A survey on mothers conducted by the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM)'s has found that only 26 per cent mothers prefer full-time work.

The survey revealed that most mothers with children below the age of 17 prefer part-time work as they believe that spending more time with children was crucial to helping them lay a strong foundation in studies.

The findings of a study on “Women's preference towards work” by ASSOCHAM's Social Development Foundation in which 4,700 working parents from several metro cities and large townships including Delhi participated indicated that seven out of ten working mothers in the country said part-time work would be ideal for them and that most would opt for not working at all outside their homes.

A survey of at-home mothers with minor children showed that nearly 56 per cent of all at-home mothers said that not working at all outside the home is the ideal situation for them, according to ASSOCHAM secretary-general D S Rawat.

Twenty-six per cent of at-home mothers said their ideal situation would be full-time work outside the home.

Mothers with younger children (0 to 4 years) are less likely to prefer full-time work, the study concluded. Forty-eight per cent of mothers with younger children preferred part-time work, while 36 per cent preferred not working outside the home and 26 per cent preferred fulltime work. The study also noticed a decline in mothers who preferred full-time work amongst mothers with higher and lower education levels.

On the other side, 72 per cent fathers said the ideal situation for mothers is a part-time job.

The survey also highlights differences in the way working mothers and at-home mothers assess the job they are doing as parents.

Mothers working full-time give themselves slightly lower ratings as parents, on average, than do at-home mothers or mothers employed part-time.

Parents have also rated themselves on how good a job they are doing as parents on a scale from 0 to 10. Regardless of their employment status, most mothers tend to give themselves relatively high marks on this scale. However, the women who are hardest on themselves are full-time working moms.

Just 10 per cent of mothers working full-time give themselves the highest rating (10) as a parent; another 18 per cent place themselves at the next highest mark (9).

At-home mothers give themselves more kudos as parents; nearly 28 per cent gave themselves the highest mark (10).

Mr. Rawat said mothers see themselves in a better light, on average, than do fathers.