About 15 years ago Betty Crocker got a multi-ethnic makeover when General Mills decided to digitally morph the photos of 75 women into a new Betty…one more representative of the nation’s increasingly diverse population. After all, how many fair-skinned, blue-eyed homemakers were ruling American kitchens in 1995?
In fact, according to a report based on 2007 findings released by the U.S. Census last week, the nation’s 5.6 million stay-at-home mothers are more likely to be Hispanic or foreign-born than their working counterparts. Today’s stay-at-home moms skew younger, too; 44 percent are under 35, compared with 38 percent of working moms. (Could that be why the quintessential Betty shed a few years in that dramatic makeover, too?) They’re also less educated.
It’s not easy being a stay-at-home mom (defined by the Census as one with a child under 15 and a spouse who worked the entire previous year, while she did not work for pay during the same period but remained at home to care for the family). Away from the social contact of other adults all day, Parents as Teachers programs are often an important way to break the isolation and bring moms together through play groups and personal visits with a parent educator. These moms are in an ideal situation to encourage their children’s language, social-emotional, problem-solving, cognitive and motor skill development through everyday activities.