Archive for December 2008

Moms Research More

December 17, 2008

No surprise to those familiar with the mom market, but when it comes to holiday shopping, moms rely more on research than do women without kids, according to a recent study. BuzzBack Market Research and WPP’s Mindshare polled 350 adults, half women and half men, in the first few weeks of December and found that 61% of moms research holiday gifts, compared with only 48% of non-moms. Seventy-seven percent of women said they do most of the holiday shopping in their households, and 54% of holiday shoppers said the internet is critical to their shopping efforts and that they do the majority of their holiday shopping online.

No, No Nan-ny

December 17, 2008

As an increasing number of professional men and women lose their jobs or suffer major pay cuts, they are not only changing their buying habits, but also eliminating or cutting back on what was once the given support system for every respectable, time-pressed, multi-tasking, middle and upper-middle class working mom – the nanny/babysitter/caregiver.

 

While it’s easy to scoff at this “loss” – clearly, it’s insignificant when compared to, say, forfeiting a home to foreclosure, and many would consider having an ongoing caregiver an indulgence to begin with – it’s nonetheless a real example of how, at least in major cities such as New York and Los Angeles, the financial crisis is impacting social trends. When it comes to caregivers in particular – whether they are called nannies or babysitters – deciding to end a relationship is potentially fraught with pain on multiple sides: To the mom, a caregiver — especially one who has been with a child for a long time — is often like part of the family. The child is attached to her, the mother relies on her and, often, the caregiver herself has her own family to provide for. Guilt reigns supreme.

 

In the past, when a child outgrew the need for a full-time caregiver — I remember this well from when my son was younger – moms tried hard to find another position for their beloved babysitters, posting signs around the neighborhood, advertising in the local paper, spreading the word via friends. Today’s mothers are doing the same – but just as there are fewer jobs for professionals, there are now fewer professionals who are hiring caregivers in this economic climate.

 

Although it would seem that letting go of the caregiver is a logical step – after all, with time on their hands, an out-of-work mom or dad can pick up on the responsibilities they had initially delegated – the scenario is not really that clear cut. Who, after all, is going to watch the child as her mother tries to find another job or as dad redoubles efforts to replace clients that have left? And what about cases when the parents still have jobs, but their work hours and thus pay have been significantly reduced? Then what?

 

To make up the slack, parents are looking to relatives, moving to back-to-back shifts so that they can trade off child care duties, trying to work from home, taking their children to the office or otherwise engaging in sometimes elaborate and exhausting juggling acts. In the end, what will this all mean for the family dynamic?

 

Readers, what has been your experience? I invite your comments.

Out of the Mouths of Moms

December 8, 2008

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a terrific mom-blog presentation here in NYC, featuring a panel that included representatives of Mom Trends, Mom in the City, The Voice of Mom,  Savvy Mommy and Mom Central. The group discussed why they began blogging, the best and worst pitches they’ve received from publicists, and dos and don’ts for working with them most effectively. I’ve summarized some of their advice below:

 

  • Spell their names right. As obvious as this seems – and as ludicrous that someone might not do this – this is actually not the first time I’ve hear this very complaint.
  • Keep follow-up to a minimum – and don’t call. These are moms who are juggling blogging with raising their kids. They do NOT want you to call them while they’re changing diapers. The panelists’ consensus was that it’s OK to follow up once by email – but if there is no response after that, assume they’re not interested.
  • Don’t make sweeping assumptions. Savvy Mommy’s Victoria Pericon mentioned one pitch she received about how moms never wear high heels – and commented that she wears 3-5” heels all the time.
  • If you’re scheduling an event to which you want bloggers to bring their kids, don’t do it during school hours – another no-brainer that apparently some ignore.
  • Ask permission before sending product samples.
  • Pitching mom bloggers a product designed for kids the same age as their own is the best way to generate interest, but not the only way. Many bloggers have contributing reviewers whose children vary in age, or run blogs designed to cover a broad range of ages and product categories.
  • Don’t be dishonest. One panelist cited the example of a reader who posted about how wonderful a product was, presenting himself as a parent who used it – only to be revealed later as the inventor of the product.
  • Keep in mind that bloggers’ impact extends far beyond their own blogs – most of the moms on the panel write for other sites such as Babble or Babyzone, while others maintain a major audience through frequent TV appearances.