Tapping Into the Sisterhood of Motherhood

March 29, 2016

Originally published on MediaPost Engage:Moms

by Aliza Freud

“Off to Chicago for 2 day business trip. I could hear my kids crying as I closed the front door to catch my Uber this morning. I waited until we had pulled away before I started to cry. I hate leaving them!” wrote a mom I know from a private Facebook group recently.

Within 10 minutes there were 25 responses. Many were sympathetic and provided words of comfort, but there were others that were not quite as supportive. One such comment read, “Look, I get that you miss your kids but if you really missed your kids that much, you’d quit your job right?”

What ensued was a debate that went on for days. The subtext was nothing short of a referendum on motherhood — who was doing it well and who wasn’t.

This type of exchange is clearly not a surprise to brands like Similac, which scored a viral video hit early last year with the commercial, “The Mother “Hood. The video, which has racked up over 8 million views and spurred thousands of social posts and shares, depicts “warring” factions of different mom types as they face off in a park.

The video ends with Similac encouraging moms to come together as they are all part of the “sisterhood of motherhood.”

According to Lindsy Delco of Abbott Nutrition, the maker of Similac, “When we talk about a sisterhood, we’re talking about a mindset we’re hoping people will embrace, to be supportive of each other as parents and recognize we all share the same concern about our children.”

But, is the mother “warring” just about parenting? We decided to learn more and earlier this month fielded a survey amongst 2,300 women to get better insight on the topic. What we learned may surprise you:

1. Overall, just 40% of moms indicated that women were supportive of one another “Most of the Time.” Another 56% answered: “Sometimes but Not Often”, while 4% indicated “Almost Never” to the same question.

2. But importantly, “Parenting” is where moms think other women are the most supportive.

According to survey respondents here is where moms say they are supportive of one another “Most of the Time”:

Parenting: 56%
Social/Personal: 44%
Professional: 31%
Political: 29%

3. Discontent Is an Issue: Only 48% of moms indicate that they are Content. And just 31% describe themselves as “Fulfilled.”

We asked survey respondents to tell us why they feel moms are supportive/not supportive of one another. Here are a few responses:

Women can be catty. I see it a lot on tumblr where moms get called out for things, or told that they’re not as good as other moms for a myriad of reasons.

I have 2 friends that I walk with 3 times a week. We support one another physically, emotionally and mentally. We pray for one another and our families.

Women seem much more competitive with each other, which is very unfortunate. We should be encouraging each other and promoting each other to improve and better ourselves at all lives.

I think women have come along way especially in today’s society of learning to build one another up, instead of tearing each other down.

Women generally want to see other women succeed. We are all in this world together. If we won’t support each other, who will?

We had thousands of comments and several themes emerged:

  1. Jealousy rears its ugly head
  2. There are those who cheer for one another
  3. Most believe themselves to be good friends to other moms

So what are the implications of all of this insight? There is clearly an issue. But this also can be an opportunity for brands that seek to engage with women to tap in to the insight, foster a conversation and help find ways to send a message of support as Similac did with their “Sisterhood of Motherhood” campaign. The campaign now includes several more videos where moms come together to understand one another’s perspectives and let go of judgment. These videos are also amassing hundreds of thousands of views and shares.

We are curious to hear your thoughts. Share them here and/or tweet @shespeaking.

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