Commentary

Beyond Babies: Daily Digital Routines Of Moms With Older Kids

Ask any mom, and she’ll tell you: The first year of motherhood is chaotic. Every time you think you’ve settled into a routine, your baby decides to throw it all out the window. Nap times shift, eating habits evolve, and developmental milestones rocket past. The only thing you can predict about the first year is that your routine will change — routinely.

Things do settle down eventually, of course, and once the first year is over, Mom’s new life begins to take shape. Whether she goes back to work full- or part-time, or decides to stay at home, she develops a new pattern of habits organized around the realities of motherhood. We wanted to learn more about those patterns, especially as they relate to Mom’s consumption of digital media. So we conducted a study of mothers with children 1 to 5 years old, looking for insights into their daily digital routines.

Early Morning Check-In

Moms do a quick check of email first thing in the morning, scanning for compelling promotions from their favorite retailers. Email is also how they get their first social media updates for the day, as well as messages from parenting sites they follow. 

Facebook and other social media feeds are next — that’s where Mom finds out what’s happening with friends and family, and, interestingly, where she catches up on current events. Whether it’s “hard” news or entertainment content, moms turn to their social media feeds for news 55% of the time, more than live TV (48%), websites (45%), and radio (34%). The fact that moms follow their favorite news sources on social media means they’re looking for aggregation, news from trusted sources, served up in bite-size chunks (bite-size, because in the morning there’s no time for lengthy reading). At this time of day, moms flag, tag, or bookmark pages they want to read later.

Mid-Day Down Time

Whether Mom is having lunch at her desk or putting her child down for a nap, she’s probably going to take a little break around mid-day, a break that is likely to include digital media.

Moms check email and social media around lunchtime, and then spend a little more time researching parenting questions online. They might be checking on developmental milestones or investigating the latest trends in parenting. They turn to many sources for that information, including parenting websites, blogs, social media, news, and gossip sites. 

Online parenting communities are another popular source for advice and information. In addition to doing research, moms turn to these forums when they need a place they can celebrate small wins (“He didn’t complain about the food we had for lunch!”) or vent frustration (“It took 30 minutes of drama to put on a shirt!”).

Nighttime Me Time

Mom’s real relaxation happens in the evening, once her little ones are in bed. Social media is still her first choice for digital consumption, but during this period she’s more likely to dig into longer articles and blog posts, enjoying stories from real moms, funny posts, advice, recipes, beauty tips, and more. She’s looking for entertainment as well as practical information, so her evening routine is likely to include some games, music, movies, or videos.

Timing Is Everything

For marketers, the takeaway is clear: Mothers of toddlers and older children are consuming different types of content at different times of the day, and the patterns are predictable enough at this stage that you can time your campaigns accordingly. Sending out an email promotion? Shoot for first thing in the morning. Delivering in-depth parenting content? Aim for her evening relaxation time. Above all, keep in mind that the digital landscape is crowded and full of distractions, so keep your messages relevant, engaging, and respectful of Mom’s busy routine.

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