Cigna study uncovers struggles and vitality of working moms
The Connecticut Senate passed a bill designed to expand the state’s paid sick leave. Its fate in the House is uncertain. But a new study by health insurer Cigna in Bloomfield finds working moms need all the support they can get.
The study looked at housing, prescription medications and the ability to pay bills.
“Then there were also questions about work-life balance, feeling like [if] they had adequate time to manage everything,” said Dr. Stuart Lustig from Cigna. “Working moms with kids are being asked to do more in their lives than working moms who do not have kids.”
Lustig said the findings are not “rocket science.” But investing in caregiving benefits can help moms focus on work.
The study also found working moms reported high levels of health, energy, and strength — a combination Cigna researchers call “vitality.”
“Part of the vitality that they experienced, I think, is due to a greater sense of purpose that they reported compared to working women who do not have kids,” Lustig said. “So it's a nuanced picture — they're more vital, they’ve a greater sense of purpose in life, and yet they struggle a little bit to kind of keep it all together.”
Moms like Zuzana Kudernatschova, a physiotherapist in Hartford, feel seen and heard when studies like these come out.
She said moms lack support systems, especially immigrants like her with families living far away. She stopped working full time and switched to per diem work on weekends.
“When my firstborn was about a year [old], he went part time to daycare,” Kudernatschova said. “And my husband and I both worked full time. It was stressful; absolutely burned out. We realized that it was better for the whole family for me to stay home during the week.”
Kudernatschova said she and her husband did the math. They found that she’d have just $800 a month left from her salary, after paying for child care and preschool.
Cigna researchers said improving or implementing programs like paid sick leave, dependent care flexible spending accounts, stipends for child care expenses, and employee assistance programs, can help working moms.