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Mothers’ ideals and experiences of raising children in inner and outer suburban Melbourne, Australia
journal contributionposted on 2018-01-01, 00:00 authored by Fiona AndrewsFiona Andrews, Julia Shelley, Stephanie Rich, Alexandra James
Parents’ perceptions of their neighbourhoods are important for child health outcomes. This study compared views among mothers in inner versus outer suburbs of Melbourne, Australia using a mixed methods approach. Mothers of preschool-aged children were recruited via playgroups, mother’s groups and preschools and interviewed face-to-face regarding their local area as a good place to raise a family, with a second open-ended interview focussing on mothers’ ideals and experiences of raising children in their current location. Findings demonstrated that mothers had different ideals for, and experiences of, raising their children in their neighbourhoods. Inner suburban mothers valued a manageable work/family balance and access to public transport over the size of their homes. However, access to childcare, secondary schooling and heavy traffic were issues, with the latter two being reasons for moving from the municipality. In contrast, outer suburban mothers preferred a larger home in neighbourhoods that they perceived as low crime, over accessibility to work. Access to a car and activities for their children were also important. Findings suggest no ‘one size fits all’ in respect to what features mothers expect from a good place to raise a family, or how they experience these features. This has implications for service delivery and social planning of suburbs.