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Stay-at-home mums the real unsung heroes

Media Release 29 August 2006

Stay-at-home mums the real unsung heroes

Families want the ability to have a parent at home to raise the children and be available for them, according to a study just released in NZ, and which is consistent with international research.

A Massey University study of 1300 people showed that only 2% of respondents approved of women working full-time when they had children under school age. Almost half believed that a pre-schooler suffered and family life suffered when the mother had a part-time job.

“This flies in the face of Government policies telling women to get back to work and put children in childcare”says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First. “The government is pouring money into pre-school education and childcare, and yet the stay-at-home mum is the unsung, unrewarded, hero to their family.”

The views of Kiwi parents are consistent with parents in other countries. Almost 80 percent of Canadians think it is better for their children to have one parent stay at home, according to a survey by the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada.

In the UK, the Office for National Statistics discovered that parents who work full-time spend just 19 minutes every day caring for their own children. A further 16 minutes is spent looking after their children as a "secondary activity", but this means that they are doing something else - such as the weekly supermarket shop - at the same time.

A survey of working mothers in the UK found that just six per cent wanted to work full-time.

“Family First calls on the government to give tax breaks and financial assistance to families who want to have a stay-at-home parent,” says Mr McCoskrie. “It is unfair that a pre-school can be paid for looking after a child, yet a parent who sacrifices potential income to raise their children full-time is financially penalised and made to feel guilty for not working. This is particularly true for a single parent.”

“Parents know what works in their family setting. It’s time the government listened.”


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