A new book argues that it really ought to be. It notes about 75 percent of America's 108 million adult women have children and control well over half the buying decisions in the U.S. economy.
"The Mom Factor: What Really Drives Where We Shop, Eat, and Play," by California consultant Nora Lee, was published last month by the Urban Land Institute. It offers stores, restaurants and other family venues a checklist to lure and please mothers:
Health and safety: Moms anticipate danger, whether it's a nasty restroom, a spill on the floor or foods loaded with fat and sugar. Remove these problems, and Mom will more likely return.
Value: Cheap is not always a good deal. Mom's idea of value translates to "a balance of reasonable prices, decent quality and good selection."
Efficiency: Time is money, hence the appearance of Starbucks in banks and stamps sold from ATMs.
Customer service: Mom wants good attention, but will usually request it in a soft, self-deprecating manner, Lee says. Snooty waiters who dread children won't get much in the way of tips or repeat business, but a waiter who brings a toddler crackers or an older child crayons will be rewarded.
Fun: Regardless of the recreation destination — mall, beach, museum or athletic event — Mom aims for the most fun for the most people, and all too often sacrifices her own enjoyment for that of others, Lee says. The destination that aids her in that quest will win both her dollars and loyalty