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Moms may be best hope in a fragmented age

Published October 4, 2011 8:44 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

New York • In an age of political name calling and hate speech, moms may be the nation's best hope.

Reflecting a bent toward values of a different era, an astounding 77 percent of moms prefer to have children with good manners over good grades, according to the just released Women at NBCU study.

In another sign that moms are embracing a more traditional lifestyle, 66 percent say they would rather be a stay-at-home parent than a working parent. Additionally, the majority of employed moms (53 percent) feel that while financially they need to work, they would prefer to be stay-at-home moms.

The rift between reality and aspiration has never been wider, supported by the fact that only 12 percent of moms in the study say they believe they are very accurately portrayed in advertising.

"Although moms are not saying they want to go back to the 1950s, they are clinging to certain values and traditions associated with that time period," said Melissa Lavigne-Delville, VP of Trends and Strategic Insights, Integrated Media at NBCUniversal. "There's a backlash to the complexity of current conditions like the economy and fragmented families. Brands with strong "roots" have an opportunity to play up their heritage or consider resurrecting brand assets from this past. Ultimately, though, women will need products and services that are modern and can keep pace with their everyday realities — traditional cannot mean old school."

According to the study, dads' aspirations are also shifting dramatically — toward the home.

More than 1/3 of dads (36 percent) prefer to be a stay-at-home parent than a working parent. Additionally, while dads claim they are pitching in at home more than fathers of previous generations, perceptions about the actual amount of housework diverges between partners: 61 percent of dads say they split the household labor and childcare equally with their partner, while only 27 percent of moms feel the home workload is evenly split.

The survey also shed light on the fact that the most technically-connected generation of moms, Gen Y's (18-32 years old), are the ones who actually feel most out of touch. Nearly twice as many Gen Y's (42 percent) as Gen X's (24 percent) felt isolated when they first became mothers. This is, in part, attributed to the fact that women are becoming mothers at all different ages and, thus, cannot necessarily relate to their peers. Unlike previous eras, first-time motherhood can span four decades.

Other noteworthy findings from Women at NBCU's new family study include:

• Moms reported that the "breakdown of the traditional family" was the second most serious issue facing children today, right after drug abuse.

• 60 percent of moms believe that in 10 to 20 years there will be as many stay-at-home dads as there are stay-at-home moms.

• 31 percent of moms reveal that they tend to linger longer in the shower, while running errands, on appointments or during a commute, just to find a little more alone time during the day.

• 30 percent of moms believe that in order to keep up with today's competitiveness, a child's education begins at or even before birth.

The nationally representative survey was conducted among 3,224 moms and 403 dads in June and August. About Women At NBCU :

Launched in May 2008, Women at NBCU is a combination of media assets reaching women across multiple platforms.