
According to IntelligentCarLeasing.com, 43% of mums in Wales** locked themselves in the bathroom for longer than normal – spending more time in there than their counterparts in Northern Ireland (30%), Scotland (37%) and England (38%).
The bathroom also proved the most popular destination for working mums seeking solace (37%), over other choices of escapism such as pretending to be working (17%), pretending to run errands (15%) or going for a walk (3%).
The results reflect the measures taken by mums to find alone time, as many faced the hurdles of juggling their jobs with taking on the majority of childcare, parental care, home schooling and household chores.
The national study also looked at the wider impact of the pandemic on working mums, revealing that 39% felt their mental health had declined, with single mothers disproportionately affected (48%). Mums with jobs have also seen a worrying return of traditional gender stereotypes, with 44% facing a growing sense of inequality at home.
And as working mums juggle their job with life in lockdown, nearly half (46%) fear the resulting loss of visibility in the workplace could set equality back by decades. IntelligentCarLeasing.com says that 55% were working between 20 and 50 hours a week, with the average being 21 hours. One in five (19%) have also increased their working hours in lockdown.
In addition to their professional workload, two thirds of working mums across the UK have taken on more household chores than their partner (66%), and more childcare than their partner (62%). In fact, IntelligentCarLeasing.com has calculated that 86% of a working mother’s average week is spent helping others, whether that be working, supporting their family or doing chores.
Martin Brown, managing director of IntelligentCarLeasing.com said: “Lockdown life has been a challenge for everyone but working mums have faced unprecedented challenges. They simply lack time for themselves and this is having an impact on their mental health.
“Taking on most childcare and household chores whilst also holding down a job is hard under normal circumstances. In lockdown, working mums have proven just how resilient they are. But we cannot deny it has taken its toll.”
According to IntelligentCarLeasing.com, the effects of taking on extra roles at home resulted in a staggering 78% of mums having less than three hours of ‘me’ time per week, of which more than a third (34%) had no time for themselves at all.
Martin Brown continued: “The pandemic delivered a shift in lifestyles which millions have never experienced before – or ever will again. It brought out the best in many, whilst they faced some of their toughest times.
“This report has opened up a need to address the challenges that working mums have faced, to address the imbalance of responsibilities that they have endured and to ensure that equality remains a primary focus in the home as well as in the workplace.”