Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Stay-at-home mums becoming a thing of the past - Times Online

Stay-at-home mums becoming a thing of the past - Times Online

Any time I feel hacked off with work, I remember how lucky we are that Hayley can stay at home and be a full-time Mum.

Stay-at-home mums becoming a thing of the past
Joanna Sugden

More mothers are returning to work than at any time in the last 15 years because of the escalating cost of living, research indicates.

The pressures of inflation and the Government's incentives to get women back into work mean that stay-at-home mums are becoming a rarity with one in three women returning to work before their child's second birthday, the survey suggests.

The number of women in Britain becoming full-time mothers has fallen 24 per cent from 2.7 million in 1993 to just 2.04 million in 2008. That figure is set to drop below the two million mark by 2010 according to the joint YouGov and uSwitch research.

Given the choice, most mothers would prefer to look after their children themselves the survey found. Seventy five per cent of women said if money were no object, they would stay at home to care for their children, but in the current economic climate they do not have that luxury. Parents said they would need an average household income of £31,731 for one partner to be the full-time carer, but with the average wage for men and women nationally far lower than that mothers are forced to return to work earlier than they would like after giving birth.

One in three parents thinks their child would have a better quality of life if they looked after them full time but the survey also found that a third of children under two years of age come from families where both parents work.

The research indicates increasing childcare and living costs have created a vicious circle where parents cannot afford to remain at home but also struggle to pay fees for nurseries which can cost as much as £8,000 per child.

Labour have introduced a raft of measures to get mothers back in to employment and the welfare reform programme announced in the latest Budget aims to get 300,000 single parents back to work. But the Government is under pressure from popular Conservatives policies such as tax breaks for married couples to help mothers stay at home and the right to flexible working hours for all parents with children under 18.

Labour launched a review of the right to request flexible work last year which could see parents of children as old as 18 being given the right to work part-time, work from home or work flexitime.

Maria Miller, Shadow Minister for Families, said the Government had lost touch with what families need.

"The increase in childcare costs which this report unveils is worrying for parents dealing with the rising cost of living. The Government's complicated tax credits make it hard for parents to get the support they need with childcare."

The survey sought responses from 2198 adults of whom 1391 were parents.


Hayley said...

Lets not forget I am a stay at home mum who looks after other children too :-) So one can have the best of both worlds.

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