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Who Are We These Days?

 

I love statistics. I love them because they are numbers. I love them because they involve facts. I love those awkward little charts and graphs with the lines that go up or down like they’re just trying to get somewhere. I love statistics because they start conversations – and sometimes end them. And 43% of those I polled seem to love them as much as I do.

The other day I was having a conversation with a friend about what average looks like these days. As a mom of two, I don’t travel as much as I used to, so I was curious how my perspective had been skewed by my four walls. So I started to do the research.  I’d like to share with you some of the most recent American statistics related to today’s families.

ALL OF US ::

There are over 300 million people in the United States, making us the third most populous country in the world (after China & India). Men account for 49.3% of the population and women for the remaining 50.7%. Our median age in the US is 36.5 years old. Our median household income is about $51,000 per year, but for families it is about $62,000 per year. About 76% of us (employed) drive alone to work each day. Only about 10% of us carpooled, and only about 4% of us work at home. But that 4% doesn’t seem accurate to me when you consider all the stay-at-home-moms! Anyway, the average travel time to the office was about 25 minutes. In Southern California that 25 minutes would mean the office was about six miles away. No, five and a quarter.

FAMILIES ::

Families in the United States accounted for about 67% of households. The average family size is 3.19 people. This does not include pets. About 37% of households own dogs (at an average of more than one dog per household) and about 32% own cats (at an average of more than two felines per household). I wonder if the people eligible for the show “Animal Hoarders” affect these numbers. Speaking of which, we spend an average of 2.7 hours a day watching television. Anyone have a stat to share about how much of that time is spent during commercial? Our average credit card debt per household (with debt) is close to $16,000. But our US grand total revolving debt (98% made up by credit cards) – $793.1 billion! And yet, almost 10% of the population of families in the US live below the poverty level.

KIDS ::

Kids represent about 24% of the population in the US. There are about 74 million of these little humans running around that are under 17. And the average cost of raising a child in a middle-income family is about $12,000 per year. Of the kid population, about 6% are in preschool, about 5% are in kindergarten, 40% are in elementary school, about 22% are in high school and almost 27%% are in college or graduate school. In the US, it is recommended that each child get at least 35 vaccinations before age 6 (assuming combo shots, such as DTap), not including annual flu shots. That’s a lot of Spiderman or Hello Kitty Band Aids!

BIRTH ::

The number of American women (age 15 to 50 – what a range!) who have given birth in the last year is about 4 million. Of this 4 million, about 33% of them were not married (some stats say 41%). The mean age of having our first kids is 25 years old. The percentage of all deliveries by Cesarean was about 32%. The top ten boy names in 2010 were Jacob, Ethan, Michael, Jayden, William, Alexander, Noah, Daniel, Aiden and Anthony. The top ten girl names in 2010 were Isabella, Sophia, Emma, Olivia, Ava, Emily, Abigail, Madison, Chloe and Mia.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing the numbers. You can scroll and click on any statistic to be taken to its source. Perhaps your next coffee-convo or dinner fodder is a little richer as a result of knowing where you fall on the charts.

 

posted Sept ’11





I Know A Mom Whose Husband is Pregnant!

(No –  it’s really my own story.)

Pregnancy is a magical time in a woman’s life. The thought of a human being developing and beginning life inside a woman’s body is fascinating and wonderful. And for almost one year, a little human is totally and absolutely connected – every moment of each day – growing, kicking, swimming and counting on its’ life support to develop.

But for the spouse/partner of a pregnant woman, pregnancy can be mysterious and baffling. The cravings, the range of emotions and the physical changes of the pregnant woman can be difficult for a partner to understand.

I am eight months pregnant with my second child. My husband and I are having another girl, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. We’re having the time of our lives as parents to our daughter and can’t wait to meet her little sister. And although I find pregnancy to be a magical and beautiful and awesome experience, I am ready for my due date.

I would guestimate that on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most severe of all the pregnancy symptoms, I’m dealing with about a 6. And, of course, some days are better than others. But in the worst of it he gets moody, complains of nausea, indigestion, heartburn, backaches, he has trouble sleeping and on occasion gets that horrible deep itch that not even lotion seems to soothe. Yes, I do believe my husband is pregnant!

It’s called Couvade Syndrome (kū-väd’), and it’s a real thing. It means that the spouse/partner is having a “sympathetic pregnancy”. Couvade has been recorded throughout history in numerous cultures around the world. The term comes from the French word couver, meaning “to hatch”. When it occurs, it begins toward the end of the first trimester (of the real pregnancy) and increases in severity until the baby is born. And the only cure for Couvade seems to be – birth. Once the baby of the pregnant woman is born, these sympathy symptoms disappear.

