Melbourne, July 5 : Motherhood is not such a rosy experience for the majority of Aussie women, for according to a new research, less than 20 per cent of mums Down Under find parenthood a positive experience or are highly functioning at work and fulfilled at home.
According to Ibolya Losoncz from the Australian Government Department of Families and Community Services, the women in the 20 percent group tend to report the highest level of job control while working average office and domestic hours.
To better understand the work-family life experience, Losoncz has profiled mothers based on a variety of characteristics.
Speaking at the Australian Population Association's heath biennial conference in Alice Springs, Losoncz said she had identified six major groups.
She called the largest cluster of women - at 21 per cent of those surveyed - the Treading Water group.
"While they experience a considerable tension between work and family activities, they are coping," The Daily Telegraph quoted Losoncz, as saying.
The second largest group were the Highly Functioning and Fulfilled.
"On a family level, this cluster reported the lowest average working hours," Losoncz said.
"This cluster also reported the highest satisfaction with family relationships, division of household tasks and adequate level of support from others, as well as the highest physical and mental health scores," she added.
Guilty Copers - 17 per cent of working mothers - worried about what went on with their children while they were at work.
They also felt working left them with little energy to be the kind of parent they wanted to be.
"The two highly functioning clusters share the common characteristics of low combined paid and unpaid working hours, low average working hours per adults in the family and low stress at work," Losoncz said.
"Mothers in the Highly Functioning and Fulfilled cluster tend to hold non-traditional gender roles, which is reflected in their average hours in paid work," she added.
The fourth largest cluster - 16 per cent - managed the day-to-day impact of the work-life nexus well although they strongly disagreed with the idea that working made them a better a parent.
"These mothers may be indifferent to the working mother ideal, yet they are rather successful at it," Losoncz said.
Aspiring but struggling mothers made up 15 per cent and were the most likely to have two or more children under 15 years of age.
The remaining 13 per cent of mothers fell into the 'Indifferent and Struggling' category.
The two clusters of women who experienced strong work-family tensions were both characterised by long working hours, high work overload and a lack of support.