Modern Motherhood: Attitudes of Australian mums of younger kids
“They wish they weren’t so afraid to go with their gut feelings.”
- December 19, 2016
- Neer Korn
Our latest study, Mums of Young Ones: Understanding Modern Motherhood looks at the attitudes, behaviour, stresses and joys of Australian mothers with young children. While much has changed when it comes to priorities and lifestyle, many things have not. Here are several of the many observations explored in the study:
1. Motherhood is women’s work
Although there is still a disparity of equality between the genders, set parenting roles are diminishing and equality has begun defining modern homes. So if dads are becoming more involved, and believe they are doing their share, then why are mums still feeling frustrated? The vast majority of mums we spoke to still considered parenting largely as ‘woman’s work’. Dads are stepping up to some extent, but across the board few mums’ experience equally shared parenting. Mums spoke keeping a running spread sheet in their heads of all the family’s needs. Men still don’t do that.
“I know which notices have to go back to school and when, I know when the stir fry cooking class is coming up at school and which dress up day it is next week because two a term isn’t enough, we have to have a third, I just know all these things.”
2. Guilt is innate to motherhood
Mothers aspire to not care, and can often recognise their misplaced guilt but being able to shake it off is another thing. The pressure to be the perfect mum seems intense, especially for first time mums. Letting go of these impossible expectations is liberating. It’s no surprise that mums loved the movie Bad Moms.
“It’s just all about the pressures of having to be a perfect mum and that it’s okay to be a bad mum, like, not do everything 100% all the time. So I quite enjoyed that, it’s okay to not be perfect.”
3. Online mothers’ groups are real communities
Real life mothers’ groups still exist but their form and objectives has just shifted radically. These groups now exist largely in the digital world. From highly active social media groups to influential female bloggers and online discussion boards – these digital playgrounds are now the intimate spaces where the minutia of mothering is explored, discussed and debated. The ideas and experiences of other women in similar circumstances, is credible and reassuring.
“Yesterday one person was asking for some tips to save time you know so people will just write in so I’m always scrolling, ‘Okay, I’ll use that, that’s a good idea.’ So yeah, I find them really helpful.”
4. Wish they relied on instinct
The study found that mums wish they just trusted themselves more. There’s too much advice and information out there, often espousing contradictory viewpoints. Making sense of it all can be exhausting. They know their kids, they want what’s best for them and so they wish they weren’t so afraid to go with their gut feelings.
“We’re constantly wanting the best but maybe getting really caught up in too much information and not going with our guts or whatever.”
5. Their greatest wish is time
The universal wish and ultimate luxury of Australian mums is for more time. Life is just too hectic and they simply can’t fit everything in properly. When asked to think of something practical that would improve their lives they came up with time saving devises that will better enable them to spend time with their kids and focus their attention on them. Mother’s also reported the lack of me time, time away for themselves. Any opportunity to recharge their batteries, even short ones like a cup of tea or getting their nails done, are deemed necessity. Their most common outlet is exercise, which is guilt free, and time alone
“I would love to have a housekeeper just to do the household chores and dinner or food prep so then I could spend some more quality time with my daughter as every time she wants to play or help with something I’m busy and I always say, ‘I’ll do it when I’m finished this.’”
Beyond the stresses of mothering and juggling their responsibilities mums are revelling in their child raising roles and the endless magic moment raising kids provides.Dec
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