Mammies prefer hugs to presents


On Mother’s Day next Sunday the majority of Irish mammies would rather a genuine thank you from their nearest and dearest instead of gifts or cards according to a survey published today.

Proctor and Gamble asked 516 mothers from across Ireland about their attitudes to Mothers Day and motherhood and found that 70 per cent said a thank you or a hug from a loved one was all they needed to feel appreciated while 95 per cent claimed that cards or small gifts on Mother’s Day were not necessary.

The report was commissioned to explore the changing role of Irish mothers across different generations.

It examines the attitudes of mothers to raising children, their perceptions of how they are valued by society and contains an examination of how mother’s lives have changed with everything from product innovations and time-saving devices in the home to increasing paid employment.

When asked about life as a mother today versus their mother’s generation, three quarters said the previous generation were afforded more time to bring up their children with most saying the pressure of work and a career had taken them away from home.

To counterbalance to negative impact of work on their lives most cited the manner in which labour saving devices had improved the quality of their lives. Some 62 per cent agreed that such devices freed up their time when at home so they could spend more time with their children compared to previous generations.

According to the “Changing Face of Motherhood’ report, 40 per cent of mothers said they had less than an hour per day to themselves while 47 per cent agreed there was greater pressure to provide children with activities and constant supervision.

The report found that 56 per cent of respondents said partners were taking a greater role in maintaining the home and they were allowed “significantly more quality time with their children than would have been possible for their mother’s generation” although many expressed concern about the isolation they felt as mothers.

After partners, grandmothers provide the most support for Irish mothers with 40 per cent agreeing that their own supported them as they raise there children while nearly one in five said living closer to their own mothers was the single most important thing that would improve their quality of life as a mother.

The option of flexible working hours was also seen an aspect of life that would dramatically improve Irish mother’s quality of life.

UCD academic, Dr. Betty Hilliard assessed the report and said it “certainly reflects the complexity of parenting today. She said that on “the one hand, respondents feel highly valued by their families, yet on the other hand they feel isolated as mothers raising children, have little time to themselves and are frequently torn between the conflicting demands of paid employment and the high expectations which contemporary society has of parents, especially mothers.”

She said the study highlighted the “continuing importance of intergenerational bonds in that for most mothers, especially those in the younger age groups, their own mothers were the most commonly cited source of support after husbands/partners.”