Household and care responsibilities a source of stress for more than half of mums: Study

Nearly half of all women do not have the time to look after their physical, mental and emotional well-being.
Nearly half of all women do not have the time to look after their physical, mental and emotional well-being.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Household responsibilities and having to care for family members are weighing on mothers, with slightly more than half of them, or 51 per cent, saying in a study that they feel stressed at times or find it very stressful and hard to cope.

However, the Ipsos study also found that a quarter of women who work from home are happy to carry out domestic chores. Only 8 per cent of women who did not work from home were happy to do their household duties.

And nearly half of all women do not have the time to look after their physical, mental and emotional well-being, compared with 32 per cent of men who feel the same way.

The study, a collaboration with United Women Singapore, a local non-profit organisation, was conducted online in November last year, covering 500 married Singaporeans who either have no children or whose youngest child is aged 18 or below.

Two in three parents agree that they are limited in the career that they can build or the jobs they can take because of child-caring responsibilities, more so among mums (64 per cent) than dads (58 per cent).

About nine in 10 Singaporeans agreed that household chores can be equally shared by husband and wife. However, on the main person responsible for carrying out house-cleaning tasks, 43 per cent of women say they are the one, but only 24 per cent of men think the women are.

Ms Georgette Tan, president of United Women Singapore, said in a statement on Thursday that education and advocacy are needed to relook gender roles and "de-feminise" household and caregiving responsibilities.

She said: "The recent changes in working patterns due to the pandemic have put the spotlight on the gender inequality that exists on the domestic front, and highlighted the value of women and their contribution to society."

Ipsos spokesman Melanie Ng said working from home provides working mums with added flexibility to juggle household responsibilities and work.

The study also found a gradual shift in attitude towards traditional gender roles between generations.

For instance, 55 per cent of women aged 34 and below say paying bills is a task fairly shared between spouses, compared with only 27 per cent of women between 35 and 44 who say the same.

Ms Ng said: "There could still be pressure from the extended family who belong to the older generation, to maintain these roles, but we are seeing a shift in attitudes between generations as perhaps women are given more opportunities to build their careers and men are increasingly supportive of that."