It's almost Mother's Day - the one day in the year dedicated to thanking the special women in our lives.
On Sunday, May 12, mothers across Australia will wake to breakfast in bed and heart-melting handmade cards.
While we shower them with appreciation and recognition on Mother's Day, it's important we don't forget every other day the countless hours of support and care they have given us over the years.
There are more than six million mothers in Australia and while they are all different, there are some similarities, as highlighted by figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
Becoming a mother
There were 309,142 births in 2017, with a total fertility rate (the number of children per 1,000 women aged 15 to 49) of 1.74 - the lowest rate since 2001.
Just over half those bundles of joy, 51.5 per cent, were boys - resulting in a sex ratio at birth of 106.2 male births per 100 female births - and there were 4468 sets of twins.
Australian women are having children later, with the median age now 31.3 years old compared with 27.7 years three decades ago.
Over the past 30 years, the fertility rate of women aged 35 to 39 has more than doubled and for women aged 40 to 44 it has tripled.
However in 2017, women aged 30-34 had the highest fertility rate (119.0 children per 1,000 women) a rise from 90.6 in 1987 while the fertility rate for women aged 25 to 29 was 89.5 in 2017, falling from 139.6 in 1987.
The Northern Territory recorded the highest total fertility rate with 1.91 babies per woman) closely followed by the Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia (both 1.83 babies per woman), while South Australia recorded the lowest rate (1.68 babies per woman).
Over the 10 years from 2007-16, May was the sixth most common month for births in Australia.
Over the same period, 12 May - the date for Mothers' Day in 2019 - ranked 159 out of 366 days.
Mothers with children younger than 12 work hard in all sorts of areas - 55 per cent are employees while 11 per cent manage their own businesses.
This reflects the increasing number of women who are business owner managers.
In 2006, 31 per cent of all business owner managers in Australia were female and 69 per cent were male.
By 2016, 33 per cent were female and 67 per cent were male.
Also, the number of female owner managers rose by 7.6 per cent (up to 504,838) between 2006 and 2016, while the corresponding male increase was just 0.3 per cent (up to 1,026,327).
The ABS's Gender Indicators, Australia September 2018 reveals that about 4 per cent of Australian mothers with children 12 and younger have more than one job, not counting their unpaid work.
The proportion of mothers in paid employment changes with age.
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Fifty-seven per cent of young mothers (those younger than 30) with children aged 12 and younger are not in the paid workforce, but for mothers aged 40 or older the proportion falls to just over 1 in 4 (25 per cent).
In families with children aged under six, mothers were more likely to work part-time with three in five employed mothers (61 per cent) working part-time compared to fewer than one in ten employed fathers (7.9 per cent).
The proportion of mothers who are working and have young children increases with the mother's level of education: 79 per cent of mothers with a bachelor degree or higher are employed compared with 53 per cent of mothers with qualifications below a certificate III.
Mothers make good use of working arrangements to look after their kids: in 2017, 52 per cent of mothers with children 12 and under used flexible work arrangements or worked part-time. Fourteen per cent worked from home, 5 per cent did shift work, and 1 per cent had job sharing arrangements to help them look after their kids.
Reading to children, or just by themselves
In their downtime, mothers are keen readers to their children.
Around 9 per cent of mothers with children under 12 had 200 or more children's books in the house but 99 per cent has at least one children's book.
Also, mothers are avid readers themselves with 35 per cent having 200 or more books in the house while a further 55 per cent had between 25 and 99 books.
And when they're not reading books, they're hitting the books - 10 per cent of Australian mothers with children under 12 are currently studying.
Couple families with children remained the most common type of Australian family in 2016 but the proportion has fallen from 54 per cent in 1991 to 45 per cent in 2016.
The proportion of single parent families has increased from 13 per cent in 1991 to 16 per cent in 2016.
More than 900,000 single parent families were counted in 2016 and over 80 per cent of single parents were women.
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