Millennials are a demographic that’s tough to define, but it’s often said that millennials are the people born between the 1980s through to the early 2000s. They grew up with newly emerging technology like satellite TV and flip phones, and easily adjusted to iPods and Facebook from beginning MP3 players and Myspace. They're said to be lazy, although they prefer to be defined as creative, flexible, and passionate about what moves them.
Now that we’ve entered our child-bearing years, there’s a lot of discussion around not only millennials as people, but millennial women as moms. As if being a mom isn’t hard enough regardless of age, now our demographic is seemingly targeted by everyone who disagrees with any part of how we parent. While our challenges aren’t any worse than those faced by previous generations of moms, they are unique to our demographic.
With technology, science, research, politics, social norms, and ever-changing everything, millennial moms are understandably overwhelmed. We’re trying to be badass mom bosses while taking care of the house and kids, and for the most part, we’re proud of ourselves. Don’t think we’re killing it? Check out this list of 15 new struggles that only millennial moms face.
15 Toddler Tweets
Technology has always burned moms. We shouldn’t let our kids sit in front of the TV, experts say. But when every other kid in the neighborhood can recite lines from the newest show, ours are going to want in. If it’s not TV, it’s tablets or smart phones or gaming systems. When we were growing up, we were lucky if we had a few satellite TV channels or a flip phone, but our kids have piles of technology at their fingertips. It’s no surprise that even toddlers are learning about Twitter, and tweens are posted all over Instagram.
It’s true that technology is always changing, and every generation has dealt with the emerging trends, but ours is inundated. Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, plus online gaming and smartphone apps let our kids go places we’ve never even heard of- and we’re supposed to be the rising tech generation.
14 Generational Hate
It seems like millennials are catching the brunt of every previous generation’s pent up anger. Everything is our fault, from the stock market to the state of jobs in the country, to the up and coming hooligans who are ruining society. Or maybe we are those up and coming hooligans? Not sure when we had time to ruin society between trying to pay off college debt and finding a “real” job, but okay.
It’s hard to find a generation whose basic life circumstances have garnered so much hate and judgment. We’re not as lazy as the older generations would like to think, and we sure aren’t lying around doing nothing like we’ve been accused of. Raising kids is hard work, and we could do without older folks judging us simply based on our age. There’s more to us than the year we were born.
13 Unwanted Parenting Advice
Have you read about the recent studies that show spanking is bad? It’s been in the news, since it’s a huge revelation about mental health and the way kids learn to cope when physical abuse is used as punishment. Our generation is being accused of coddling our kids, with attachment parenting at the forefront, but science tells us that hitting our kids isn’t good for their development.
We’re trying to blend positive parenting with raising humans who don’t suck, and while we’re hard at work teaching our kids not to be pansies, but also to be kind, commentators are telling us how horribly we’re ruining future generations. Here’s the thing though- if millennials are so awful, who’s to blame for raising us? And why is it expected that we’re going to raise our kids the same way we were brought up?
12 Do It All Boss Babes
Most days, I feel like I’m barely holding it together. But it seems society’s expectation is that I’ll not only be a boss mom when it comes to work, I’ll also master every Pinterest craft my little children’s hearts desire, serve up home cooked meals that please every taste bud in the house, and bring home six figures all at the same time.
Not that we yearn for the chauvinistic ideals of yesteryear, but it would be nice to not be expected to handle every facet of home life and parenting while kicking ass on the job. There are plenty of moms who rock it, yes, but that’s not normal! The rest of us get overwhelmed and stressed and sometimes don’t think we’ll make it through the day. Society’s expectations for millennial moms are not just high, they’re incomprehensible.
11 Momming All The Time
Coupled with society’s demand that we exceed expectations in every area of our lives, we’re also expected to drop everything the moment our darling offspring need us. High powered jobs be damned, when the baby has a cough, we’d better be there to soothe and dote on him. We are obviously not allowed to enjoy our jobs- that is, if we work outside the home in the first place.
Beyond playdates and wiping snotty noses, millennial moms are expected to pour every ounce of themselves into their kids’ wellbeing. It is draining, especially when you realize that no other generation before us put that high of a price on being a parent. What happened to the old days when you could send the kids outside to play all day and watch your soaps on the couch?
10 It’s My Job - Seriously
Moms of yesteryear either stayed home and tended to the house and kids, or they were out in the corporate world making waves. It’s hard for people to believe that millennial moms do both. Well, not out in the world, exactly, but we’re making waves with our online presence and our run-from-home business. Think about it- how many millennial moms do you know who work from home, whether full time with a big company, freelancing on their own, or through selling branded merchandise?
From health coaches to bloggers, millennial moms are working from home in numbers never seen before. We’re up to date with technology, we need the cash flow, and we can still take care of our homes and our kids while making that money. Yet there are critics who are either just haters, or they really don’t understand how blogging is an actual job.
9 Helicoptering 101
While our generation leans toward free-range parenting, where kids learn to do stuff for themselves rather than crying for us every ten minutes, it seems society expects the opposite. Millennial moms are supposed to watch their kids like a hawk. While previous generations were allowed to enroll kids in daycare while they stayed home and took care of their “wifely” duties, we can’t catch a break.
