Home / Work & Childcare Articles / Do working parents find life harder now

Do working parents find life harder now

Do working parents find life harder now

Written by:

A YouGov poll conducted last year found that over half of parents (56%) think life is harder now than it was just 20 years ago.


High on the list of issues facing working parents is balancing work, childcare and home life. With more families than ever having two working parents childcare facilities and, often more importantly, the cost of decent childcare are fundamental in families’ lives. In previous generations, grandparents and other family members were often on hand to look after children. However, with people now having to work longer before retiring and others having to move away to find work, for many families, this is no longer an option.

House prices

It’s no secret that house prices have increased dramatically over the past couple of decades. This leaves couples that may previously have had one full-time or two part-time jobs between them forced into both going out to work full-time just to be able to afford the mortgage. And for those renting their home but hoping to get onto the property ladder, the prospect of saving up a deposit for their own home can put even more pressure on earnings.

Working hours

Forty years ago there was more of a ‘clock on, clock off’ attitude to working hours. The advent of new technology has meant that many of us are now expected to be contactable at almost any hour of the day. A culture of long hours also prevails throughout many industries, leaving families little time to spend together. However, previous generations did not benefit from flexible working, which can include job sharing, compressed hours or working from home to help create a healthy work/life balance.


Do working parents find life harder nowMobile phones and social media make it easier to keep in touch with kids during the working day. Whereas once you wouldn’t have any contact with your children between leaving for work and coming home, now you can text and message them to check they’re okay and find out what they’re up to. Internet banking and online grocery shopping also make life easier now by saving time and effort for more important tasks. Smartphones and tablets have made it possible to multi-task so working parents can take a conference call while at home with a sick child, for example.

Government policies

While family life has changed since the 80s and 90s, the YouGov poll for charity 4Children suggests that the government hasn’t quite caught up. Of those taking part in the survey, just over a quarter rated childcare services as being family friendly, while only 38% of respondents felt that GP surgeries were easy and hassle-free for families to use. The charity is urging whichever party wins the general election to ensure that all future policies are family friendly.

What do you think? Did previous generations of working parents have it easier or is it more difficult to be a working parent in the 21st century?







About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

View all posts by