WORK-LIFE BALANCE / OCT. 24, 2013
version 4, draft 4

The Burden of Stay-at-Home Mothers

More than one in five stay-at-home mothers in the UK believe they would be earning more than their partner if they were to work. A survey conducted for Nutmeg Savings and Investment (www.nutmeg.com) by Opinium revealed  that 21% of mothers who give up work to raise their children are their family’s main earner, a status which they are not happy about because of the burden involved in leaving their jobs and becoming full-time mothers.

The number of stay-at-home mothers shrinks

Almost half of women in a relationship give up work or go part-time to raise children, while less than one in 12 men left or reduced work to become full-time fathers. The broader picture of stay-at-home mothers in the UK reveals that the number of women who look after the family or home fell to 2.06 million in the latest six-month period, according to the Office for National Statistics.  

On the other hand, the number of young women aged 25 to 34 who are “economically active” increased by 101,000 on a year earlier. Richard Clegg, an employment statistician at the ONS claimed that this trend might be linked to the Government’s welfare reforms, which have given incentives to women with children in that age group to seek paid employment. Interestingly, those mothers who decide to give up their career for family roles may have their tax credit paid, to help them return to work, but married or cohabiting mothers are not entitled to state benefits or tax breaks.

Full-time mothers susceptible to prejudice

Many experts highlighted that stay-at-home mothers who assume the entire responsibility of raising and providing for their children are facing a nasty backlash by those who consider them as lazy, stupid and unattractive. Dr. Aric Sigman argues that the prejudice and ridicule against stay-at-home mothers could be labeled as ‘motherism’ and can be treated as seriously as racism and sexism.

A thisismoney.co.uk article refers to a report which shows that the majority of British parents of all ages believe that ideally one parent should stay at home with the children. The report described the condition of the modern British family which appeared to be ‘struggling, tired, stressed and under pressure’.

The situation concerning the status of stay-at-home mothers in Britain sparks a lot of debate.  Can being a full-time mother – especially under the new government benefit reforms – still be a viable option? Should fathers sacrifice their career at the expense of brining up their child. How do you react to these questions? Please comment.

 

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