No matter what day of the year it is, mothers are pretty amazing. Whether little ones arrive in their arms via childbirth, adoption, surrogacy or foster care, the ability to nurture and care for a child is a life-giving accomplishment. It’s a title that should be celebrated every day, not just on a flowers-and-candy holiday each May. But as long as we’re nearing that mark, it’s a good reminder to make sure to reach out to the maternal figures in your life with some extra-special love. This could be your actual mom, an aunt or grandmother, a big sister, or just a person who was really there for you when you needed her. We’ve pulled together some facts that show just how fantastic moms can be. More than a full-time job. If you’ve been through the child-rearing wringer that is bookended by middle-of-the-night feedings and teenage angst, you might wonder why some people label motherhood as the world’s toughest job. It should be plural - as in jobs. In fact, a survey of thousands of moms in the United States by the Welch’s juice brand showed that being a mom is equivalent to having 2.5 full-time jobs. Researchers analyzed the participants’ weekly schedules and found 14-hour days were the norm for mothers with elementary school-aged children. They found the average mom started their day before 6:30 a.m. and ended their daily child-care responsibilities after 8:30 p.m. How much free time did this leave the average mom? Less than two hours a day. It might be time to buy the mom in your life a bigger gift.
More women are becoming moms. Compared to a decade ago, more women are becoming moms now. According to data gathered by the Pew Research Center, 86% of women ages 40 to 44 have had children. That’s up from 80%. In the last 20-plus years, the biggest group to see an increase in motherhood are women who have earned a doctorate degree. More women with bachelor’s and master’s degrees are also having children, compared to a couple decades ago. Could motherhood be contagious? Perhaps there’s something about the excitement of pregnancy or yearnings for motherhood that spreads through friend groups and families. A maternity study focused on 30,000 women in Germany concluded that pregnancy can spread through workplaces, according to an article in the Smithsonian Magazine. When a woman included in the study had a baby, researchers determined there was a rise in pregnancies in that same workplace. The same goes for families with multiple children, according to a study in Norway. Researchers focused on 110,000 pairs of siblings and found that the first pregnancy in one sibling had a strong influence on when the other sibling would become a parent. Moms and baby bottles go way back. Mothers have been adept at juggling the demands of bottle feeding for a long time - like 7,000 years. According to the Smithsonian, clay vessels found in ancient Germany contained milk residue and are considered to be among the most primitive baby bottles. Average age of first-time mothers. More women are getting through a few more birthdays before having children, compared to years past. The average age of a first-time mom in the U.S. is 26. In 1994, the average age was 23. As more women with college degrees are joining the motherhood ranks, that rise in first-time mom age could be attributed to women who are taking time for higher education before becoming parents. But where women live also is tied to the age they have their first child, studies show. Women who live in large cities are likely to wait longer to have a child, many into their early 30s. In contrast, women in rural areas tend to become mothers in their 20s. Related:
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