Keeping up with the demands of parenting in today’s fast-changing, economically-pressured world, while still taking time to relish the “great little moments” with their children, is a steep challenge for today’s moms, according to a new survey sponsored by the Pepperidge Farm® Goldfish® brand – but most wouldn’t trade parenting for anything. The Goldfish Moms Straight Talk on Parenting survey was conducted in late May by the market research firm, TNS, with 1,021 moms of kids 6-to-12 across the United States. The good news: An overwhelming majority of moms surveyed (94 percent) said that being a mom is “the best job I have,” and a similarly large majority reported that they are doing the best they can as a mother. However, despite doing their best, a large percentage of moms expressed concerns that their best may not be good enough with two out of three moms indicating that they “worry whether I’m doing a good enough job as a mother.” Moms are clear that being a mom isn’t easy. Eighty-five percent claimed that it is the hardest job they have.  A majority of moms (60 percent) maintain that raising kids is harder today compared to when they were growing up. The highest rated sources of worry for those moms were:

  • Kids growing up too fast
  • Too much social/peer pressure
  • Concerns for children’s safety
  • Too much exposure to disturbing world events, and
  • Popular culture not being in line with their family values

Not surprisingly, financial pressures are another source of concern for parents today. Some 88 percent of moms surveyed said their families are being impacted by current economic conditions. Although a notable 61 percent of respondents are currently employed either full- or part-time, almost three quarters said they worry about being able to financially provide their child’s everyday wants and needs. A whopping 80 percent are concerned about paying for their child’s college education – and less than a third feel they are prepared to deal with this issue. Clearly parents today have a lot on their plates. In fact, half of the mothers polled reported that they “often feel overwhelmed by daily demands of being a parent” and nearly 60 percent confessed that they sometimes feel as though they are reaching their breaking point when it comes to dealing with their kids. The challenges facing parents appear to leave many moms questioning whether they will be able to deliver on their own lofty – in some cases, too lofty – goals as a parent. In fact, one out of three moms admitted to setting expectations for themselves as a parent that are “unrealistic.” And three quarters worry whether they can “provide the skills their kids need to reach their potential.” In fact, one survey respondent said her number one concern was “making sure that when my children become adults – and hopefully parents themselves – that I have given them the tools to be successful, happy and comfortable with who they are.”

“Clearly, it’s not easy being a parent today,” said Patsy Fox, Goldfish brand group marketing manager at Pepperidge Farm and mother of two. “Our research shows that moms welcome useful information to help boost their confidence about meeting the many daily demands of parenting. The Pepperidge Farm Goldfish brand is committed to providing parents with just that kind of help through our Fishful Thinking program. It’s an idea-filled resource that includes articles, activities, quizzes, videos and sharing opportunities to help moms enrich the little moments of parenting every day.”

The Fishful Thinking program continues to build upon its resources for parents and now includes a partnership with The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). In coming months, school psychologists around the country will be sharing Fishful Thinking strategies with parents and reinforcing the reciprocal link between optimism and resilience and school success.