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New AARP The Magazine - Mother's Day Survey Reveals Mom Is Twice As Popular As Dad

Olivia Walton is Top TV Mom


Contact: AARP Media Relations, 202-434-2560,

There are a lot of momma’s boys and girls out there. With Mother’s Day upon us, a new AARP The Magazine survey reveals that 40% of Baby Boomers name their mother as their favorite parent, compared to only 20% who say the same of their father. Dads aren’t completely left out in the cold however. Women are more likely than men to name their father as their favorite.

In a survey of over 1,000 Boomers, AARP The Magazine also found that 52% of survey respondents felt closer to their children than their parents were to them, compared to 29% who did not.

“The typical Boomer childhood involved being let loose on the neighborhood with our bikes, baseballs and probably a lizard that some kid found down by the pond,” said AARP The Magazine Editor Steve Slon. “Today’s kids lead much more structured lives, with mom or dad shepherding them to one activity or another. As a result, they are spending a lot more time together, and that probably explains why today’s parents feel closer to their kids.”

However, both men and women are in regular contact with their parents. Seventy-four percent of people say they currently stay in touch with their mother or father by phone, email, mail or personal visits at least once a week; including 29% who stay in touch every day.

In the battle for TV mom supremacy, Olivia Walton (20%) comes out on top followed by:

June Cleever (18%)

Claire Huxtable (16%)

Harriet Nelson (9%)

Carol Brady (7%)

As for the TV moms who played foil to oafish louts, Marge Simpson comes in at 4%, with the long suffering Edith Bunker registering just 1%.

Paradoxically, respondents say that their mother most often played the heavy, but also claim that she was the most fun. Forty-one percent say that mom was the primary disciplinarian, compared to 36% for dad, while mothers were considered more fun by a score of 39%-32%.

Sixty-three percent of people say love was the strongest emotion they felt toward their mother, compared with 41% who say the same about their father. “Fathers are much more likely to garner respect as the dominant emotion,” said Slon. “I’m not sure there is any concrete reason for this. With mothers, what can you say? She’s mom and it’s just a very special relationship for a lot of people.”

As for what people plan to get their mom for Mother’s Day: flowers, taking her out to a restaurant and candy top the list.

Results from this survey were obtained from a nationwide telephone omnibus conducted by International Communications Research between April 13-24, 2005. Responses were gleaned from 1,033 adults, ages 45-59.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization dedicated to making life better for people 50 and over. We provide information and resources; engage in legislative, regulatory and legal advocacy; assist members in serving their communities; and offer a wide range of unique benefits, special products, and services for our members. These include AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, our monthly news publication; Segunda Juventud, our bimonthly Spanish and English magazine; NRTA Live and Learn, our quarterly newsletter for National Retired Teachers Association members; and our Web site, We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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