Ask working moms what they really want for Mother's Day and you might notice that chocolate, flowers or even a spa day don't always top the list.
Instead, many working moms say they crave something money can't buy: More time in the day.
"I don't even miss the time for myself," said Marisa Mauer, who works full time in staffing and has a 1-year-old son. "I would give anything to spend all day long with my son if I could."
Mauer, who lives in San Diego, enjoys her career and is realistic about the need to have two incomes to support her family. But she said she is constantly surprised by how quickly the few hours she gets with her young son vanish.
"It seems to be gone instantly," she said.
About 70 percent of moms with children under 18 do paid work, according to a recent Pew Research Center analysis of the most recent government data. Many also prefer it that way: The majority of working moms also told Pew in a 2013 survey that their ideal situation is to work full or part time outside the home.
And yet—as many moms said in interviews—the constant juggle to get everything done each day can be overwhelming, leaving them feeling like there just isn't enough time in the day to enjoy being a mom. Another Pew research survey released last year found that more than half of working moms have difficulty balancing work and home responsibilities.
"I had more ideas of these, like, wonderful picture-worthy moments," said Kelly Hofstra, 32, of San Diego, who works full-time in the tax division of a Fortune 500 company and has a 1-year-old son.
Hofstra said she too often feels like she and her husband are rushing to get out the door in the morning, or juggling to get bath, dinner and play time in with a young child who can often be tired and grumpy.
Even though the time isn't always joyful, what Hofstra said she really wants is a clone who could go to work—and maybe the gym—for her while she got a bit more parenting time.
"The juggling act is not as fun, (but in) a lot of ways parenting in general is better than I thought it would be," she said.
Many working moms say their days rush along so quickly that they find themselves wishing for those unplanned moments when everything else can be put aside.
"I would love some 'stolen time' with my little guy during the week," said Courtney Stockberger.
Stockberger, 29, who lives outside St. Louis, said she was unprepared for how hard it would be for her and her husband to make it through the busy days of getting ready in the morning, getting their son to child care, picking him up in the evening and trying to find a little family time before he goes to bed.
"It hit me like a ton of bricks," she said of the transition back to work.