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Kiwi Mums Feel Isolated, Guilty - Survey

March 28, 2012

Kiwi Mums Feel Isolated, Guilty - Survey

Kiwi mums feel isolated; guilty about the amount of time they spend with their children, and are forced to take 'time out' to "maintain their sanity" according to a new study*.

The independent survey, which investigated mums' attitudes to raising children, was commissioned by Proctor & Gamble (P&G) and released today as part of its Proud Sponsor of Mums campaign.

More than half (52%) of New Zealand mums, surveyed in the P&G Changing Face of Motherhood Survey, said they felt some degree of guilt about their work life balance and the amount of time they dedicated to their children.

Three quarters of Kiwi mothers (75%) said they have days where they feel isolated and were raising children by themselves, while more than one in ten (13%) admitted they felt isolated all of the time.

When it came to compensating kids for parental absences, more than half (51%) of New Zealand mothers, said it was important to spend time together filled with positive experiences. More than one third (36%) agreed they took regular outings and holiday's and just over one in ten (13%) said they compensated by buying their children gifts and treats.

Despite all the technological innovations available to us to make modern life easier, Kiwi mums say they are worse off than their own parents. Nearly half (45%) of New Zealand mums believe they have less or significantly less time today than their mothers at the same life-stage.

Sixty three percent of female respondents said the pressure of work and having a job to go to was the biggest reason for having less time. This was followed in equal second place with the pressure to be an active, 'hands on' mum and a child having more extracurricular activities, with four out of 10 (40%) mums saying this was the case.

Mums admitted taking 'time out' from the kids was important with more than half (56%) saying they needed it to 'maintain their sanity'; fifty two percent said they also needed to spend quality time with their partner. Nearly half (47%) of New Zealand mothers also agreed they need some simple 'me-time'.

Psychologist Sara Chatwin says modern mums are bearing the strain of the 'she'll be right mentality' that has permeated NZ society, which often leaves mothers feeling alone, unsupported and exhausted.

Mums these days have many hats to wear; mother, worker, wife/partner, the list goes on, says Chatwin.

"There are so many pressures associated with melding all these tasks together and doing them well. Societal expectations also seem to create pressures for mothers to offer children all the options and again this can present 'challenges to achieve' on a daily basis!"

The study showed that with modern life came modern safety concerns and this say Kiwi mothers has been an additional pressure on their time with nearly a quarter (23%) of those surveyed saying children had less freedom and required more supervision.

An increasing amount of homework was also mentioned as a factor in determining how much free time a mother has; with nearly a fifth (18%) saying more homework and children needing assistance with it was a factor.

Overwhelmingly when it came to home help it was a woman's husband or partner who assisted most with childcare, with more than six out of 10 (62%) citing this to be the case.

A quarter of Kiwi mums said their mother also helped and just over one in 10 said they didn't get any help at all, ten percent agreed they also utilised their children's siblings to help with childcare.

"This survey is a valuable resource to a company like P&G in helping it to identify and create products which make mothers lives easier," says Chatwin.

P&G spokesperson Alicia Gorken says the Proud Sponsor of Mums campaign aims to recognise the significant and ongoing role our mothers play in our lives.

The P&G Changing Face of Motherhood survey, released as part of this campaign, shows more than ever how much our mothers do for us on a daily basis, she says.

"Through the countless sacrifices they are loving nurturers and selfless providers and motivators as well as chauffeurs and doers of laundry and dishes," says Gorken.

"P&G has helped mums for over 170 years, and will continue its quest to serve mums, helping them to care for their families, every step of the way," she says.

Gorken says the company's products are designed to make everyday tasks a little easier and more enjoyable and P&G aims to support mums all over the world every day in small but meaningful ways.

*The monthly Perceptive Omnibus surveys 1,000 New Zealanders online using a nationwide sampling framework, the results are then weighted to Statistics New Zealand census gender, age and location data.


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