Is it just that my husband is deeply empathetic, and is so tuned into me that he feels my pain? That’s one theory. The other psychological theories behind Couvade state that it could involve anxiety, pseudo-sibling rivalry, identification with the fetus, ambivalence about fatherhood, or parturition (def: the act of giving birth) envy.

And then there are the physiological theories – that the spouse/partner of the pregnant woman actually experiences their own hormonal changes during this time.

I’m not going to put my egg in either theoretical basket. I really just needed to know that this happens, to other people too. And to know that it’s a normal part of the pregnancy journey with my spouse. And it makes me love and appreciate him even more, to know that he is willing to rub my sore feet, knowing that his must hurt just as badly since I mentioned it. And appreciate him for going to get the antacids, for both of us. And to know that we’ll get to spend some quality time together at 2 am, when I get up to use the bathroom and he’s right behind me in line. And the best part – the cravings – when I want that lemon tart that only the coffee shop four blocks down has – I love knowing that his craving for a slice of chocolate cake is just as impassioned. And so he will go. And I’m pretty sure that Couvade is bringing us closer together. Because I know he loves me so much, that he’s willing to have my baby.

posted Sept ’10





All Things Bump-Related ::

Throughout August and September, I Know A Mom is going to be focusing on all things bump-related. If you’re expecting, or expecting to expect, now’s the time to take a look around and see what’s new, what’s great and what we recommend for your bump. We’re going to be Reviewing new products, adding new Sales, and Interviewing new Mom-entrepreneurs that know the most about maternity. So keep checking back to see what’s new for you, and baby too.

posted Aug ’10





The Push Present ::

My husband accuses me of contributing to a conspiracy. I’m fine with that. In my sixth month of pregnancy, I will even go so far as to blatantly encourage it. Said conspiracy: the concept of the push present.

Wikipedia defines the push present (aka “push gift” or “baby bauble”) as a present a new father gives a new mother when she gives birth to their child. It can be given before or after the birth, or even in the delivery room.

I learned of push presents when I was pregnant with my first child a couple of years ago. Being a first-timer, early on in my pregnancy and a little naïve, I brushed off the idea of receiving a gift to honor what I understood simply as the pure wonder of life. Silly, I thought, to receive a gift in exchange for this independently significant occasion. Was it supposed to be a sort of “atta girl” surprise, like when your child gets to pick a toy from the dentist’s treasure box? Or was this gift-giving occasion the brain-child of the diamond industry, created to heighten expectations and add a sense of obligation to an already life-changing event.

All of my opposition and resistance must have been in my first trimester though, when nothing was sitting well with me. But over the next months, as my belly and my discomfort grew, so did the idea. And as I watched the nurse-practitioner push that weight bar across the scales further and further to the right with each visit, so did the anticipated value of said present.

And so it happened that I was a hater of the push present no longer. I embraced the concept and set out to subversively sway my husband, so that he might become an embracer too. Since our baby was due in January, I predetermined that the secretly-anticipated present was going to require the inclusion of a ruby for the baby’s birthstone. I used visualization through catalogs and subliminal messaging through one-sided phone conversations with other mom-friends to introduce the new concept into our home. And then, I waited.

When January rolled around and my due date came – and went, I learned that the baby was coming – via c-section. Now what! There was no pushing involved in a cesarean, so what would become of the push present!?! But all my pregnancy dreams came true when, upon returning home from the hospital with new baby and a new way of life, my husband presented me with a gift beyond imagine; a necklace with our new daughter’s name and a tiny image of her footprint – along with one delicate, perfectly-placed ruby dangling sweetly beside it. How had he known? Seriously, it was perfect!

So here’s what I know; pregnancy changes things! There are all sorts of things that grow and stretch, that change shapes and sometimes colors, and that show up and might not go away, even with special lotions! It’s hard to feel attractive in your husband’s oversized t-shirts. And so a surprise gift from a significant other, who has seen you naked in all this wonderment, and still wants to kiss you, is an amazing thing. To know that this other person went out one day, not to purchase the replacement vat of rocky-road ice cream you demanded, but to shop for a meaningful gift, really is something special. To know that you were thought of and treasured and loved, even through your last couple of pregnancy tantrums, is a big deal. And to know that someone sees that you are beautiful and strong and feminine, and honors you with a special gift just because of that, is pretty super great.

In conclusion, I support the push present, and I support those who support the push present. I support them large and small. I support them in theory, I support them in reality. I support them home crafted or factory made. I support the gifting of them for those who push, and those who don’t get a chance to. I support them for first pregnancies, and seconds, and thirds, and all. I support them for singletons, and multiples and think there should be a requirement one per. I support the conspiracy. I hope you are supported and congratulations if you’re expecting!

posted Jun ’10






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