Posted tagged ‘Mom Trends’

Dirty Little Secrets

April 6, 2009


This one’s for the moms.


Just caught Oprah’s segment on the dirty little secrets of motherhood – what nobody tells you, what moms don’t like about parenting, and what they do to cope. Moms talked about everything from barely getting a chance to shower to making full meals for their kids from snacks found in the car, to experiencing the trauma of buying their first minivan.  One of the speakers likened motherhood to a secret society whose details no one tells you because otherwise you wouldn’t join. Motherhood, they agreed, is overwhelming and 24/7 – no rest here for the weary.


Mothers admitted that they are hard on themselves, often because they are insecure about the choices they make. Despite the tremendous amount of advice on parenting offered by magazines and on the Internet, moms often feel totally on their own.


Said one, “I completely believed that I was the only woman in the history of time who did not have the maternal gene, and I thought I was completely alone.”


Said another, “I didn’t feel I had permission to talk about how hard motherhood really was.”


The conclusion of the show: Moms need to be honest and support each other.


Moms, agree/disagree? What has been your own experience? What did you not know? What would you tell other moms-to-be? 

Pink Slip (Baby) Blues

March 30, 2009

While the economy is slamming everyone without discrimination, there is one category of laid-off employee who may feel the pain more than others – the mother-to-be. While some women may view losing their jobs at this stage as a “blessing in disguise” – the unexpected opportunity to spend more time with their new baby – the last thing others want is to find themselves unemployed just as they are about to face major additional expenses in the form of hospital bills and a new mouth to feed – especially if their former company doesn’t allow them to carry over health insurance. If they’re single moms or if their spouses or significant others have also lost their positions, the scenario is even more dire.


Yesterday’s New York Times noted that there are no laws against dismissing a pregnant woman or a woman on maternity leave – as long as she is not being let go because she is pregnant or a new mom. Yet some laid-off women maintain that while “the economy” was cited as the reason for their departure, their pregnancy may have contributed.


For more, see “When the Stork Carries a Pink Slip.


Employers, have you had to let a pregnant staff member go? What issues did you face?


Moms – have any of you lost your job while pregnant? Did you feel there was any discrimination involved? Has your pregnancy made it more difficult to find another position?

Getting in the (Video) Game

March 27, 2009

Once the domain of the hardcore gamer – men in their 20s and 30s–multiplayer online gaming has a new target audience: children and their parents. According to yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, the new games, from companies such as Sony and Gazillion Entertainment, are the industry’s most recent effort to expand the audience for online videogames, which permit thousands of people to play at the same time over the Internet. The goal is to more than double the currently $5.4 billion market over the next five years.  Moms as a target – once a startling concept for videogame makers – today is not such a surprise: Women make up 40% of gamers, according to a 2008 study by the Entertainment Software Association. There are even websites such as “Girls who perfected their aim on Ataris have grown up to be gamer moms,” says Canada’s Globe & Mail.  “The majority of moms who play video games say they took up gaming to connect with their husbands and kids.”


Yet many moms and dads alike remain skeptical about their children’s safety when it comes to online games that let players talk with each other. The WSJ article notes that game developers are taking precautions to protect children by limiting chat sessions to predetermined phrases and other steps.


Videogame marketers, what are you doing to pursue the family audience? Moms, how do you feel about your children playing these games? Do you play videogames as well? Why?

Are You a Momshell?

March 25, 2009

Gone are the days when moms felt at home in spit-up-stained sweat pants.  Today it’s all about being a “momshell”—the new term for the growing post-natal herd of hot mamas.

 “It’s tough to pin down the exact origins of momshell, which began turning up on blogs, Facebook and Twitter with more frequency last fall,” according to last week’s Associated Press article. “The term and ‘yummy mummy,’ its equivalent in the UK and Australia, are meant as compliments, nods to moms who find time to take care of themselves while caring for their kids.”

“Now moms are expected to be gorgeous on top of everything else? It’s too much,” says Elayne Rapping, a professor of American Studies at the University at Buffalo, who specializes in media and pop culture. Not that long ago, just juggling work and family was difficult enough; now real moms need to look like the expensively maintained celebrity versions.

How do momshells do it?

“I’m not saying put yourself on top of the ‘to do’ list,” says Jessica Denay, mom, author of “The Hot Moms Handbook,” and founder of  the Hot Moms Club, which began as a small group of mom friends eight years ago and has now expanded to an Internet-based social network of  110,000-plus. “I’m saying put yourself on the list.”

This trend presents marketers with an opportunity to reach out to moms with products and services to help them look and feel their best. What have you done to help them achieve that? Moms, what would make you feel like a momshell—or do you already?


More Babies, Fewer Husbands

March 23, 2009

A record 4.3 million new babies were born in 2007, more than at any other time in history — including the post World War II Baby Boom, according to data released last week by the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That year also produced a record number of births to unwed mothers–nearly 40 percent.

More than three-quarters of those unmarried mothers were over age 20, a change compared to previous decades. In 1975, teenage mothers made up more than half of all nonmarital births.

For more details, visit this USA Today story.

Marketers, what products or services can you offer to help all those moms who are now raising kids on their own? Moms, what would you like companies to do to help make your lives a little easier?

Meet the Parents

March 9, 2009


There seems to be a social network for everything these days, especially when it comes to moms. With Facebook, Twitter, Café Mom and more, online connections are just a keystroke away.  


What if parents want to move beyond cyberspace? Across the country there are local clubs and groups sprouting everywhere. Whether it’s to network, socialize or make new friends, these groups are providing a way to connect.


