I’m not convinced the ongoing “mommy wars” conversation has benefitted moms (working or otherwise), or has pushed any new dialogue to the forefront. However, the conversation has definitely beamed a spotlight on one unanimous theme – moms feel pressure to make the best parenting decisions while juggling everything else. Research included in the March issue of Marketing to Women shows motherhood does induce anxiety, no matter how we slice it. Here are some supporting points:
- Only 14 percent of working moms think they are currently both a good mom and a good employee.
- More than half of working moms say others make them feel that they aren’t devoting enough time to their children.
- Almost half of stay-at-home moms say others make them feel like they aren’t pulling their financial weight.
- One in three working moms say their work performance declined after having a baby and they wished they were home with their children; almost half feel their overall happiness would increase if they weren’t working.
- Meanwhile, 19 percent of stay-at-home moms say their overall happiness would increase if they worked outside of the home.
- Nearly half of working moms and 34 percent of stay-at-home moms say their biggest sacrifice after becoming a mother is “me” time.
- The majority of working moms and stay-at-home moms feel that being able to stop working to raise children is a financial luxury.
This data gains context and becomes actionable for marketers when juxtaposed against the following:
- One woman in five is part of an emerging group who have no children of their own, but have special bonds with children in their lives.
- Women in this group spent $387 on average in the past year for each child with whom they have a relationship, and 76 percent spent more than $500 per child.
- More than four in 10 buy things for the children that their parents won’t or can’t.
- These 23 million women have an average age of 36. More than half of them are single and 34 percent have annual household incomes exceeding $50,000.
- Thirty-three percent say they give the children in their lives more expensive gifts than others give them.
Women helping women is no new phenomenon, but I’d guess that the recurring loop of “mommy war” discussions in the media have made an impression on all women, not limited to mothers. The conversations have certainly reached me, and I include myself in this category of women without children who spend money on the kids in their lives. Women like me have more time to scroll social media networks and news articles for the best products, tips and trends. We also typically have more expendable income from which we can siphon off a portion to give to the kids in our lives, spending money somewhat more “guilt-free” than moms who are managing additional household expenditures. Along with enjoying the process, we have an equally satisfying feeling that we are helping our fellow women manage and enjoy what we instinctively recognize as a challenging (and often overwhelming) journey.
With this theory in mind, marketers might use their resources to not only include but emphasize this emerging audience of women. This group may be more open to the messages and more willing to digest them, even if it’s for no other reason than they are not as mentally tapped from the barrage of anxiety-producing information reaching moms.