Mom’s (Not) the Inspiration

Who inspires mom?  Does her own mother serve as her main guide to be the best she can be?  According to data from The Research Moms, it turns out that the mother-daughter relationship is a little more complicated than you’d think.

While many moms may be influenced by their own mothers (good or bad), when we asked mothers to tell us which woman in their lives inspired them most, only 36% said their mothers. There are differences among age, however, with 44% of younger moms, age 18-34, choosing their mother, compared to the 31% of moms age 35 and older.

What would this number have been just a generation ago, when more women chose to stay home, as their mothers did with them?  These women may have looked more to their own mothers for inspiration.  With over 60% of the sample made up of working moms, there are clear differences in how stay-at-home and working moms responded.  Forty-two percent of stay-at-home moms said their mother, compared to 34% of working moms.

So who else does mom seeking encouragement from in the circle of women she knows?  The data shows that moms find inspiration in many different types of women in their lives.  Twenty-two percent said it was a friend who encourages them, whereas 13% turn to other female relatives (e.g. sister, aunt).  Seven percent look up to a colleague, and 6% said a teacher.


So, where else does mom go for inspiration? To find out, we then asked mothers to name the female celebrity or public figure who inspired them the most.  Which type of women did they choose?  They named women who wear multiple hats – much like moms do today. They chose actresses, talk show hosts, producers, philanthropists, public speakers, politicians, activists and humanitarians.

Here’s how the top three answers stacked up among mothers naming a celebrity/public figure:

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Oprah Winfrey – 11%

More than four years since The Oprah Winfrey Show went off the air, Oprah’s influence remains high. So, why is she still so inspirational?  With ten years on the Time 100 list and a Presidential Medal of Freedom for her philanthropy, it’s easy to assume it’s because her accomplishments and influence are lasting.

But, for mom, perhaps it’s really the perseverance Oprah has displayed on her way to the top, even after struggling through a difficult and abusive childhood.  Or, maybe, it’s the close relationships she has maintained with her friends, like the 30+ year friendship she’s had with Gayle King.




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Ellen Degeneres 10%

Every weekday afternoon for the last ten years, Ellen has danced her way out on to her talk show stage.  What lessons does Ellen impart for mom?  She’s never been afraid to be herself – coming out to Oprah (#1 on our list!) as TV’s first openly gay star.

And, while her show rarely focuses on hard-hitting global issues, moms tune in because Ellen has an incredible ability to inspire her fans, without taking herself too seriously.  And how can moms not smile and think of Ellen every time one of their kiddos watches Dory in Disney’s Finding Nemo.


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Angelina Jolie – 7%        

With adopted children from Cambodia, Ethiopia and Vietnam and three biological children (including a set of twins!), Angelina Jolie sounds a little bit like super mom.  While many mothers may be jealous of her lucky-lady status as the other half to Brad Pitt, Angelina has never needed Brad to make headlines.

Aside from being fiercely committed to her job and her many philanthropic roles – like Special Envoy of UN High Commissioner for Refugees – she is frequently photographed setting aside time for fun with her family.


Rounding out the top ten were Hillary Clinton, Jennifer Aniston, Mother Teresa, Michelle Obama, Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez and Sandra Bullock.

From the ladies they connect with in their everyday lives, to somewhat larger-than-life celebrities, it’s clear that mothers seek inspiration from many sources.

How the study was conducted:

The Research Moms conducted a national online survey of 540 mothers with children age 21 and under in February 2015.

*Images used under license from

_How often do you sit down together for

Dinner without distraction

_How often do you sit down together for

A really comical television commercial caught my eye recently and it was so intriguing I had to watch to the very end. Aside from just the well done commercial, the idea behind it is brilliant and engaging.  #DarkforDinner  is a campaign by Dixie asking consumers to put down the electronics during dinner and connect with family and friends by actually talking. The various commercials depict dinner table interactions between children and parents, siblings and grandparents and even friends. They are silly and they are fun! Notables include a teen explaining to mom what a man-bun is and a friend confessing that she thinks someone’s dad is attractive. Dixie poses the question, “What will you learn when you go dark for dinner?”

I especially love this ad campaign because Dixie ties it back to social media and their website where consumers can see the next topic and date for ‘going dark.’ Dixie even gives suggestions on how to do it. Visitors can then post reactions and comments about their own ‘dark’ dinner conversations. Dixie has created a perfectly clever way to have their consumers engage with them.

We are a mobile-connected society, whether via smartphone or tablet our fingers are always tapping and our thumbs swiping. In what we define as downtime, it is becoming increasingly rare to be disconnected from the constant stream of social media and the instant pings of text messaging.  With so much information to be had, we don’t want to miss a thing. For many, dinnertime is the only time when the family is together in one place, and with technology constantly at our fingertips, are we sabotaging that quality time with electronic distractions? Has the idea of a lively family dinner become so foreign to our culture? It seems to be heading in that direction.

In a recent study from The Research Moms, we asked, “How often do you sit down together for a meal as a family without distractions?” Forty-four percent of moms said they do so nearly every day, which translates to less than half of families eating a meal together and being in the moment.   More than one-third (36%) of moms reported doing so a few times per week and another 9% said they sit down together without distraction only about once per week.

