This segment—mothers 35 to 45—can be summed up in a word: driven. In fact, these women are in overdrive. They’ve polished off advanced degrees, earned executive jobs and see mothering as another kind of job—one for which they’ll happily hone their skills in order to excel.
“Working mothers…bring their professional knowledge, skills and work ethic to the task of being a mom,” says Carol Evans, president of Working Mother Media and CEO of the National Association for Female Executives.
Interestingly, the fact that they work, with a median income of $75,000, might also be a reason they’re having kids. While birth rates are trending downward, it’s the wealthier, better-educated women who are having children, according to Pew Social Trends.
Demographic Intelligence also makes note of that trend. “We’re projecting that the biggest growth [in childbearing] from 2010 to 2013 will be among women who are better-educated, who are primarily white or Asian and 30 or older,” says W. Bradford Wilcox, president of Demographic Intelligence and director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia. These women were less affected by the recession, he believes, though some may have put off childbirth during the worst economic times.
At the same time, they have a hard time leaving their professional jobs behind. “A lot of them, either jokingly or half-jokingly, say they can’t wait to get back to work on Monday,” notes Evans.
Indeed, a 2011 survey of moms age 30 to 44 by Parenting.com and Today.com indicated that 42 percent would choose a 50 percent pay raise over 50 percent more time with their kids, while 20 percent said their jobs were a way to avoid childcare responsibilities. Is that why 22 percent secretly fear their partners are the better parents?
Being pulled from all sides can make these women feel out of touch with themselves. When that 2011 survey asked what they missed most about life before kids, “alone time” was the top response.
“We’re seeing a rise in personal interests. They’re trying to carve out [an identity] that’s more than being a mom, more than being a wife,” says Mike Greco, evp of strategic insight at Lifetime Networks.
So when they spend money on themselves, where is it going? Prestige beauty products is a popular category. In fact, this segment spends more on these products than any other age group, according to Total Beauty Media Group. That said, she’s thrifty. Compared to other segments, she’s most likely to have used a discount website to buy her beauty products.
Total Beauty Media Group also found that she typically spends less than an hour on research before opening her wallet for a high-end item. She’s most influenced by online product reviews and can be lured by editorial content alongside those reviews to spend up to 50 percent more time pondering a given product.
In general, she logs a lot of screen time. The reason: In addition to her own media usage, these mothers are also influenced by—and consuming along with—their children. Says Pat McDonough, senior vp for insights and analysis at Nielsen: “They have kids who text, so they’re texting as if they were younger.”
Given how busy she is, it’s no surprise she notices less. In prime-time broadcast TV, says Nielsen, ad-recall levels were 8 percent lower among moms 25 to 54 than childless women in the same age group.
But cut her some slack. Even the highest achievers deserve a break.
Photo by Alfred Maskeroni
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