Working Mom Or Stay-At-Home Mom: A 2016 Snapshot Of Our Habits

Digital Goddesses

Guess what? Both stay-at-home moms and moms who work outside the home use the hell out of their digital devices and spend a lot of time on social media and watching streamed television shows and movies.

That’s according to Nielsen, a company that keeps track of such things. The latest Nielsen report on device usage makes a great effort to separate what it calls “working moms” from stay-at-home moms, but you and I both know that moms who stay at home with their children are also working moms. I’m one of them. I work remotely, and I watch my infant for much of the day. I often use a mother’s helper to watch the baby while I interview people, type and leave the home. But a lot of my out-of-home work is time-shifted. I do most of my work while my husband is home, and I work very late or very early so that I can have dedicated time to care for my infant and occasionally my four-year-old (when his school is out for the day for vacations or teacher in-service days.)

Clearly I wish that Nielsen would find different language than stay-at-home versus working. Because obviously, all moms work. But, lingo aside, I “get” what they’re saying. Now? Down to the nitty gritty of how we use our devices and who we are, as moms, from a demographic perspective.


This information and chart was taken directly from the Nielsen study and belongs to them.

Lots of Kids = Most likely to stay at home

Nielson found that the more children you have under the age of 12, the more likely you are to be a stay-at-home mom. This makes sense to me, especially given the cost of childcare. In Chicago, infant care can run you $350 a week at a top tier center. At a lower tier center, it can cost $165 a week. Whether or not you can pay those prices depends on your economic situation. I know people with triplets who opt to stay at home with the kids plus hire a nanny or a mother’s helper to round out infant care.

Roughly half of us rent our homes, while the other half owns our homes. And, moms who work outside of the home were more likely to be college educated. That said, the percetages were fairly close. Some 38% of so-called “working moms” are college grads while some 28% of stay-at-home moms are college grads.

Related: Did You Wash Your Diaper In Your Clothes By Mistake? I Show You How TO Fix It

Latino and Black women are doing the damn thang in terms of being a working mom, owning a home and making around $67,000 a year. Per Nielsen: “Working moms are higher income and more likely to have a college education. They are mostly homeowners who live in single-family dwellings primarily in suburban areas or smaller towns and rural areas. They have the greatest proportion of non-Hispanic Whites (56%) as well as non-Hispanic Blacks (15%).

I was also not surprised to learn that “stay-at-home moms spend more time with all devices except radio, which is used more heavily among working moms.”

The Self-Care of TV

On average, we spend 30 hours a week watching television. Thirty hours. A lot of that time is spent binge-watching shows that we can’t watch in real time because we have kids. Rather than say this is selfish or an unfit use of time, I personally think that tv time – when used for adult pursuits and not spent, on say, Team Umizoomi, is an example of self-care. I wrote about that trend for Forbes, actually. You can read that story here. I will delve into what exactly we watch in a different column, but know this moms: we have a lot of power because advertisers are salivating over all of our consumption habits. We control the way money is spent in our households. We meal plan. We buy diapers and clothes and shoes. We rule the world! (Really, we do!)

Related: The Art of Saying No.

Social Media Mavens

We also spend an average of seven hours a week on social media. Does that ring true to you Sassy Plum readers? Or do you spend more? It also says that moms who work outside the home listen to more radio, presumably because of the commute. Is that true for you? Hmm.. Questions. Questions. Questions.

Does this Nielsen report accurately describe you? Let’s discuss!

Adrienne Gibbs is a Chicago-based freelance writer. Follow her on Twitter @adriennewrites and check out her parenting blog, Southside Parenting.