9th March 2021

The Value Of Mothers

Mother's Day (or Mothering Sunday) is celebrated in the UK this Sunday, 14 March. The average stay at home mother puts in 94.7 hours per week with jobs such as cleaning, shopping, cooking, preparing meals, dressing, homework and running the kids around.

According to the ONS people do unpaid work in the home to the equivalent of 56% of the UK’s gross domestic product, which values all of the paid work in the UK. The value of unpaid chores has grown faster than the size of the economy over the past decade because the costs of paid childcare have risen faster than inflation, making it worth more when done at home.

Caring responsibilities do not stop with children or with mothers.  In 2015/16, the DWP reported that 33% of all adult informal carers were in full-time employment. Women providing informal care were much more likely to be in part-time employment than men.

According to the modern families index only 1 in 5  families say they have got the right balance between time with family and having enough income to see their family thrive.

Availability and affordability of childcare remain major issues for working families, especially for those parents who work atypical or irregular hours:

  • 41% of parents are using grandparental care, making it the most common type of non-parental childcare.
  • When childcare arrangements break down, traditional gender roles resurface -  it is twice as acceptable for women to take time off work for childcare as it is for men.

What can employers do?

Greater availability of flexible working will not support parents’ work-life balance if employers continue to rely on extra discretionary effort from employees to get the job done. The challenge for organisations is to think more carefully about job design and what roles really require i.e what can be done in the hours available.  Consideration as to what can be done flexibly as well as practical ways to support employees with caring responsibilities such as offering access to emergency childcare will all help. Getting it right will help deliver social as well as business objectives.

Growth in “mums doing it for themselves”!

The "mum economy" - the businesses run by mothers with children aged 18 or under - is growing at an unprecedented rate in the UK. The most popular business sectors for entrepreneurial mothers range from retail to entertainment to management consultancy to care home management.  These entrepreneurial businesswomen are building impressive companies, creating both wealth and jobs while also fulfilling one of the most demanding roles of all – being a mother.