Ask a mum what items she can’t live without and there’s a strong chance she’ll name two things – her phone, and coffee.
There are few things a mum loves more. Well, obviously her kid/s and partners, but when it comes to physical items that little flat device and potent brew can be a mum’s world.
Why? It would seem the answer is pretty simple. These two things both connect us mums to the outside world – the world outside of nappy changes, feeds, organising a household, educating, disciplining and more. And, if we’re honest, they keep us sane.
Phones connect mums to family and friends, whether it be via text or call. But, and it seems more importantly for many, they are the medium by which we access social media, support groups, online forums and mummy blogs.
As any good advertising executive or salesman would tell you, the modern mother is mobile. She has her phone with her at all times, which means she is constantly online, accessible and instantly interacting. Mums these days spend an average of 8 hours 37 minutes a day with media – that’s the equivalent of a full work day. (1) This presents extraordinary opportunities for business. And for a mum this means she can connect and get support 24/7.
- Research conducted in July 2014 found that 79 per cent of US mums use their smartphones to connect to social media platforms on a daily basis.(2)
- 57 per cent of mums use Instagram at least once a day (3)
- More than 7 in 10 mums have a profile on Facebook. (4)
- There are an estimated 3.9 million women with children writing blogs in the US (5)
A quick poll of some of the mums I speak with on one of these social platforms, Instagram, revealed that social media, coffee dates and online forums are the top support systems for mums. At any given time, in any country, millions of mums are liking, following and commenting on each other’s statuses or photos on social media.
Here in Australia each Saturday morning quotes or pictures celebrating the weekend are in abundance, with hundreds of thousands of ‘have a great weekend’ wishes, family photos or inspirational quotes being thrown around amongst people who have probably never actually met (but would chat on social media several times a day).
Indeed, I feel like I’ve made some great ‘cyber friends’ already after only being on Instagram for just a few months, and chatting with them at times keeps me sane. Whether it be a cheesy or hilarious pic of someone’s child, a new baby #ootd (outfit of the day), a new blog post, someone struggling with a baby who won’t sleep or the latest in baby or kids’ room styling, it’s all about connecting – oh, and shopping, of course there’s lots of that!
Apart from social media, other online sites and apps are a mum’s go-to. I know myself that, after having my baby, I struggled with a lack of government or council-assisted support to find a mothers’ group so turned to an app which really helped me meet like-minded mums in my area. We meet on a weekly basis, or sometimes more than that, with coffee at the heart of the meetup and our phone the enablers. Many parenting and baby websites offer an app version so mums can chat around the clock about anything and everything. Some mums even said that getting support in online forums from complete strangers has been the most valuable, because the anonymity helps, but also that people they’ve met online can become like family.
All of this has led to an explosion of mummy businesses. According to the Australian Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry, there are more than 700,000 female small business owners in Australia (6) and at least half of these are work-from-home mums.
Smartphones are essential to these businesses, with the internet and social media integral and powerful advertising and ordering tools. Some small businesses use just Instagram or Facebook for their sales, while others also offer PayPal or merchant services on their website. Mums can market and run their businesses while fulfilling all the daily full-time mummy tasks.
But at the heart of this is always the phone and the round the clock connectivity of mums.
So it would seem connecting is all about connectivity – oh, and coffee catch-ups. To all the husbands and partners out there, next time you think your other half is spending too much time on her phone just remember how much of a support it is for her. But please don’t check the credit card too closely!
Image credit: dolgachov/123RF Stock Photo