Almost 40% of Italian mothers believe that having children is a daily struggle, according to a new report by the Doxa research institute on Monday.
Busting the stereotype of the Mediterranean mother who believes having children is the most important experience of her life, 39% of women interviewed for the report said they had reservations about motherhood.
The greatest cause for concern was the responsibility of bringing children up 'well', with 16% of women admitting to feeling stressed, especially those who had a degree or high school diploma and lived in southern Italy, Sardinia or Sicily.
A further 11% felt they did not receive enough support and assistance from the state or other institutions, unlike mothers in northern European countries.
Around 8% felt lingering dissatisfaction about their failure to reconcile motherhood with the world of work after having to choose between the two.
Some 5% said they felt their partner or husband was not doing enough in his role as father.
Published ahead of national Mothers' Day on Sunday, the report also attempted to present a new 'identikit' Italian mother who is affectionate, open, and a friend to her children - a far cry from the anxious, overprotective stereotype.
According to Doxa, in many cases mothers in Italy are much like the 'yummy mummies' in America and the UK - women who are dedicated to their families but also look after themselves and take care in their appearances.
But even if Italian mothers have changed, Italian children remain the same.
According to a study by the Italian Institute for Social Medicine last year, Italians continue to have problems leaving the family nest and 45% between the ages of 30 and 35 still live at home.
The study found that parents were in part responsible for their children remaining eternal Peter Pans, with only 18%, especially mothers, believing offspring should leave home once they turn legal age.
However, even when children do marry and leave home they do not go far.
Almost half of the new couples surveyed in the study go to live within a kilometer of the home of the parents of either the husband or wife.