If we send our kids to daycare or preschool for a break, we’re being bad moms. If we want to have a night out with the girls, we’re suddenly boozy whores who can’t keep their legs closed. In the past, moms were allowed to day drink or send the toddler out to play without hovering, but we can’t have a spa day with the girls to recover from five straight years of little sleep and milk-stained clothing.
8 It Takes A Village
When we were growing up, it wasn’t uncommon for our parents to send us down the street to hang out at the neighbors’, or to ship us off to grandma’s for a week or two in the summer. But for millennial moms, there’s a huge lack of parenting support. If it takes a village to raise a child, our kids might never reach adulthood!
Back when we were younger, it wasn’t just mom and dad depending on each other (or not!) to raise the kids. Extended family and close friends helped out. Now that almost every household is a two-income one, it’s rare to find anyone who has enough free time to watch the kids at all, let alone for a couple weeks when the summer break is driving us insane.
7 We Don’t Have A Clue
If you haven’t heard of Dr. Harvey Karp, his book and DVD might help you navigate early parenthood. Based on our own childhoods, his research shows that many millennials don’t have the exposure to babies and young kids that other generations have had. We likely had smaller families, with less babies to take care of at our young ages, so may not even change a diaper until we’ve delivered our own baby.
There’s a serious learning curve for millennials, as much as we google and read online to figure it all out. There’s only so much a book can tell us (although Dr. Karp’s is a great start), since experience counts the most. While we’re not the first to mess up with the early diaper changes, millennial moms do have to earn their baby tending credentials.
6 Research Changes The Game
Just like the new research saying parents shouldn’t spank, new insight on infant sleep and development is warning us away from swaddling babies. It was a common trick to get babies to sleep in the past, but now this new research has parents freaking out about hurting their babies’ bones or messing up their hips for life. We do our research, yes, but it seems like it’s constantly changing.
We still have to refuse our grandparents’ suggestions of rum in the baby’s bottle, or dosing him with meds to get him to sleep, so why so much argument about listening to current information on what’s best for baby? Doing the same thing that previous generations did isn’t a good idea if it’s currently reported to be unsafe- and we should know, because we spend hours poring over parenting advice online!
5 Competition Is Draining
With most of our existence online centering around our kids, millennial moms are used to being in the spotlight. The difficult part of growing up with this technology dependence is that we seek out acceptance and friendship from people who only see part of our lives online. Millennial moms are worried about people’s perceptions of them, online and off, so they tend to only share the stellar parenting moments, and not the negative ones.
We know we’re not perfect, but there’s a huge pressure to be perfect placed on millennial mamas. Our house needs to be impeccable, our kids need to be impeccable, and we need that perfectly framed Facebook or Insta post to show our followers how well we’re keeping it all together. Since we are, for the moment at least.
4 Catching Grief For Stay At Home Dads
Thanks to the trailblazing by past generations, women are closer than ever to being treated equally as men in the workplace and beyond. In fact, in many cases, it makes more financial sense for millennial dads to stay home with the kids and the millennial moms to go back to work. That higher salary and a more equal balance of parenting responsibility means millennial moms catch criticism for not being the homemaker.
Sure, it’s tradition, but why is it seemingly mandated that millennial moms stay home with their kids? Dads are perfectly capable of handling childrearing, and making healthy meals and taking care of the house. If it works for them, it works for us, so there’s no reason to be judging millennial moms for choosing to work outside the home, especially if dad is there!
3 Drowning In Debt
Too many millennials overpaid for college and now can’t afford to pay off their skyrocketing debt. Whether our families were planned or not, there’s no reason to hate on us for carrying debt over our heads. It’s tough enough to raise a family and keep your head above water, but it’s worse when there’s a looming financial challenge.
Because of inflation rates, it might seem like we’re making bank compared to past generations of moms. But the cost of living went up with wages, so we’re no better off than older generations. We also have four years of tuition to pay back, too. While paying for diapers, clothes, and food for one or more mouths. We’re also battling criticisms from the camp of people who believe you shouldn’t have a family until you have a few hundred thousand bucks in the bank. We’ll take a check, please.
2 Is It Hot In Here?
We’ve heard enough about past political scandals to know that the games are nothing new. But the political climate seems to be heating up, which puts us on edge about our children’s futures. Apart from depression-era childrearing, we might be parenting in the worst social and political period ever in the US. It’s hard to know what to tell our kids, but we have the responsibility to be honest and proactive with them.
It’s hard to rectify what our hopes were for our future with the reality of what our kids will experience, especially when it comes to overall acceptance of diversity. As millennials, we’re already open to new experiences and different people, so the idea that the future is headed in another direction is scary for our kids’ futures.
1 Navigating Identity
While we’re thrilled that the past’s LGBT acronym is adding more of the alphabet, we’re nervous for what that means for our kids. We wouldn’t want our children to live “in the closet,” so to speak, and we hate that it happened for so many people prior to our generation. At the same time, it’s scary to consider how our gender non-conforming child will be received when they start school. It’s hard to navigate the social constructs that dictate whether our child should be treated as a boy or a girl simply based on appearance or external genitalia.
Luckily, millennials are, for the most part, open minded. So hopefully we’ll raise our kids’ generation to carry on our ideals of diversity and acceptance, regardless of what our own children’s realities are.