According to new research from Marketing to Mums, mothers in Australia feel undervalued and unsupported by society, businesses and government. ‘The State of Motherhood in Australia’ survey of more than 400 mothers, largely Millennial mothers, found 63% believe society does not do a good job at understanding and supporting mothers.
“The expectation to still function as you use to, do all that you use to, be the same as you use to is insane and unrealistic. There’s no acknowledgement, support or understanding in most cases of women stepping into motherhood.”
The Maternal Wall is real
Mums in Australia are acutely aware that choosing to become a mother will likely limit their career progression and have significant detrimental impacts on their superannuation. Overwhelming, 83% felt that there were significant career trade-offs in becoming a mother. They want businesses to stop making assumptions about their ability and capacity to take on a bigger role which might require interstate travel or greater hours. They want greater acknowledgement, open discussion and to be treated on equal terms to dads and other colleagues in their workplace. They want more support from government too.
Deteriorating Mental Health
Mental health emerged as a key concern with 40% believe their mental health had deteriorated since becoming a mother. A sense of failure was fuelling this with 58% claiming they felt as though they were failing as a mother in their child’s first year of life. Mothers across the country are calling for less judgement, more affordable childcare, workplace reform which encourages the sharing of childcare responsibilities and parental leave, better preparation during the transition to motherhood and better access to subsidised mental health support services. Termed the Fourth Trimester, mothers would like to see greater focus on preparing for life after baby arrives and the importance of their own self-care in the transition to becoming a parent. They would also like to see employers and government bodies actively encouraging fathers to be taking leave to care for children.
Business owners and brands were not immune from criticism among mothers when it came to their mental health and wellbeing. Australian mothers are calling for brands to stop perpetuating stereotypes about being the ‘perfect mum’ which only fuels their guilt and is detrimental to their wellbeing. They want brands to better understand who they are and their needs and stop treating them as one homogeneous group. There exists an enormous opportunity for businesses and brands to better support expectant and new mothers in Australia which could have significant financial rewards.
What Australian mothers want more than anything in 2020 is for brands, government and the business community is to better support and value their contributions.
The full report is available at https://marketingtomums.com.au/motherhood-report/
Katrina is a Small Business First Champion. Find out more about Small Business First.