Millennials have been shaking things up in every part of life and parenting is no exception. The world we're raising our kids in today seems pretty different than generations past. The village that millennial's parents and grandparents had now consists of paid childcare and online mommy groups. Millennial moms are now raising their kids in an age when the "village" often can't be trusted.
Schools don't feel safe. Social media rules our lives, but we have to find some safe balance for our kids' social media presence. It's somewhere between complete secrets and putting everything out there. We still aren't sure the exact safety risks that are associated with parents using social media, but we know that it certainly has changed the game.
At some point, we stopped supporting one another and began mommy shaming anyone who dared to have a different style of parenting than ourselves. Maybe that's because social media has given many of us an influx of words or because there are now more ways to parent than ever before. Millennials are often both criticized and praised for doing things their own way. Some more old school parents use terms like "helicopter parent" or "free range" parenting when referring to the variety of parenting styles that millennials use. Some are critical of the preference for the natural and organic.
We constantly hear "my kids were fine," and while that is true we also have new research, technology, and information. Why wouldn't we use it to our advantage and our kids' benefit? Know better, do better right? Parenting is certainly changing, but that doesn't make a mom's job any easier. Our generation is constantly critiqued for our priorities, but as moms, we still selflessly put our children first.
21 Consulting Our Own Moms
Virtual mommy groups and parenting websites are the first places we check when we have a mommy question or concern. Many of us parent differently than our own parents did in one way or another. We seek out advice from people who have similar beliefs and parenting styles. In some cases, we would rather get advice from strangers than our own parents.
Sometimes our pride gets in the way. We don't want to admit our flaws or failures as moms, even though our own moms likely had similar ones. According to 12 New Rules All Millennial Moms Are Following, millennial moms are more likely to use the internet for parenting questions, recipes, or any other thing we may need.
Weaning baby from breast and the bottle has definitely changed over the years. Many moms follow baby's lead for this as well lending out our bodies to our babies much longer than just the 9 months of pregnancy. According to BabyCenter, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests breastfeeding for at least one year, but longer can be beneficial for both mom and baby as well.
It seems that millennial moms have certainly taken a back to basics approach to feeding baby as many have opted to breastfeed up to a year and even two years of age.
While breastfeeding can have benefits for mom, it also means our body still isn't quite our own. We have to watch what we eat and drink a bit (no six cups of coffee a day). It also means more sleepless nights and time tethered to our baby.
19 Home Ownership
According to HousingWire, the number of millennials buying homes decreased in the last year due to market conditions. About one-third of all buyers were millennials, but that number is not likely to increase unless more Generation X-er's begin to sell as millennials will likely opt to rent.
Millennials are a generation that has certainly shown no problem with renting. Renting gives us the freedom to pick up and move more easily. It also leaves us with less responsibility and commitment.
As a parent renting can be tough though because we likely live a lot closer to other people, some of which may wake our sleeping baby with their noisy feet or music. Sure it may be great waiting for our perfect home, but we also may end up finding ourselves stuck with a crummy landlord, rude neighbors, or having to move at an inconvenient time because our building sold.
18 The Mini-Van Purchase
It's not that no one wants to drive a mini-van, but it's just something that most of us swear we'll never do. That is until we are parents, of course. Minivans come with a stereotype that has put a bad taste in many of our mouths which leads us to put off this purchase as long as absolutely possible.
Today's Parent perfectly explains our issue with the mini van purchase perfectly, saying it feels like we're trading it our "cool factor" for much needed practicality. Truth be told, we might be. But the spacious vehicle with sliding doors and a back-up camera are well worth the hit to our coolness.
So instead of sacrificing a little style for a whole lot of convenience, we struggle with car seats and SUVS. We load those things up with strollers, pack n plays, and baby bags while still trying to find room to put all of the necessary groceries for our growing family.
We fight jerky parkers who don't leave us enough space to comfortably open our car door wide enough to put our baby in.
Seriously moms, get the mini-van. It might not look "cool," but the sliding doors are very cool! Doors we can open with our key fob in hand as we approach our van, very cool. Seats that have enough room for multiple car seats to sit safe and comfortably and far enough apart our kids can't hit each other, super cool.
17 Taking Baby Out
There's no "right" time to expose our new bundle of joy to the general public.
