Less of a house-keeper, more of a rule-breaker

Research reveals the ‘eight emotional roles’ of mothers - and why mums wish they had more time to break the rules with their kids

New research conducted by Saatchi & Saatchi for Mumsnet has revealed the ‘eight emotional roles’ played by parents - and that mothers would love to spend more time on the fun, anarchic aspects of parenting.

At the moment, dads’ biggest emotional roles are ‘rule-breaker’ (with 58% of dads saying they regularly perform this role) and ‘playmate’ (51%), while mothers spend the most time in the roles of ‘carer’ (97%), ‘safehouse’ (93%) and ‘role model’ (93%).

Mums want to do more of the fun bits with their kids, but with 58% of mums saying that they perform all eight of the emotional roles entirely on their own, they just don’t have the time.

97% of mums say they spend some of their time in a ‘carer’ role, but only 27% say that their children’s dad performs this role at all. Rule-breaker is the emotional role that mums occupy the least (65%), while it’s the one that most dads (58%) undertake; 88% of mums say they'd like to perform this role more often. And 73% of mums say they sometimes act in the role of playmate (versus 51% of dads), but 90% would like to do more of it.

The new research takes a novel approach by splitting off the functional roles which occupy so much parental time, and which are usually emphasised in marketing campaigns. The research concentrates instead on the key emotional roles of motherhood, as defined by mothers themselves: carer, safehouse, playmate, friend, role model, coach, audience, and rule-breaker.

Richard Huntington, Chief Strategy Officer, Saatchi & Saatchi London Group, said:

"Marketers and advertisers are still stuck in the rut of seeing mums in the role of cook, cleaner and nurse - while dad has fun playing outside and getting messy with his kids. While it's true that most mothers still take on more parental responsibility than their partners, there is far more to their relationship with their children than most advertising recognises. We need to focus more on the fun and silliness of motherhood, and less on the drudgery, if we are to reflect the reality of modern mothers' aspirations." 

Justine Roberts, Mumsnet CEO said:

“Nobody becomes a mother so that she can brush up on the Highway Code or produce the ultimate tuna pasta bake. For all the hard practical work that it entails, parenthood is ultimately an emotional journey. This research provide a fascinating insight into mothers’ self-perception, and offer a whole new approach to marketing to this key group .’

Download the Research

Saatchi & Saatchi London hires Dan Treichel as Executive Creative Director


Saatchi & Saatchi London has appointed multi-award-winning creative, Dan Treichel, as its Executive Creative Director. Treichel is the creative mind behind many lauded campaigns, including the world-renowned“Climate Name Change”, which was the 7th most awarded campaign in the world in 2014. Reporting to Chief Creative Officer, Guillermo Vega, Treichel will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the creative department and for adding even more creative…

29th Saatchi & Saatchi New Creators Showcase presents the best new talent in directing and creating


This morning, the legendary Saatchi & Saatchi New Creators’ Showcase (NCS) enticed over 2,000 Cannes delegates to get out of bed and invited them to be inspired, educated and entertained.   Taking place at the Lumière Théâtre at the 2019 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the show lasted 60 minutes and presented the very best, groundbreaking directorial talent from across…

Saatchi & Saatchi wins gold at DMA awards


On Tuesday 11 December, Saatchi & Saatchi London and Direct Line won a Gold at the DMA Awards for a Direct Line campaign which used data to target hundreds of thousands of existing customers with completely personalised content.   The campaign saw personalised films being served to Direct Line home insurance customers when they were around a month outside of their renewal date and showed them exactly…

Direct Line Fixer Listed in Campaign's 10 Most Effective Celebrity Campaigns


Saatchi & Saatchi London’s “Fixer” campaign for Direct Line, has been included in Campaign Magazine’s Top 10 Most Effective Celebrity Campaigns. The idea for The Fixer was born in 2013, out of research that told Direct Line that when things go wrong, people want an insurance provider who will get the problem fixed as quickly as possible. To fix the…

Guillermo Vega joins Saatchi & Saatchi London as Chief Creative Officer


Saatchi & Saatchi London has hired Guillermo Vega, the former ECD of 72andSunny New York, as its Chief Creative Officer. Joining on October 1, Vega will lead the agency’s creative department and build on its existing creative success. His appointment completes the Saatchi & Saatchi London management team, alongside Sam Hawkey (Chief Operating Officer), Richard Huntington (Chief Strategy Officer) and…

Betway appoints Saatchi & Saatchi as Lead Creative Agency


Today, Betway, the online betting, casino and sports company, has appointed Saatchi & Saatchi London as their new lead creative agency. Saatchi & Saatchi will work towards a major global campaign launch and regional roll out in 2019, supporting Betway’s growth into new markets worldwide. The creative work will be rolled out across the UK, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Belgium and…

This Fan Girl


This week we heard from Amy Drucquer, founder of This Fan Girl. This Fan Girl is an online community dedicated to providing female football fans with a friendly and inclusive environment to watch football and create a sense of community to nurture a shared love of the sport. Amy is a lifelong fan of Leicester City Football Club. During their…

Publicis Groupe Sprintathon 2018


Publicis Groupe united on Thursday 26th July at Parliament Hills Athletics track to break the record for the world’s fastest marathon. On a sweltering 36C afternoon, over 150 Publicis Groupe employees ran 100m sprints in a relay, and finished the 26 miles in 1 hour 53 minutes and 20 seconds, breaking the record for the third fastest marathon ever. The…

Saatchi & Saatchi London wins Webby Award for 'Magenta Unleashed'


Saatchi & Saatchi London has won a Webby award in the Digital Campaign category for their ‘Magenta Unleashed’ Campaign for Deutsche Telekom. The Webby awards honour the best creative work on the internet, across seven different media types: Websites, Film & Video, Advertising, Media & PR, Social, Mobile Sites & Apps, Games, and Podcasts & Digital Audio. Each category comprises…

Saatchi & Saatchi London unveils leadership line-up


Saatchi & Saatchi London has promoted Sam Hawkey and Larissa Vince to the roles of chief operating officer and managing director respectively. Sam, who has been promoted from managing director, will lead the agency’s vision and direction, and have responsibility for its commercial performance. Larissa has been promoted from chief growth officer, and will continue to lead growth and new…