Toronto, ON – As families across Canada prepare to celebrate Mother’s Day on May 14, a new Ipsos survey commissioned by The Social Stepmom reveals that Canadians with a stepmother may be less inclined to join in. Only half (52%) of Canadians with a stepmom say they’re likely (24% very / 27% somewhat) to celebrate her on Mother’s Day, leaving nearly half (48%) who are not likely to celebrate their stepmom (25% not at all/23% not very). By contrast, the overwhelming majority of Canadians whose biological mother is still living – nearly nine in ten (85%) – say they’re likely to celebrate their mom on Mother’s Day (62% very / 23% somewhat).
Nearly two in ten (17%) female participants aged 25 and over are step-mothers themselves, and the survey finds that their expectations of being celebrated on Mother’s Day match up with step-children’s intentions: fewer than half of step-mothers (42%) think it’s likely that they will be celebrated as step-moms this Mother’s Day (14% very / 28% somewhat). Conversely, a majority of step-mothers (58%) think it’s unlikely (13% not at all / 45% not very) that they will be celebrated by their step-children.
Perceptions and Relationships
About two in ten (17%) survey participants have a step-mother themselves. Over half (53%) of these step-children disagree (24% strongly / 28% somewhat) that their stepmom is just as important to them as their biological mother. Nearly half (47%) agree (15% strongly / 32% somewhat) that they are just as important. By contrast, a majority of step-mothers (87%) agree (53% strongly / 33% somewhat) that their step-children are just as important to them as their biological children are, or would be.
While nearly nine in ten Canadians (86%) agree (48% strongly / 38% somewhat) that step-mothers can be just as active as biological mothers are at raising their children, popular perceptions of what step-mothers are like often don’t reflect this. Eight in ten Canadians (80%) agree (20% strongly / 60% somewhat) that step-mothers are often depicted unfairly in pop culture, whether on TV, in movies or books (89% of step-mothers agree). More than three in four Canadians (77%) agree (17% strongly / 60% somewhat) that step-mothers are generally under-appreciated. Eight in ten (82%) step-moms themselves agree, while three in four step-children (74%) share this view.
Further, one in three step-children (33%) admit (11% strongly / 23% somewhat) they’ve been rude or unfair to a step-mother in the past (compared to 12% of the overall population).
Available Resources for Stepmoms
Two in three Canadian step-mothers (67%) feel (16% strongly / 51% somewhat) that there’s a lack of resources like websites, blogs or family support groups to help them in their role as step-mothers. Overall, nearly six in ten (58%) Canadians agree (10% strongly / 47% somewhat). This shortage of resources comes at a time when a majority of Canadians (and in some cases, an even stronger majority of step-moms) agree that step-mothers face a variety of challenges, including:
- Different parenting styles between step-mothers and their spouse or step-children: 82% of Canadians agree (17% strongly / 65% somewhat), as do 91% of step-moms;
- Feeling under-appreciated: 77% agree (15% strongly / 63% somewhat), along with 74% of step-moms;
- Exes trying to make life difficult for them, such as with scheduling or undermining them: 72% agree (19% strongly / 53% somewhat), as do 85% of step-moms;
- Their spouse siding with their step-children instead of them: 67% agree (11% strongly / 56% somewhat), along with 56% of step-moms;
- Feeling like they’re the least important person in the household: 58% agree (11% strongly / 47% somewhat), as do 48% of step-moms.
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between April 3 and April 6, 2017, on behalf of The Social Stepmom. For this survey, a sample of 1,003 Canadians from Ipsos' online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/ - 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.
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Ipsos Public Affairs
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