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Irish mothers want more 'me' time

While survey shows that 8 out of 10 women believe their partner is their greatest support in childcare, many say they get less than one hour a day to themselves.

Juggling act? Mothers surveyed said they had little time left for themselves
Juggling act? Mothers surveyed said they had little time left for themselves
Image: Evil Erin via Flickr

FOUR OUT OF ten Irish mothers have less than an hour a day to themselves, according to a new survey.

‘The Changing Face of Motherhood’ – commissioned by Proctor and Gamble – found that mothers believed that flexible working hours would improve their quality of life.

Dr Betty Hilliard, UCD Professor of Sociology, said that the report reflects the “complexity of parenting today”. While 80 per cent of the women surveyed cited their partner as their greatest support in childrearing, 40 per cent agreed that they also relied on their own mother for help with the grandchildren.

Dr Hilliard said:

In line with other research, the study highlights the continuing importance of intergenerational bonds in that for most mothers, especially those in the younger age groups, their own mothers were the most commonly cited source of support after husbands/partners.

And while 56 per cent of the women surveyed said that they believed their partners now take on more of the household chores than they would have in their own mother’s era, they still felt that they had less time to spend with their children than their own mothers had with them when they were young. Three-quarters of those surveyed felt this way.

The pressures of work and of providing children with “activities and constant supervision” when they were at home with them led 40 per cent of the respondents to say they had less than an hour ‘me time’ in a day.

With Mother’s Day coming up, it is timely to highlight that only two-fifths of those surveyed felt that their partner thanked them regularly for “the work they do as a mum”. In good news for panicking partners, 36 per cent of mothers believe that gifts and cards were not required to express gratitude – “a simple thank you suffices”.

Probably best not to mention that bit to Paul Nathanson and Katherine Young, authors of a series of books on the position of men in modern society, which their first book, Legalising Misandry, claims “is now focused explicitly on the needs and problems of females”. Nathanson wrote this piece for the Ottawa Citizen on the “thankless job” being carried out by fathers in a society which “seems hell-bent on undermining the culture of fatherhood”.

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