I realize I sometimes come across as arrogant or self-indulgent in these emails. I’m sorry.

Blame my mom. 

She pretty much convinced me as a kid that I was the greatest thing since sliced bread. And she still does. 

I know it’s part of my schtick to rail on the Boomer parents of Gen Xers – latchkey kids, record divorce rates, etc. And yes, both my parents were married before they married each other, but all I knew was a loving, nuclear family my entire life. 

Yeah, I came home to an empty house, younger than would be socially acceptable today. Hell, I had whole weekends home alone before I was an adult. 

But I never begrudged it. On the contrary. 

I loved sneaking into my dad’s liquor cabinet and refilling what I had pillaged with water. I loved finding out many years later that he knew exactly what I was doing and all the alcohol I had access to was already watered down, by him, in the first place. 

And I love how my mom always had my back, how I could never do any wrong in her eyes – turning me into the egotistical monster I am today. I know she was biting her tongue sometimes, all while telling me how special I was.

Moms have it tough. I’m not just talking about the time-of-the-month, pregnancy, childbirth, and nursing that no man could possibly handle.

It doesn’t stop there.

My almost-full-grown teenage daughters will be sitting right next to me in the kitchen – while Tara is two rooms away – and yell “Mom!” when they need something. Am I really that useless? Or is it some kind of biological thing? Probably both. 

Either way, it sucks for mom.

As much as I’ve screamed from the rooftops about the brutal impact the pandemic has had on women, I’ll never scream loudly enough. Managing kids, managing at-risk aging parents, managing a job (if they were able to keep one), managing their mental and physical health, managing a household. And all the while, making everyone around them – including their hapless spouses – feel special and loved. 

We ask too much.

Which is all to say if there was ever a year to go completely over the top for the moms you care about, it’s 2021.

You have until tomorrow to figure it out.

Here’s what we’re seeing:

It might not be as easy to get a Mother’s Day dinner reservation as you thought it would be. Between the deluge of fully vaccinated Americans and the rest of the people who don’t appear to care, everyone seems ready to head back out into public to eat this Mommy’s Day. In fact, the numbers have rebounded all the way to where they were in 2019. Flowers are still the most popular gift. Maybe just answer “All of the above.”   

Not to harp on this like your mom, but family matters more than anything, whether you’re talking about happiness or success. Probably my favorite thing about this study is how little the results vary based on how wealthy someone is – although people at lower income levels are much more likely to value their health as an ingredient of happiness or success. No surprise, women value family at a higher rate than men. And they’re right.     

We’re about to slam into a vaccination brick wall, especially in the Midwest. Over 55% of currently unvaccinated Americans say they have no plans to get vaccinated. Boo! Reticence is highest in the U.S. South and Midwest, among people in labor and military jobs, but also among people making over $100K in income. At the other end of the spectrum, people in healthcare, education, or corporate/business jobs have been vaccinated the fastest. Good work folks. 

Help me establish the term “Zoom-pressure” as part of the modern lexicon. These are the facts: We’re all using Zoom (or other similar services) even though most of us hate it.I’ve wondered if we’ll all have some video-call-backlash-PTSD kind of thing someday – it might be happening already. Research we published this week looked at trends in work communications and, while video calls are pervasive, they are clearly the least popular means of interaction with our colleagues. Another big takeaway from the study is the remarkable ascendance of Microsoft Teams, particularly among younger workers.  

If you aren’t paying attention to trends in gaming and eSports, you’re getting left behind. We did a deep dive into the world of video games among Gen Zs and Millennials, and there’s way more interesting stuff than I cover here. The extent to which young people are playing – and watching – is incredible. Contrary to conventional wisdom, it’s not gender-skewed as much as you’d think. The most-watched game surprised me too. 

Traditional banks still have a massive trust advantage over digital payments services. Even as digital platforms like PayPal and Venmo are growing, the vast majority of Americans overwhelmingly trust banks more to protect their financial assets. Bit by bit, these digital services are chipping away at the lead banks have among younger consumers, but they have a long way to go. Incidentally, trust in banks across the board has eroded since the financial crisis in the late aughts.  

Other great studies this week:

And our most popular questions:

Answer Key: I can’t believe anyone can answer ‘no’ to this question; Mini-golf, by a mile; At my desk but I’m loving the Pittsburgh-ese use of a preposition in this question; Weekly, without fail; Macaroons. 

Hoping you’re well.



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