IT sounds like a ‘to-do’ list from hell: 4,155 hours 49 minutes shopping for food, 1,787 hours 45 minutes doing the ironing...

And yet this is the amount of time the average mum in Dorset spends on some household chores during the course of her lifetime.

The full extent to which she is at the beck and call of her family was revealed following a detailed study into the lives of 2,000 mothers.

Researchers found that mums can expect to put in around 27,250 hours in their lifetime shopping, cooking and carrying out chores.

A third of their waking lives – round 1,135 days or five and a half years – is solely devoted to bringing up children, it emerged.

Shopping takes up the bulk of that time with the average mum, followed by cooking, baking and preparing breakfasts, lunches and dinners with mums spending 2,180 hours and 52 minutes or more than 90 days in the kitchen.

Julie Browning of Bournemouth said she wasn’t surprised by the findings: “Everyone knows that mums are the backbone of the family unit but when you see how much time we spend running around after everyone it does put in into perspective.”

Andrew Kendall, Marketing and Buying Director of milk&more who commissioned the survey said: “If mums were paid the national average wage it would be £360 a week or £346,960 over their lifetime.”

Katie Jones, 44, who gave up a career as a lawyer to look after her three daughters in Poole, said she was happy to be a full-time housewife.

“I never think about my chores in terms of their monetary value – I do it for love – although it doesn’t hurt for people to be reminded of a mother’s worth once in a while.”

Three quarters of the mums surveyed also revealed that they would like a few more hours in the day to get everything done, with one in ten saying they find themselves cleaning and paying bills well into the night.

But Fiona Sutherland, a Poole-based life coach for Great Transformations, said there are ways to make life easier.

“Mums may feel they have no choice – yet people always have more choice than they first imagine – they just need to start by examining their thinking and habits.

“The first step to change is to pause for breath. Get away from the mad rush and your usual environment – even if it’s just for ten minutes.

“You have to be able to step outside your situation before you can change it.

“Remember a few times in the past when you felt great, felt empowered that you can make things happen. Then ask yourself which activities drain your energy most? “Which do you enjoy most? What are truly valuable activities and which have become a habit or way of doing things? What could be done differently?

“Ask yourself who’s life is it? And if you are brave enough, ask yourself if you are setting a good example to your children of someone who truly values herself?”

Schedule of chores

1. Food shopping – 4,155 hours 49 minutes

2. Cooking – 3,603 hours and 36 minutes

3. Tidying – 2,620 hours 48 minutes

4. Washing – 2,442 hours 57 minutes

5. Washing Up - 2,180 hours and 42 minutes

6. Ironing – 1,787 hours 45 minutes

7. School Run – 1,740 hours 57 minutes

8. Cleaning the oven – 1,694 hours 9 minutes

9. Helping with homework – 1,544 24 minutes

10. Cleaning the bathroom – 1,506 hours 57 minutes

11 Appointments – 1,432 hours 4 minutes

12. Running kids to afterschool clubs – 1,301 hours 2 minutes

13. Paying bills and sorting repairs – 1,240 hours 12 minutes