Stay-at-Home Vs. Working: Different Choices, Similar Challenges

Yesterday, actress Gwyneth Paltrow called for an end to the Mommy Wars. What she doesn’t realize is that most moms are one step ahead of her. Our new research shows that the battle between stay-at-home moms and working moms isn’t raging as fiercely as it once did. Moms today are showing more respect and empathy for each other’s choices.

Moms Show Each Other Respect

Despite their different lifestyles, stay-at-home moms and working moms have a mutual respect for one another and understand that all moms are trying to do what's best for their families. Stay-at-home and working moms also agree that they're facing many of the same challenges, namely managing finances (58%), finding time for themselves (55%), and keeping fit (55%). Stay-at-home moms may see themselves as better role models, but they're also “in awe” of working moms and how they manage to do it all (40%). Overall, stay-at-home moms and working moms are highly satisfied with their lives (81 vs. 80%) and confident in their parenting skills (78 vs. 76%), and both say they feel fulfilled (53 vs. 56%).



Both Choices Have Pros and Cons

Whether moms go to work or stay home, they both have their challenges. Seventy percent of working moms envy the time stay-at-home moms get to spend with their kids, which can lead to feelings of guilt. And 6 in 10 working moms would quit their jobs if it weren’t for the money. On the flip side, three-quarters of stay-at-home moms agree they have the best job, but half of them miss the adult interaction and wish they were at work. The majority of stay-at-home moms also envies working moms’ incomes. The stay-at-home moms we surveyed described themselves as loved, happy, and fulfilled, but they also experience loneliness, while working moms admitted they feel stretched and stressed.

We All Work Hard

The biggest source of continuing friction among stay-at-home and working moms is the question of who works harder and who is a better mother. Forty-three percent of working moms think they work harder than their counterparts, while nearly 40% of stay-at-home moms feel they do. In fact, nearly all stay-at-home moms (90%) believe others underestimate their work – and they may be right. Fifty-six percent of working moms admitted to thinking that stay-at-home moms have more free time, and 74% said stay-at-home moms have more flexibility. Additionally, stay-at-home moms feel they're more likely to have a happy family than a working mom, while working moms think they're more appreciated by their spouses because they work.

How Marketers Can Appreciate All Moms

While their day-to-day challenges may be different, working moms and stay-at-home moms are more similar than we might think. Both groups are often judged for their lifestyle, and yet they feel similarly confident in their approach and satisfied with the results. Marketers who want to connect with these women should remember that all moms are striving for the same thing: a good life for their family. Demonstrate that you support their choices, respect their values, and understand how hard it is for moms – all moms – to balance the complicated demands of life.

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