Finally, we can quantify the motherhood-related fatigue. Based on their use of emoji, moms are four times wearier than everyone else .
Moms also have 2.5 times as much heart: .
We looked at a total of 40,343 Tumblr posts from Dec 19, 2014 to Jan 20, 2015. Tumblr communities keep track of each other using tags, so we grabbed everything that was tagged with “motherhood”, “mom blog”, “mom life”, or “mumblr”. This is basically the English-speaking world, so we could’ve also called this post eMumji. The other thing to note here is that most of this data is by new moms, so it doesn’t describe our mothers.
One thing that is true about Tumblr: there are a lot of repostings. Let’s say something is unique if nothing else has the same first 100 characters. Doing that brings us to 22,887 unique posts.
- 2,744 posts have emoji—that’s about 12% of the posts. Most just have a single emoji.
- There are 845 different emoji to track. Tumblr moms use 302 of them. The median number of uses for any given emoji is 3; we’ll focus on the emoji that occur in at least 75 different posts.
Here are the most frequent emoji used by mothers, in order. Just in case they don’t show up, we’ll give their cheat sheet codes.
Right away you’ll notice :christmas_tree: and :santa: are in the top items. Well, the data we’re look at is Dec 19th to Jan 20th, so we don’t think this is about “moms”, just time.
You might also ask which of the other ones are over- or under-represented. To answer this, I’m going to compare these mom-tumblr emoji rates to overall rates of emoji use on Twitter since July 2013.
Babies on the brain
As you might guess, Tumblr moms are using a lot more :baby: emoji than the general Twitter population—they use :baby: 40 times more than expected.
2.5 times the love, only 60% of weeping joy
Mommy bloggers are using twice as many :two_hearts:. Three times as many :heart_eyes:. If we combine all the hearty stuff (), it’s 2.5 times more than we’d expect.
And while :joy: is their third most popular choice, moms actually use it at a much lower rate than expect—only about 60% of the rate of people on Twitter. Since you’re probably curious, :sob: is just a little bit elevated, but not by much.
The purple hearts of mothers
Tumblr moms are also using over four times as many :purple_hearts: and :blue_hearts: as people on Twitter. Thankfully, the :green_heart: is rare everywhere. Gangrenous blood pumpers are gross.
Most of the patterns make sense. But what’s happening with the purple and blue hearts? The counts are a bit low for us to have anything really substantive. But it looks as though purple hearts (compared to blog posts with emojis but without purple/blue hearts) have a disproportionate amount of she’s, she, your, and you. Meanwhile, blue hearts are disproportionately associated with his, he, him.
As you might guess, a lot of these male pronouns have to do with a baby boy—so what we’re seeing with the blue hearts is the gendered association of boys-and-blue.
There isn’t a pink heart available in the standard set of emoji, so what seems to be happening is that mothers who have daughters draw upon purple and its associations of extravagance and princessishness .
If you want to read more about emoji, we’ve got you covered:
- The grammar of emoji
- Smile, you’re speaking emoji
- The history of emoji (“Isaac Newton vs. millions of Japanese teens”)
And in a closely related vein, dialects of emoticons—what it means to have a nose 🙂 or to drop it 🙂