SINGAPORE — Over the past couple of months, “girl math” seems to have taken social media by storm, with the hashtag currently standing at over 871 million views on TikTok, more than double its tally just three weeks ago.
The viral TikTok trend, in which young women rationalise their money habits or spending in inventive ways that do not always make mathematical sense, has also spawned spin-offs such as “boy math” which mocks embarrassing and hypocritical male behaviour.
Its latest evolution is “mom math”, where mothers share how they calculate the time needed to get out of their house with their kids or how they justify spending money on baby clothes and milk powder, shedding light on the mental load that a mother faces daily.
The #mommath hashtag has already racked up 10 million views on TikTok as of Thursday (Oct 12), with a number of netizens commenting on some videos of how they can relate to mom math.
#MOMMATH WHEN IT COMES TO BABIES
How do moms do the math when it comes to babies? Singapore-based influencer Midi describes it as such:
If she spends money on toys that her baby has fun with, or if she buys “the most expensive but (the) most comfortable” baby clothes, it’s freeIf she spends S$100 on milk powder and her baby gains weight, or if she puts her baby to sleep successfully, she makes S$1 millionIf she spends a dollar on anything for her husband, she loses S$1 millionAnd if she uses her husband’s credit card, anything is free
On X (formerly Twitter), South African comedian Kenwyn David weighed in: “Mom math is making a blikkie pilchards (Afrikaans for can of sardines) and a bread stretch from supper to school lunch for the next day.”
Indeed, it appears that home cooking is where mom math really peaks. If you’re confused, Ms Lee’s video puts things into perspectives by bringing in the numbers.
When preparing a single serving of fried rice at home, the ingredient cost is only S$1, Ms Lee explains. If a plate of fried rice bought elsewhere costs S$6, this means that she has saved S$5.
“Plus, it’s confirm healthier, so actually I save S$1,000 from (not) going to the hospital with a heart attack,” she boasts. “So every time I cook at home for myself, actually I make S$1,005!”
Of course, when cooking for a family of five, this profit multiplies to S$5,025. It’s just simple mathematics.
MEASUREMENTS? DON’T KNOW THEM
Asian-American teacher and mom influencer Rebecca Schlafer, who posted an “Asian mom math” video on TikTok on Tuesday, also had some things to say about the intricacies of home cooking.
Holding up her index finger to the camera and motioning to its higher-most crease, she instructs: “This line on your finger is gonna give you the perfect water ratio to make the best rice.”
In the next clip, she continues: “Don’t ask your mom for the recipe — they don’t ever really measure anything. But it always tastes perfect.”
@mrs.shewolf34 Asian Mom Math #asianmom #japanesemom #girlmath #asianparents #fypシ #teachercomedy #millennialsontiktok ♬ original sound – rebecca schlafer
Ms Anabel Chew, a Singaporean mother of two and co-founder of fitness centre WeBarre, took to Instagram last Monday to break down her version of mom math.
Giving herself a hypothetical departure time of 8.30am in the video, she works backwards to figure out what time she would need to wake up.
After considering a multitude of factors, with 10 minutes dedicated to choosing shoes for her kids, she concludes that she will need to wake up at 6.30am to get herself ready, pack her bags and start preparing breakfast.
In a second video posted last Monday, she went into more detail about how her schedule is defined by her children’s “wake windows”, or the periods of time when a baby is awake between naps, and why she is only available for brunch from 11am to 12.30pm.
On a more serious note, mom math has put a spotlight on the mental burden that moms bear in such meticulous daily planning and scheduling.
While Instagram users called Ms Chew’s video “200 per cent relatable”, they also noted that it was difficult to explain to others or get support from them, with one sharing that it “took (her) years to educate (her) in-laws and husband about wake windows”.
Kiss 92 deejay Jillian Kimberly Lim also called for Ms Chew to do another video about dinner so she could “tag all (her) single friends and educate them, while doctor and strategy consultant Rachel Ho said simply: “Love this. All dads need to see this.”
As mom influencer Cara shared in the Instagram caption of a similar video: “The mental load of mom math can get HEAVY — it’s constant. There’s no break.”