With Mothering Sunday fast approaching on the 10th March I thought I would look at the topic of being a Mother and poise a few questions.
- What age are women having children these days?
- How many are working mothers, either full-time or part-time?
- Is motherhood a choice?
Being a Mother later in life
According to the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) more women than ever before are choosing to become mothers later in life.
In England and Wales the number of live births to mothers aged 40 and over has more than trebled from 9717 in 1990 to 29,350 in 2011.
In 2011, there were 723,913 live births in England and Wales compared with 706,140 in 1990 a rise of 2.5% and in 2007 690,013 a rise of 5.0%.
In 2011, 49% of all babies were born to mothers aged 30 and over. The mean age of a mother at childbirth is 29.7.
ONS has also stated that the gap in employment rates for women with and without children has narrowed over the last fifteen years, from 5.8% in 1996 to just 0.8% in the final quarter of 2010. In this same quarter, 66.5% of mothers were in work and 67.3% of women without a dependent child were in work.
Employment rates for mothers peak in the age group 35 to 49 and because of an ageing population, this age group made up a higher percentage of all mothers in the UK in 2010 compared with 1996. In addition, there are more mothers with pre-school children in this age group compared to 1996 with a clear indication that more mothers in this age group also contribute to the overall increase in employment for mothers.
Full-time working mothers have shown an increase of 2.9% from 26.1% to 29% by the final quarter of 2010. Whereas part-time working mothers have remained stable and ONS reported 37.4% of mothers worked part-time.
Is Motherhood a choice?
I thought I would share my personal thoughts and my story
Women in Business
Is it okay to be or not be a Mum, does society frown upon women who choose to be a Mum and subsequently make it difficult for women at work? Are you one of those bosses who thinks – I can’t employ that young women just in case she is at that stage in her life where she wants to be a Mum? Why is being a Mum so different in the workplace – surely a father plays a key part in the process.
But it has been seen in the past and in some places it is still seen that a woman’s place is in the home. Women are the great nurturers of society, they bring people together, and they ensure we are nourished in more ways than one. They have amazing organisational skills and are very creative and intuitive – yet businesses today are not entirely recognising the necessary need for women in the workplace, in senior management and on the boards of business.
Can we change this?
The answer of course is YES.
Can you be a Mum and a successful business woman – yes, can you just be a Mum – yes, can you just be a successful business woman – yes.
As a woman you can be whatever you choose to be and with the help of more women and men, society will eventually change.
So back to Mums…
What about the people who have no Mum?
Take a minute and think about the people in your circle who don’t have a Mum, a young person who had to find their own way in life, didn’t have the Mum to pick up the pieces when they failed their exams, achieved phenomenal success at school/college/university, or when their heart was first broken, when they didn’t get the job of their dreams, when they started their own business, when they got married etc etc etc…. Can you just for a second imagine what that feels like?
What about the people whose Mum has died?
Now this I can personally speak about as my Mother sadly died suddenly at the age of 66 (a mere babe) almost 4 years ago. I guess you ask what I feel today.
She came to me in my dreams last night and it was a simple reminder for me that she is always in my heart, the amazing memories I hold close by.
I am one of the lucky ones I am no longer saddened by the thought of her but inspired by the thought of her. She encouraged me to live my dream, do what I wanted in life and in a way I know part of her lived her life through me.
Others still deal with this sadness every day, it is and can be a lingering pain, some people mourn for the rest of their lives, we have choices but some people choose to stay there. It is imperative to not judge but to know that it is their journey and we must help guide them to the light and the positive side of live – keep smiling and remember wherever those Mums are now they are always your Mum and be grateful that you had the time to be with her.
Dads playing Mums
What about the Dads who have to be a Mum? This is a difficult one; it has reminded me of two men I know. One’s ex-partner had mental issues and sadly was no longer allowed to be a fully-fledged Mother involved in her daughter’s life, the daily things the child’s Dad had to attend to – cooking, cleaning, schooling, and yet still held down a job, re-training himself, finding childcare. This young child is now 16 and is an incredible young ambitious woman but this is testament to her Dad who makes sure he took on both roles as a Mum and as a Dad to encourage her in every way possible.
The second person who came to mind had two children, unfortunately he hadn’t realised that his wife had succumbed to drugs and after an arduous process she was put in jail. How do you tell your children this? He has had to rebuild his life, his children are entirely his life and yet again he has managed to find a job to facilitate the time he needs to be around his kids. His Mum has been a tremendous strength for him, a fantastic support and has encouraged him to be an amazing Mum and Dad in one.
Have you ever thought about this? How would you feel? A huge challenge.
Women who are not Mothers
What about the women who aren’t Mums? Are you one of these women? Do you feel society frowns upon you? Was this through choice? Did fate deal you this card? There are many many thoughts here and I guess some people make the assumption that all women are Mums in waiting but that is really not the case. Statistics in the UK show that women are having children later and later in life and there are more single women with no children than ever before. Why is this I hear you ask? I cannot comment for the whole of society but I can comment for myself.
I am not a Mum, but yes I thought I would be one, for me I guess it was important to feel that I was a family unit and my relationships in the past didn’t depict that for me. I have many nieces, nephews, friends with children and several god-children, I love children and I strongly believe we have to foster children’s needs in today’s society which is obsessed with money and materialism.
We need to make a change, remind them of the simple values and the importance of relationships, families, good manners, respect and most of all love for each other – no matter what race, creed or culture.
Being a God-Mother
Does being a God-Mother count? I hope so. When I took on the commitment of being a God-Mother I took it in its entirety. It is a huge responsibility, to help guide and be there for a young girl/boy when they need me. The times when they need someone to talk to, can’t talk to their Mum or Dad. For them it is the times when they want to just feel a little bit more special because at home they are just one of the family. This reminds me of a recent day out where I took my God-son and his younger brother (both under 11) to a local farm. We had an amazing day out, they had never ever been to a working farm before (they live in London) and the youngest was so inspired by the day that he decided he wanted to be a vet when he grows up.
So to sum up – A Mum always gives us unconditional love, is always there to pick up the pieces, guides us on our path and endeavours not to judge us but do spare a thought for all of those less fortunate or those like me who choose not to be a Mum and has also lost my Mum – all women are simply amazing.
Life is about choices and with the ONS statistics clearing showing us today that more and more mothers are having children later in life and choosing to work too. It is imperative to encourage today’s society to support these women not hinder them by putting a label on them.
Whether you are an individual or an employee think about how you can support the women in your lives or employment whether there are mothers or not!