Mom2020: The Modern Mom


Mom2020: The Modern Mom

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This is part 1 of Mom2020, an exploration into what makes the moms of America tick. Click here to view the rest of the articles in this series, or click here to download the full report from Suzy.

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Quick, picture a “mom” in your head – don’t think too hard, just do it!

Now, consider the mental image that you just conjured up. Odds are that if it wasn’t your own mother, it was an amalgam of the sort of mainstream stereotypes that many of us know from TV shows and commercials, of women driving their kids to soccer practice or cleaning their already-spotless kitchens. 

As Dr. Kathleen Kendall-Tackett noted in her book, The Hidden Feelings of Motherhood, this timeworn trope of the stay-at-home mom has loomed large over most of our nation’s history,  from the mid-19th century to the “golden era” of 1950s sitcoms and beyond. Sometimes, she’s been upheld as the moral center of American society; other times, she’s portrayed as overbearing. She can even seem too perfect, causing a lot of real-life moms to feel anxious about how their own parenting skills measure up to the examples set by June Cleaver or Carol Brady.

One thing’s for sure, though – it’s not the ‘50s anymore, and while there are still plenty of full-time housewives out there, a lot of moms are doing much more outside the home. 

How do we know? Because Suzy™ asked them, that’s how. 

What we learned

Earlier this summer, we reached out to over 2,500 moms from our consumer panel (keep checking back to the Suzy™ blog for more information on who we targeted and how we got our results, by the way!) to gauge what their day-to-day workflow is like. 

We found that on the whole, only 39% of the women we polled said that they consider themselves to be full-time stay-at-home moms. In contrast, the majority of moms (52%) also work a full-time or part-time job outside of the home, in addition to maintaining their household. 

Meanwhile, only 6% percent of moms said their partners are full-time home managers.

Q. Which of the following best describes your current home/work experience?


This lines up with similar data published by the U.S. Department of Labor in 2017, which says that moms are now the primary or sole breadwinners for 40% of households with children under 18, up from 11% in 1960. 

When you break down the results by age, it gets a lot more interesting. Across every age range but one, moms were more likely to say that they work a full-time or part-time job. The sole exception? Younger moms between the ages of 18-24, 52% of whom said they stay at home. 

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Now comes the dreaded question that no career woman ever wants to hear: If all these moms (and their partners, presumably) are working outside the home, who is taking care of the kids? You’d probably assume that the “extra” income from a two-income household would allow for more options as far as paid childcare is concerned, but our results seem to suggest something else.

When we retargeted 2,700 consumers and asked them to select all the childcare options they use on a consistent basis, a whopping 70% said that they regularly get help from family members or relatives. In comparison, only 17% say they rely on babysitters, and only 15% use a daycare service.  

Q. Who takes care of your child/children under 18 years old when you are your husband/partner are not available? (Select all that apply)


These results would seem to suggest that there’s a growing need for unpaid childcare support among modern moms, especially considering how many of those moms work outside the home.

Suzy Says

Looking for a way to connect with modern moms? Then lose the mindset that the typical mom’s life is in any way reflected by the stay-at-home stereotypes you grew up with. Today’s mom has a lot more going on, so much so that she would rather get unpaid help from family than spend money for a stranger to watch their kids. Make sure your creative strategy reflects this – and if it helps you market products to extended family members in addition to just moms, then all the better!

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There are a lot more valuable insights like this in our new 40+ page report, Mom2020: The Definitive Guide to the Modern Mom. Download for free today to learn more.

Meet Suzy

A consumer intelligence platform that helps you gather information on what your potential customers care about, so you can make the right decisions for your business, product, or service.

Suzy™ is a better, faster way to conduct market research at the click of a button – like having a focus group right in your pocket.

Victoria McNally