Mother’s Day has come and gone, but in a meeting of communications professionals that I recently attended, someone expressed his observation that, here in the Philippines, “Every day is Mother’s Day.” He added that, perhaps, “Mother’s Day is bigger than Valentine’s Day.” There may be a grain of truth there, as not everyone will be inclined to celebrate Valentine’s Day—no matter how “sentimental” and “emotional” Filipinos are observed to be—but, in this culture, it is tantamount to a mortal sin to not pay some sort of tribute to our mothers on Mother’s Day.
Besides the enduring impact of this commemoration on Filipino family life and culture, there are new realities that we must now consider in communicating and dealing with Filipino moms. With the ubiquity of technology and connectivity, the globalization of our economy and our mind-sets, and the demographic shift to a younger population come an evolution in the way the Filipino mom sees herself and her world.
Here are some key points based on McCann Worldgroup’s study on The Truth About Moms and its local adaptation:
Truth #1: Filipino moms now fuse classic with modern parenting styles.
Filipino moms value how they were raised by their own mothers, citing the importance of the pamana, or passing on to their children a legacy with traditional Filipino values. However, they have also begun “upcycling” classic parenting approaches with a modern twist.
For example, the values of sipag at tiyaga—hard work and perseverance—now extend outside of household chores and schoolwork, with more moms wanting their kids to also imbibe business savvy and an entrepreneurial mind-set. From passing on values and emotional sensibilities, Filipino moms are now also passing on functional sensibilities, such as financial literacy and responsibility.
Truth #2: The modern Filipina mom looks for “wellness in everything.”
Filipino moms today no longer define “wellness” simply in terms of their children’s health and nutrition; they see and look for wellness in every choice they need to make for their kids.
And because they’re now more tech-savvy than ever, segurista (risk-averse) Filipino moms are also using technology to find the most advanced solutions and the best options to protect their children from all sorts of harm.
This is demonstrated by the growing accessibility (if not popularity) of more earth-friendly products for children, such as organic—or at least “green”—diapers, bottles, skin care and the like; kids yoga and vegetarian cooking classes; nature treks for families; and other products, services and activities that reduce children’s exposure to toxins, keep their bodies more active and on the go, while raising families’ environmental awareness.
According to Gino Borromeo, chief strategy officer and Truth Central champion for McCann World-group Philippines, one thing that sets Filipino moms apart from the other moms that McCann had studied around the world is that, more than just raising happy kids, “They want to raise children who are good citizens and good human beings. That stood out in our local studies.”
Truth #3: Hello, “momagers” and “mompreneurs”!
Gone are the days of the “full-time housewives” and the “stay-at-home moms.” Thanks to telecommuting, work-from-anywhere platforms and the burgeoning of dynamic online communities, more Filipino moms now identify themselves as “work at home moms [WAHMs],” as well as “momagers” and “mompreneurs.”
More moms are now bravely jumping into entrepreneurship, making mommyhood their careers and businesses, while enjoying a wide range of support services that were previously unavailable to mothers before them—such as online communities, mompreneur bazaars, mom-centric business workshops and the like.
Even dads and househelp can now get trained on how to better support moms at home, adding a touch of professionalism to household management.
All of these shifts require a closer look at how we communicate to and empower women, and also how we educate families and those who form Filipino moms’ support structures today. To learn more about The Truth About Moms and other McCann Truth Studies, e-mail the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Niña Terol (@ninaterol) calls herself a “communicator, connector and change-maker.” She heads corporate affairs for McCann Worldgroup Philippines, one of the largest and leading multinational communications firms in the Philippines, and is a founding trustee and board member of Business and Professional Women (BPW) Makati, a non-profit organization aligned with the United Nations Women Empowerment Principles. She has also been widely published in local and international publications and is a lecturer at the Ateneo de Manila University.