As Halloween fast approaches and moms the world over finalize their children’s costumes, what if we turn the tables? What if we consider the “mom” costume? In our Truth about Moms study, the tension faced by mothers to represent a traditional vision of motherhood versus staying true to themselves came up time and time again. Indeed, half of moms globally agree “I am a mom but I don’t necessarily want to look like one” with this rising to 61% in India. It seems that today’s mothers are looking to shed outdated associations with being a mom and present themselves to the world in a far more honest way.
No longer is the costume of the perfect family homemaker appropriate. Globally, 65% of moms agree there is no such thing as a supermom. The rejection of Stepford Wife-like ideals has not only changed how moms present themselves but the very relationships they have with their children. Seventy-one percent of moms globally want “their children to know the real me” even if this means they reveal the mistakes they’ve made. Whereas before, parents hoped to raise children by perfect example, nowadays, authenticity is prized above pristine perfection.
This warts ’n’ all approach highlights a very different role for motherhood. It heralds a shift from moms being seen as a gate-keeper to moms as game-changers. Moms are bringing their children up in a very different way from times of old. Sixty-one percent of moms globally want their children to think of them as a friend, and this rises an impressive in emerging markets with 87% in China and 86% in Brazil. It appears that shedding the traditional homemaker costume not only affects how we now perceive motherhood but it also fundamentally changes the structure of family life. If mothers and children are now developing relationships more akin to that of friends, we are looking at a far flatter hierarchy within families. Children now have significantly more influence over decisions made for the family.
In essence, in shedding the mom costume, it is not only mothers who have been empowered, but the children also. As marketers, how we engage moms around family decisions must take into account the influence of the child. This isn’t mere pester power, its about being mindful of a changed hierarchy within the family. Increasingly, parents provide the framework of values that influences consumption but kids drive brand and product choices. Brands that thrive will show a deep understanding of the new dynamics of influence within the all-new democratic family.