Being a mom has always meant late-night feeds, getting up early to get the kids ready for school, and staying up late to pick up after your little ones.
But today’s moms have a lot more on their plate — which means more sleepless nights than ever before.
According to a study conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with Store Brand Infant Formula, moms are experiencing some of the most stressful years of their lives as they struggle to provide for their families in the midst of the pandemic.
The study spoke to 2,022 moms of children under two and discovered shocking truths about the reality of being a mother today.
62% of moms surveyed revealed that they had lost massive amounts of sleep throughout 2020. Adding up to an average of five sleepless nights a month, moms are losing out on entire workweeks of rest.
Moms are struggling to balance their mental health with their parental duties.
The survey revealed the top emotions felt this past year included stress, exhaustion, depression, anxiety, and isolation.
Moms often suffer in silence, not wanting their personal feelings to get in the way of being there for their children.
But with 68% of moms reporting that 2020 was the most stressful year of their lives, the long-term effects of these figures could be detrimental to families if mothers do not receive more support.
Financial concerns are also keeping moms up at night.
64% of moms told the survey that they had sacrificed a lot because of financial reasons, with nearly two in three cutting costs in other aspects of their budget from recreation to personal needs just to feed their family.
The pandemic and all that came with it have cut into many family’s savings or emergency funds. Mothers are finding it increasingly difficult to cope with this loss of savings as they fear more unexpected challenges could derail their financial situation further.
Tragically, nearly half of respondents say they don’t have enough money saved for an emergency — which has led to an increase in financial stress.
Moms, who are so often tasked with providing free labor for their families, are paying the ultimate price by sacrificing their own basic needs just to keep their family fed.
Three in 10 moms said the ability to afford enough food for the family was causing the most financial stress, and 30% revealed they have skipped meals so their children could eat.
Feeding children has become increasingly challenging for moms.
Even after skipping their own meals, mothers are finding it next to impossible to make food last from paycheck to paycheck, that’s if there is a paycheck coming at all.
Between their sleepless nights, mothers have been accessing resources from food banks to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) has become another vital lifeline for struggling mothers. In fact, 40% of moms surveyed applied for WIC or SNAP to help support their family within the last year.
But these benefits are not always enough to keep financial concerns at bay.
A staggering 88% of moms enrolled in WIC have revealed they often run out of infant formula before the end of the month.
This means moms have even more difficult compromises to make in order to stretch their food supplies.
52% of moms surveyed said they have been using extra water to dilute baby formula to save money and make expensive supplies last longer.
Diluting instant formula can have harmful adverse effects by preventing infants from receiving vital nutrients but mothers have to choose between taking this risk or running out of food completely.
These kinds of tough choices on add to the many burdens keeping mothers awake at night. Unless more vital financial and emotional support is given to mothers, these restless nights will multiply.
Alice Kelly is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Catch her covering all things social justice, news, and entertainment.