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  Gamermomsclub.ning.com. “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 www.monstersandmonkeys.com, 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?