Swedish family magazine Familjeliv has conducted a major survey of Swedish mothers, and on Wednesday published their findings in a report entitled ”The Swedish mother 2010” (Sverige Mamman 2010).
Subjects addressed in the surveys, which were returned by some 9,000 mothers in Sweden, are divided into 100 questions covering seven subjects – family life, economy, food, shopping, school and childcare, car, public holidays.
Seven out of ten mums expressed a wish to be home more with their children, with younger mums keener on the idea than their elder counterparts, and slightly more than half of those with more than one child believed that more mums would like to be housewives if they had the chance.
Six out of ten mums felt that the division of responsibilities within the family had improved and that dads took a greater share of the burden than previously.
With regards to raising their children, one in ten mums classified themselves as ”curling parents” (also known as ”helicopter parents”), while more than half classified other parents in those terms. Curling parents were defined in the report as those who ”give lifts, help and support their children too much”.
With regards to the family finances, single mums expressed greater concern over making ends meet with 47 percent in that category ”constantly worried” over money. Around four in ten Swedish mums responded that they sometimes worried over the family economy.
Many Swedish mums revealed that they save regularly in order to create a financial reserve for their family or for holidays, pensions, and other costs. The report shows that couples saved an average of 2,848 kronor per month ($422), while single parents saved an average of 744 kronor.
Despite the apparently high level of average savings, four in ten mums responded that they would find it hard or impossible to come up with 10,000 kronor for an unforeseen expense.
Furthermore, more than 70 percent of the mums considered Swedish children to be spoilt with money and toys, with one mother of two quoted as saying that:
”It has happened that we have bought too many Christmas presents to our daughter. She didn’t have the energy to open all the packages. So we put some away and brought them back out for her birthday.”
Swedish mums reported that they were responsible for cooking food at home on six days of ten, with an average of 38 minutes per weekday spent on preparation.
Mums are furthermore generally happy with the food they serve their children, with many believing that the family eats healthier food than before children came along.
”Sure we eat healthier now that we did before, but sometimes we have to turn to readymade and pre-prepared meals. We always ate later before we had kids, now we have to have the food on the table by five, half six, and we don’t always have the time,” said mother of three, Villemo Linngård Oksanen.
The report details the favourite dishes of Swedish kids, with spaghetti and meat sauce coming out on top, followed by pancakes, meat balls, chicken and lasagne.
Sausage and chicken were cited as the foodstuffs which cause the most health concern among Swedish mums, while potatoes, pasta and rice cause the least concern for any adverse health risks.
Mums are reported to plan their shopping carefully, with 70 percent making shopping lists.
”I always use a list but despite that there are always a load of other things that creep into the basket. Therefore it works very well for me to shop online, because even if the goods are more expensive, it is cheaper in the long run as I only buy that which I need,” said mother of two, Natasja Blomberg.
Seven of ten mums claimed that they stood for the main responsibility for buying the weekly groceries, with most buying their food items in store and only 5 percent buying online. Children’s clothing and books were higher on the list of items which mums preferred to buy online.
Travel, cinema tickets and home electonics were other items commonly purchased online.
When it came to schools and daycare, Swedish mums are generally positive to what is on offer, with six of ten responding that they felt comfortable leaving their kids at pre-school.
The report shows that eight of ten mums are happy with children’s health clinics, while seven in ten are happy with the maternity care that they received.
When it came to choosing the family care, mums favoured a safe and functional set of wheels in preference to a sports car, with Volvo chosen by 31 percent of respondents, followed by Toyota (12 percent), BMW (10), Audi (9) and Saab (8).
In addition, 88 percent of mums replied that they own or had had access to a car on a daily basis.
Christmas was named as the favourite festive holiday, although also came in as the most stressful among Swedish mums. Birthdays were considered the most important for other family members to remember, while Valentine’s Day was the least important.
Familjeliv.se sent the survey to a random sample of 35,000 people in Sweden during the period June 10th and Aust 10th 2010. The sample was taken from the 118,000 members in the website’s membership register. Of the 10,000 surveys returned, 9,092 formed the basis for the report.