One of my business partners and I are in the midst of a very interesting research project to find out what moms are thinking and feeling today about a whole host of issues. As soon as the research is finalized, I will be sharing the results with you in detail. However, one of the interesting insights that we are seeing is the emotional impact this is having on higher-income indulgent mothers.
Certainly, this economy is producing every type of emotion imaginable—fear, sadness, panic, anger, regret, relief—but among certain types of moms, glaring guilt is what we see. Once you recognize it and name it, it makes logical sense, but it isn’t something that you might have named before.
There are lots of moms whose household finances have shifted dramatically, whose financial worlds have been completely rocked. We see small business owners who have prospered outrageously in previous years, whose cash flow has simply dried up. We see six-figure salaried individuals take over a year to find new work once they have been laid off.
And the moms, who never had to worry about the bills getting paid, said “yes” to their children way more often than they ever said “no” (if at all). Now, the harsh reality of a new financial world order requires that they learn the art of the word “No.” They feel guilty that they cannot give their child everything (of course, this is also creating a mindset shift for the kids as well!).
But even as they think about it, they realize that they never said, “No.” They may even admit, grudgingly, that this new order is actually better in the long run for the child, as it teaches them balance and not always “getting their way.”
This realization leads to even more guilt as they realize (even if only in their own minds) that they have not exercised the best parenting possible in the past. Guilt for the past parenting and guilt for the present situation is sobering for these moms.
So the question becomes, what can you do about it? As a marketer, it is up to you to find a way to come to the rescue. Do you have a product that reinforces good parenting at the same time as it provides a little indulgence to the child?
An interesting question. As I said, when we have a more thorough report, we will share it with you. In the meantime, if you’d like to dig more deeply into your own consumer’s emotional mindset, let us know. We’d love to help.