Stay at home mums reject ‘housewife’ tag

Women hate the term ‘housewife’ and instead think that housework and household chores should be shared between family members equally, according to a new study for Mothercare.

Stay at home mums hate the term ‘housewife’ and feel that they are looked down upon for not working, according to a new study for Mothercare.

Researchers found they prefer to think of themselves as ‘stay at home mums’ and consider themselves to be responsible for raising children rather than running a house.

Their priorities are instead focused around their children, cooking them balanced meals, making sure they reach key developmental milestones in good time and are happy and well looked after.

Cleaning, washing, ironing and tidying instead are seen as responsibilities that both partners are equally responsible for.

The survey of 2,000 mums was commissioned by Mothercare to mark their 50th birthday.

Liz Day, Parenting Consultant for Mothercare, said: ”We have been caring for parents for 50 years and we have seen the role of parents change and develop through the decades.

”In the 1960’s it was quite normal to expect the mother to give up work and stay at home to bring up the children but lifestyles and technology have changed dramatically since then so the care of children and the household is now the responsibility of the whole family.

”Times have changed and clearly mothers feel there are now more modern and perhaps more descriptive names that fit their role. There is no doubt the role of a mum has changed with a more shared approach to chores.

”Perhaps it’s time the job title ‘housewife’ was changed. Mums thirty years ago would have loved to be a housewife but as times have moved on so has what a mum does.”

Nearly two thirds of women said they think the term ‘housewife’ has negative connotations and trivialises the role of a mum. A third say they think the term is insulting as it is so outdated. Many say they feel that other people look down on them for choosing to stay at home rather than work and nearly half say they think other people consider them ‘boring’ as a result.

Seven in ten think the role of a mum has changed a lot over the last 50 years and nearly half say the role is harder than they thought it would be. The key priority for mums is that their children are happy and that they are well looked after and nearly half say their partner expects them to do more than their share of the jobs because they aren’t  ‘at work’.

Liz Day added: ”It can be quite hard for mothers in society today for a number of reasons.

”Many mothers probably try to do too much sometimes, whether they are at home with the children, work part-time or full-time.   ‘

‘Although technology has developed in such a way that we now have many time saving gadgets, we still tend to try and fit too much into each day.  Yet the most important things that we can give to babies and children is love, attention and time, even if it means stopping every now and again, those few minutes can be incredibly meaningful.  It is best to steal these moments on and off throughout the day as the opportunity arises.”

Stay at home mums said that despite wanting to prioritise their children they often found themselves doing the bulk of the cleaning, washing, shopping and cooking. Seventy one per cent said they had to be careful with their finances with only one partner working, but a third said they hoped they would be in a position to stay at home until all of their children were at school.  

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