Working mums would rather stay at home

2004

More than half of working mothers would rather quit their jobs and stay at home with their children if they could afford it.

A study of 800 women for Prima Baby magazine also found that six out of ten mothers only went back to work because of financial commitments.

Even so, four out of ten said they had sacrificed holidays or their own clothing needs to fund the cost of childcare.

A mere 12 per cent of working mothers said they wanted to pursue a challenging career after having a baby.

The survey is the only latest to reveal the discontentment of working mothers. Last year, a survey of 2,000 women with young children by Mother & Baby magazine showed that two out of three would rather be full time mothers than return to work, findings that were echoed in seperate research carried out by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

The Prima Baby study, carried out in association with the Department for Trade and Industry's Work-Life Balance Campaign, also found that 17 per cent of mothers had asked for the right to work flexibly since the law was changed last April.

A further 37 per cent intended to ask to work flexibly in the future, with 72 per cent saying flexible working would influence their decision on whether to go back to work.

Last year's legislation also gave fathers the right to paid paternity leave, and the survey found that half of new fathers had taken or planned to take advantage of the leave.

Prima Baby editor Julia Goodwin said: "Things have got better since the introduction of new laws last April but there is still a long way to go.

"Too many mums feel forced back to work because they can't afford to stay at home, or want to work reasonable or flexible hours but can't afford the childcare."