Raising a little one is hard enough and searching out the perfect group can be time consuming. We recently stumbled upon the web site, which is essentially a match-making service that connects parents with other like-minded parents. Whether you are a mom-to-be looking to meet other soon-to-be moms or a current parent in search of some friendship, the site boasts that it will do all the research and fact-finding for you.


As the popularity of social media continues to grow, it’s also good to see real social circles expand as well. For the moms among our readers: Would you ever take advantage of a parental matchmaking service? Do you find it difficult to meet other moms in the real world?

Designer Babies

February 14, 2009


Is the era of the custom-made kid upon us?


According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, a Los Angeles fertility clinic claims it is on the verge of enabling parents-to-be not only to select the sex of their child but also to choose traits such as eye color, hair color and complexion.


The capability, according to the clinic, is based on a procedure called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD. The procedure has been in place since the 1990s to allow parents to avoid passing on life-threatening diseases to their children. The process: A 3-day old embryo is tested for a particular genetic disease and only embryos without that disease are implanted in a mother’s womb. The same technique may now be able to screen embryos for other physical traits – i.e., for cosmetic characteristics rather than medical concerns.


A recent New York University School of Medicine survey of nearly 1,000 people who sought genetic counseling found that a majority supported prenatal genetic testing for the elimination of certain serious diseases.  However, about 10% said they would want genetic testing for athletic ability, another 10% for improved height, and nearly 13% for superior intelligence.


Aryan Nation, here we come. I can’t decide whether I’m watching the History Channel or the Sci-Fi network.


Is choosing a child’s physical characteristics unethical – or is it merely the natural next step in a land where beauty (and cosmetic surgery) rules?

Daddy Dearest

February 9, 2009


Last week’s post talked about dads who don’t do their fair share of parenting. All that may change – may have to change — as more fathers find themselves at home because they’ve lost their jobs. With the January unemployment rate for men hitting 7.6%, couples not only have to deal with the psychological stress of a lay off, but may also have to reinvent the parenting paradigm.  A potential seismic shift awaits as a family’s tradition clashes with new needs and expectations.

Will men get as involved in parenting as mothers historically have, and, if so, how will dads feel about their new role — and how will moms react to giving up control? Are there certain components of parenting that dads will gladly adopt while ignoring others?  Will the family dynamic be altered forever? And, from a business perspective, will companies who have always targeted moms now include dads in their marketing?

What do you foresee happening as the employment crisis deepens?

Delinquent Dads

February 2, 2009


So much for the revolution. When it comes to dads sharing the parenting role with moms, according to a new study, the man in the family is just not pulling his weight. The result: supremely ticked off mothers.


That’s the conclusion of a survey of 1,000 moms by Parenting magazine, with results appearing late last week on

According to the article, “We love our husbands — but we’re mad that we spend more mental energy on the details of parenting. We’re mad that having children has turned our lives upside down much more than theirs. We’re mad that these guys, who can manage businesses or keep track of thousands of pieces of sports trivia, can be clueless when it comes to what our kids are eating and what supplies they need for school. And more than anything else, we’re mad that they get more time to themselves than we do.”

Some specifics:

•46% of moms get irate with their husbands once a week or more. About half describe their anger as intense but passing; 1 in 10 say it’s “deep and long-lasting.”

•44% are annoyed that fathers often don’t notice what needs to be done around the house or with the kids.

•40% are peeved that their husbands seem clueless about the best way to take care of kids.

•40% are mad that Dad can’t multitask.

•33% say their husbands aren’t shouldering equal responsibility and are less concerned than moms are about their children’s basic needs, like nutrition and clothing.

•Nearly one third of moms complain that parenthood has changed their lives more than their husbands’.

•31% say their husbands don’t help with the chores — in fact, they generate more.

The more kids moms have, the more intense their negative feelings.

Moms responding to the survey express annoyance that dads repeatedly forget to do simple or essential tasks — like keeping an eye on the kids while mom cooks or remembering to put the children’s mittens on. They resent that dads don’t help get the kids off to school in the morning, or that they leave their own dirty dishes in the sink even though the dishwasher is empty. To many moms, dads seem incapable of multitasking, while moms regularly handle several different projects at once. Moms dislike constantly being the ones responsible for all the daily details of family life, from making sure to buy fresh vegetables for the kids to getting the car repaired.  And most of all, they hate that dad seems able to find time for himself. The lack of time off is a major issue, especially for  moms with the most anger. Over 60 percent of the moms who get mad weekly — and almost three-quarters of those who are angry every day — feel this way.

For more details on the study, visit

Bringing Up Baby (at Work)

January 26, 2009


A recent New York Times article talked about a Manhattan mom who became pregnant while she was launching her own company, decided she would bring her baby to the office with her daily, and set up an on-premises playroom – exactly what I did 20 years ago when pregnant with my son, Evan. Reaction varied then as I’m sure it does now. To this day I remember one client – male – who came for a meeting and looked aghast upon learning that baby and babysitter alike were part of it (it was a small office). There were the many other clients who never knew their conference calls were being conducted while my little one was nursing. Evan came to work with me every day until he began to walk – and I realized he’d be better off running around the playground with other kids than shuttling from one desk to the next.


The Times article noted how more companies are allowing employees to bring their babies to work, and discussed the pros and cons. It pointed out that a child’s needs – and noise – could be highly distracting to his/her parent and other employees alike, and suggested that with baby underfoot it was impossible for parents to be completely devoted to either the child or the job. Experts suggest that companies that do allow parents to regularly bring children to the office establish specific written policies – e.g., the age or stage (crawling, walking) at which children are permitted in the space, and designated areas for changing diapers.


What do you think about a bring-your-baby-to-work policy – especially if you’re in the business of making baby/children’s products? What guidelines would be fair to both employer and employees – the parent and her co-workers alike?