Motherhood is largely undervalued and unappreciated by society. For example, women are often faced with inadequate childcare support resources, breastfeeding mothers have limited options when seeking to nurse outside the home, there's unfair treatment in the workplace in the form of glass ceilings and other prejudices, and portrayals of moms in the media are often inaccurate or unfair. Perhaps most poignant of all, some have said that having a baby is the worst financial decision an American woman can make. How sad.
Granted, there has been progress, and I sense and hope that the scales will continue tipping toward better support of mothers. It won't happen quickly because the issues are engrained deeply in our culture, but progress will continue.
I see a movement of support that comes from many directions, with the newest and strongest collective force being mothers who are bloggers.
At the recent BlogHer '10 conference in New York City, women's activist Gloria Feldt challenged the female audience by saying, "We don't have to do everything. If we all do something, then we are making progress." She said that "blogging puts all voices at the same decibel level." The truth in those two statements can lead an inspired movement of moms, and non-moms, toward effecting change. Voices that once may have gone unheard are now gaining attention through blogging and other forms of social media.
This movement represents more than just an avenue of expression for moms. It is an opportunity for -- as well as a duty of -- American businesses to support mothers in a way that goes beyond simply trying to sell them products and services. If businesses support mothers, chances are mothers will buy from those businesses. Take Dove's Real Beauty campaign. It was not intended for social change, but it did have a social effect, and this impact led to new product sales.
An Internet search will reveal the thousands of mothers involved in social media. Many will warmly embrace a relationship with a business whose intent is to help elevate the role of motherhood.
Mothers have the most important role in our society -- raising children who one day will have the power to make a tremendous impact -- be it positive or negative. If businesses choose to support motherhood by embracing this group and trying to better understand them, the relationship has a win-win potential.
Companies can create products and services that are better tailored to meet the needs of these consumers. Moms, in turn, can reward these businesses by purchasing their products and services and recommending them through social media outlets and word of mouth. Mothers, together with their rising influence in social media, represent an opportunity on which all businesses should set their sights.