88% of moms aren't at their most stressed by the infamous "witching hour"
That mental (and physical) work-to-home transition from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. still rates hair-pullingly high for moms — but so do other times. We asked mothers what also makes 7 a.m. a morning rush, 2 p.m. a post-lunch push, and 4 p.m. a total grind.
"Holiday parties. Field trips. It's the afternoon school activities that stress me out because working full-time keeps me from participating."
—Denise, 47, a Bowling Green, Kentucky, mom of four
"My youngest is slow as molasses in the morning and constantly forgetting her violin, her backpack, her books...."
—Sascha, 41, an Allentown, Pennsylvania, mom of two
"In the late afternoon I'm scrambling to return phone calls, finish up files and rush out the door to pick up my kids."
—Teresa, 52, a Cupertino, California, mom of two
"I have a boss that often hands me a time-sensitive project at 4 p.m. on days when I'm on kid pickup duty. I get super stressed that I won't finish by 4:30, which is when I need to leave."
—Lesley, 45, a Huntley, Illinois, mom of one
The #1 thing that stresses moms out about their kids? Their behavior!
"My two youngest kids have sass dripping from their pores. I'm having a hard time learning to parent children with such strong personalities!"
—Michelle, 41, a Hallstead, Pennsylvania, mom of four
"My most stressful moments are the ones I know I cause, like when my kid has a meltdown because I dropped my bedtime vigilance the night before or got to the restaurant past the 'hangry' safety zone."
—Bari Nan, 41, a Park City, Utah, mom of two
"It's a perpetual struggle to get my child to listen and focus. Repeating myself stresses me out and often escalates to me yelling."
—Lisa, 46, a Summit, NJ, mom of one
"Procrastination with homework is a huge hassle. When my kids have a big project, I usually hear about it a few days before it's due. Then I wind up doing a lot of the work."
—Heather, 42, a Portland, Oregon, mom of four
"I'm always fighting to get my boys off their iPads. I remind them that we have a million games, toys, a trampoline ... but they're always glued to their devices."
—Jennifer, 41, a Twin Falls, Idaho, mom of three
Keeping up appearances: Nearly one woman in three (32%) felt pressure to make a good impression on other moms
"I fall victim to comparisons, especially when I see all the activities that other kids are in and other moms' weekends filled with constant activity. Sometimes I will come up with an activity for the family to do just so I can post it on Facebook."
—Laura, 41, a Frederick, Maryland, mom of two
"I worry that other moms judge me as a person by how my child acts. So I have higher expectations of my kids than I should and I tend to hover."
—Deborah, 42, a Portland, Oregon, mom of two
But 68% don't let that stress get to them
"Maybe it's because I'm older than most of them, but I'm not concerned with whether or not other moms think I'm doing a good job. I know I need to do what's right for my family."
—Noelle, 44, a Tallahassee mom of four
"After three kids, I have learned the lesson not to get dragged into judging or being judged. It's not worth my time or energy."
—Jessica, 42, a Durham, North Carolina, mom of three