An overwhelming majority of mothers in America (90%) saw the economy getting weaker even before the collapse on Wall Street, and more of them now (40%) feel stressed about their current family life than feel good about the way things are (33%), according to a study from the non-profit Marketing to Moms Coalition.
“The State of the American Mom 2008,” (pdf) report finds that stress levels were brewing among US moms before the recent financial crisis began, and have only gotten worse since national economic troubles intensified.
Among the findings, the number of mothers who admit to being stressed has risen, especially full-time working mothers and those with lower incomes. Stress also is on the rise for divorced moms (47%).
Stress Varies by Season
Overall, moms say the holidays are the most stressful time of year (40%), followed by summer when children aren’t in school (32%), back-to-school time (25%) and the end of the school year (6%).
Specific differences among moms:
- Self-employed moms (43%) and moms with more children at home say summer is the busiest time of year for them, as they juggle working and childcare on top of children’s summertime activities.
- African-American moms also say that summer is most stressful (34%) followed by back-to-school time (33%), and the holidays (28%).
Saving Time and Money
The majority of moms (75%) say they have been using leftovers more this year in an effort to save money, especially Caucasian moms (78%) and Hispanic moms (74%). In contrast, one in three African-American moms (31%) either doesn’t use left overs or uses them less now than in the past.
Many moms also are trying to find ways to do more one-stop shopping to save time and money, the survey found. Nearly two thirds (63%) of moms try to one-stop shop, especially those with children age two and under (69%). Other top ways moms try to save time and cut costs include making meals at home (63%), shopping and/or paying bills online (55%), enlisting children to help in household chores (46%), and shopping in bulk (45%).
What Matters Most to Moms
When asked to what are the most important issues on moms’ minds in 2008, collectively the respondents provided these responses, in rank order:
- Relationship/communication with their children
- Quality of education for their children
- Safety in the world for their children
- Drug use among their children’s peer group
- Cyber/online safety for their children
Parenting Expertise Increases
Despite rising stress, the survey found that more moms believe they are becoming experts in the art of parenting. When compared with 2007 results, more moms in 2008 identify themselves as “opinion leaders” and say they are likely to share information among their friends and family. This may be correlated to a boom in “mommy blogs” and mom-focused websites over the past year, the Coalition said.
“There’s no question that moms continue to have a growing list of concerns in this country,” said Michal Clements, founding member of the Marketing to Moms Coalition and partner of Incite to Action, the research firm that fielded the study. “The State of the American Mom Report shows that moms are feeling more overwhelmed and more concerned about their children vs. themselves. Moms are continuing to try to find ways to streamline and simplify their lives – now more than ever.”
About the research: The State of the American Mom Report surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,033 mothers with at least one child under age 18 in the household. Data was analyzed by employment status, household income and ethnicity, as well as number of children living at home.