Figures out show that there are now nearly 1/3 of mothers in full time employment as against under ¼ in 1996, according to the office for National Statistics.

Overall, 66pc of mothers are in some form of work, either part or full-time.

ONS statistician Jamie Jenkins said: “Over 15 years the proportion of mothers working part-time hasn’t changed much but the number of full-timers has risen markedly, which is what’s driving the increase in working mothers.”

He added the more women were starting to have babies later on in life, in their mid-thirties, meaning they were generally on higher salaries and were less inclined to stop working full-time after childbirth.

Brendan Barber, general secretary of the TUC, said: “The rising proportion of mothers in work over the last 15 years is a ringing endorsement of family-friendly working practices such as better parental leave and pay, and the right to request flexible working.

The number of working mothers is about 5.3m, up from 4.5m in 1996.

I would dearly love to believe that everything Brendan Barber says is true – and perhaps in a few cases it is.

However, my experience – drawn from 15 years in recruitment (about the time Brendan quotes as the highest rise in working Mums) – is that the REALITY of why more women with children are working full time is that you need 2 full time salaries to afford to have children these days.

Family friendly policies may have helped these women get into / stay in full time employment but they are ABSOLUTELY NOT the reason that mothers are working full time. Some choose to – but given a realistic financial choice – I know of many many more that would spend more time at home.

What do you think ?

I would be very interested in any comments from anyone who has children and maybe not quite so interested in comments from anyone who doesn’t :-)

(No offence intended but when I think back to my beliefs about children and working before I had any – I realise that I had no idea what I was talking about!!)