Much has been mentioned on the subject of first-time moms becoming older in the US. In 1980, the average age of the first-time mom was 22.7, and in 2010 it had increased to 25.4. Delving into the data a bit more, you see African American and Hispanic first-time moms have an average age of 23.1 (similar to that 1980 number), while Asian American first-time moms have an average age of 29.1.
The six-year older average of Asian American moms means that they have time to complete their education and become established in their careers, and older first-time moms in general value this time. In interviews with older first-time moms, I learned just how important imparting to their children this emphasis on education and career are to them.
Toral Kapur, Controller, American CyberSystems, explains her decision to wait:
“While I was married at age 23, I had my first child at age 30. During my twenties, I completed my education, earned two master’s degrees, and became established in a corporate career in accounting. After having our daughter and son, I chose to switch to a part-time schedule in teaching to allow more time with the children. I wanted to give them the foundation, and to give them the idea that being successful in school and college is a prerequisite to success in life. Now that my daughter is a senior in high school, I have returned to work full-time. I enjoy working, and my career is like a second life. I am working towards getting my CPA in the next year.”
While all moms value education, the older first-time moms who have completed their education will spend more of their own time and money on their child’s education. This presents an opportunity for brands to align with older moms’ interests, recognizing that she is either in the workforce or has been in the workforce and that she will stress education as a value system with her child.
Tish Spaulding, Creative Brand Strategist of the Spaulding Agency can see the greater choices that she had by waiting to have her first child at age 29:
“I started my career working in public relations and marketing for major corporations before having children. When our daughter was born, this was a major push for me to step out on faith and establish my own advertising design agency. Being an entrepreneur has been very rewarding over the years. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to gain respect, attract phenomenal clients and build and good reputation in the industry. Most importantly, it afforded me flexibility for my life and valuable time with my daughter. Earning an advanced college education, combined with a solid career, was very important to me before having children. I got married at 25 and prior to having children, I was focused on goal setting and building a solid foundation for my family with the opportunity to plan. My mother and grandmother emphasized this, and now I strive to continue this legacy by carrying the message to our daughter as a proud African American woman.”
In Tuning into Mom: Understanding America’s Most Powerful Consumer, we explore how Mom’s focus and priorities change with the age of her oldest child. While this dynamic still explains Mom’s motivation the most and helps us understand her as a consumer, there is also an opportunity for marketers to align with the education focus of older first-time moms like Toral and Tish.