Personal electronics are certainly one of the stumbling blocks to an all-in family dinner but also in the mix are hectic work schedules and kids’ extracurricular activities. Time doesn’t always cooperate and schedules sometimes can’t coordinate. For working parents who have literally minutes to get in the door and get back out for a drop off, dinner is postponed, resulting in some of the family eating together then and some eating much later when they return home.  The idea of eating together as a family without distraction on a daily basis is clearly not the norm for working moms as is evidenced in our data. Only 4 in 10 working moms said they sit down together for a family meal without distraction, nearly every day.

Research Moms dinner without distraction

Even more reason to do as Dixie asks, and go #DarkForDinner whenever you can. Schedules and timing aren’t always in our control so when you are able to get everyone around the table to pass the potatoes and disconnect from devices, you should.   Share stories, have laughter and make a new tradition.

How the study was conducted:

The Research Moms conducted a national online survey of 540 mothers with children age 21 and under in February 2015.

APA Infographic

More Than 55 Million Americans Listen to Audiobooks Each Year

In the fast-growing sphere of audio options – which includes radio, streaming brands like Spotify and Pandora, podcasts, and satellite radio – a key component can’t be overlooked – the audiobook.

According to new information from Edison Research, more than 40% of Americans ages 18 and older have ever listened to an audiobook, and in the last year fully 22% of Americans have enjoyed one (approximately 55 million persons). The research was unveiled recently at the Audio Publishers Association event in New York.

APA Infographic

“When people talk about digital audio – audiobooks tend not to get their due,” says Edison VP Tom Webster, “but our research shows that audiobooks are increasingly being consumed in digital formats as well. While some of the market comes from renting CDs from a library, the new growth is coming from consumption on digital devices.”

In addition, the research shows that audiobooks are being consumed among younger adults in surprising numbers, aided by the digital device revolution. “After all,” says Webster, “what’s the difference between an audiobook and an especially long podcast? Our research shows audiobooks are part of the same renaissance in audio consumption.”

Among those who have listened to an audiobook in the last year, the average consumption was five audiobooks per year.

Edison Research will be releasing many more items about audiobooks and their usage in the weeks to come. The information comes from a nationally representative survey of Americans age 18 and older performed in early 2015.

About Edison Research:

Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information to a broad array of clients, including Activision, AMC Theatres, Disney, Dolby Laboratories, Google, NPR, Oracle, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Pandora, Samsung, Siemens, Sony, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, The Gates Foundation, and Univision. Edison Research works with many of the largest American radio ownership groups, including Bonneville, Emmis, Entercom, CBS Radio and Radio One. Another specialty for Edison is its work for media companies throughout the world, conducting research in North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe. Edison Research is the sole provider of election exit poll data for the National Election Pool comprised of ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC and the Associated Press. Edison is also the leading provider of consumer exit polling and has conducted face-to-face research in almost every imaginable venue.

About The Audio Publishers Association:

Formed in 1987, the Audio Publishers Association (APA) is a not-for-profit trade association that advocates the common, collective business interests of audio publishers. The APA consists of audio publishing companies and allied suppliers, distributors, and retailers of spoken word products and allied fields related to the production, distribution and sale of audiobooks. The APA serves as a networking, educational and information forum for its members; delivers programs, services and awards that serve the common business interests for its members; and promotes policies and activities that accelerate audiobook awareness and industry growth. APA and its members work to bring all audio publishers together to create increased public awareness for the audiobook industry through joint publicity efforts, national consumer surveys, trade show exhibits, an association newsletter and the annual APA conference, APAC.

Have you ever played hooky with your

Most moms have played hooky with their children

Have you ever played hooky with your

“Bueller…Bueller…Bueller? Anyone…anyone?” No matter how many times I’ve seen it, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off always gets me to laugh. The classic ‘80s flick about bored teenagers skipping school delivers the one-liners, and the message that kids will go to great lengths to not get caught.  Many of the best jokes in the movie come from the students staying one step ahead of the adults, so if Bueller’s parents were part of his plan, it wouldn’t carry quite the same punchline.

School’s out now, and we are into summer, but would moms in 2015 be willing to be part of the hooky plan instead of the punchline? Yes they would, according to new research from The Research Moms. In an online study conducted earlier this year, 57% of moms with a child in school between Kindergarten and 12th grade said they have ever played hooky with their child to do something fun for the day.

That percentage goes up when you look at employment status.   Among working moms, 63% have ever played hooky with their child while for stay-at-home moms, less than half (43%) said they have done so. Each of us has a list of priorities and we make our choices based on those priorities. Whether you agree with playing hooky or not, as a parent you can appreciate that life grinds in high gear and schedules are tight.   Throughout the daily hustle and bustle time marches on and it’s time with your children that can’t be gained back. For some, this realization provides the justification for playing hooky.

Undoubtedly, moms weigh the harm vs. the good before skipping kids out of school and extraordinary circumstances certainly must play a role.   In the words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” About thirty years after that quote was spoken in the iconic film, it still holds true.

How the study was conducted:

The Research Moms conducted a national online survey of 540 mothers with children age 21 and under in February 2015.