Clocking up the mum-hours, Three reveals the reality of modern motherhood.

  • Mums work over 70 hours a week on family activities
  • Mums would earn £37,000 a year if paid for their time
  • Cleaning the house takes up the biggest share of mums’ time

Mums across the UK spend an average of ten hours (612 minutes) a day carrying out household tasks and conducting family activities, according to research by mobile network Three*. Proving the saying that a mother’s work is never done, cleaning, cooking, tidying and doing the family laundry take up the biggest share of busy mums’ time – taking them up to a 71 hour week meaning they are working longer hours than a junior doctor.

The nationwide audit of 3,000 mums proves that modern motherhood is a full time job in itself, and would be worth £37,000 a year if paid**. With mums exceeding the traditional 48 hour working week by 23 hours, the majority of mums (83 per cent) are now left with less than an hour of ‘me time’ a day and a third (33 per cent) now get less than six hours sleep a night.

Minutes spent carrying out household and family activities each day:



Cleaning the house

69 minutes


69 minutes

Tidying the house

63 minutes


61 minutes

Morning family routine

55 minutes

Bed time family routine

53 minutes

Helping children with homework

47 minutes

Washing up dishes

42 minutes

Food shopping

42 minutes

Driving children to clubs and activities

41 minutes

School run

37 minutes


33 minutes

Only 16 per cent of mums claim to be happy with their current lifestyle and over a third (38 per cent) would like just one extra hour of ‘me time’ a day to make them happy.

To help busy mums claw back time for themselves Three has launched a campaign showing them the benefits of having internet on the go, as research shows that mums can save 135 hours a year by having mobile internet while out and about. Common activities that mums would do on the move include online banking (27 per cent), keeping up-to-date with emails (63 per cent), shopping online (27 per cent), and looking for recipes (14 per cent).

Mobile internet on smartphones helps keep mums connected and gives them the freedom to be online for both work and play, wherever they are, and at a time most convenient to them. With Three’s all-you-can-eat data they can now do this without worrying about the cost.

Sylvia Chind from Three explained: “We’ve really tried to get under the skin of modern motherhood through this study. We now know that 28 per cent of mums now spend at least an hour online every day. While they are often carrying out vital family admin online, we know from the research that mums could do this while out and about rather than allocating a time to sit down at their computer.

“We hope that by showing mums how easy it is to get started on a smartphone, we can really help the UK’s busy mums claw back some much-needed time for themselves.”

Notes to Editors

*Research was carried out by OnePoll in March 2011 for Three. The research was carried out amongst 3,000 mums with children under 16 years old in the UK.

**Annual salary is calculated by working out the total cost of employing third party services to carry out the mums’ household tasks e.g. paying for a cleaner, paying for laundry service, paying for a nanny etc.

Three offers all-you-can-eat data on both The One Plan and Pay As You Go packages, allowing customers to download the latest apps and music, use maps, view videos, update Facebook and Twitter, shop around for the best bargains and loads more without worrying about the cost of internet use.

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