People are gross. Germs are everywhere. It can be a scary world out there for a new mom so quite a few opt to lock ourselves in our homes where it is "safe."
Just how long is it reasonable to do that though? One article on Parents.com suggests waiting about 6 to 8 weeks before taking baby out in public. That's a long time especially if we have other kiddos who are not going to be thrilled about being cooped up in the house.
We all just want to do what is best for our babies. Some more seasoned moms mock the fact that we shut ourselves and babies away from the world for a while to bond and avoid germs. Life must go on, and Amazon Prime only delivers so much right?
Pumping is a necessary pain for breastfeeding moms. It helps us stock pile liquid gold for when we go back to work or are away from the baby. According to TheBump, experts suggest waiting until 4 to 8 weeks to start pumping.
This time is obviously dependent on when mom is returning to work or how soon she'll need to leave the baby. Some of us delay it until we absolutely can't anymore simply because pumping is a rather undesirable task. This leaves us in a jam if we don't have enough milk stored up for baby.
Ideally, we are supposed to pump for every feeding that we aren't with the baby. We can also pump after or as we breastfeed baby. We obviously need to do more, especially as we being, to get a good stash started.
15 Putting Baby In Own Room
According to Time.com, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that we sleep in the same room (not bed) as our baby for the first year of baby's life. Of course we are going to want to do what is best for baby's safety, but that doesn't mean it doesn't cost us some sleep.
Some parents find that baby wakes up more often if they are in the same room as Mom and Dad. It's probably true for most of us as we go to bed likely after baby, have TVs on, phones go off, and alarms that can all wake our sleeping bundle of joy when we share a room. It can also really hinder our chances of getting busy when our baby is sleeping just feet away from us.
Then there's the added struggle of what do we do after a year. Our baby has adapted to his environment A.K.A. our bedroom after sleeping there for nearly 365 days. It is no surprise that he likely struggles a bit when we put him in a new room after a year costing us sleep.
14 Starting A Family
As of 2014, the average age of a first time mom was 26.3 as reported by NPR.org. As we all know, our fertility decreases as we get older. Though 26 isn't exactly barren womb old, it is two years older than the age women were becoming moms 15 years ago. That age is still climbing as we put off motherhood longer.
We often have good reason for waiting to have kids. We want job security or financial security. We have our own personal goals we want to accomplish before settling down or becoming responsible for tiny humans. Though that doesn't mean it makes it easier to start a family. There's never a perfect time to start a family, but it is much more difficult to start a family after 33 years of age when our fertility has decreased.
13 Asking For Help
Parenting is hard. As moms we wear many hats and that can leave even the toughest of us feeling exhausted and in need of some alone time.
It seems that our generation wants to do it all. The thing is we can’t do it all, especially not alone. Sometimes we have to take the hit to our pride and ask for help whether that be hiring a nanny, having a parent help us, or asking for a break from our spouse.
We need time to recharge our batteries. Charismamag.com talks about how many of us need a break in order to be better mothers. So really we are doing ourselves and our children a favor by letting someone lend a hand.
It truly does take a village. For generations parents have utilized these villages, but millennials seem reluctant to use theirs. We can only be in so many places at once. Sometimes we need help with rides for our kiddos or a sitter so we can take one to the doctor. Leaving our kids for a bit with someone we trust will not hurt them. It can even help them strengthen other relationships.
12 The Big Snip
One thing that we generally do at the hospital after baby is born is circumcise him. Now that is on the list of things that have turned a little more divisive like the Vitamin K shot or eye ointment.
Do we really want to make such a personal decision for our baby boy? Some moms feel that is something that he should be able to decide when he is older. In theory that is a great idea, but the procedure as an older male can be more complicated and painful.
According to ChildrensHospital.org, the procedure can be done at any age. Prior to 6 months though only local anesthesia is used and afterwards it is generally done with general. That alone makes the procedure a little more complicated. As a younger baby, it is easier for mom to care for it with diaper changes than say if baby is potty trained.
11 Taking A Break
We all need a break sometimes. Really, we should all get some kind of break or alone time on a regular basis. It helps us keep our sanity along with be better moms and wives. One article from ScaryMommy points out just the ridiculous lengths we need to go to in order to get some alone time. She lists things like food poisoning and gynecologist appointments. They seem outrageous to someone who isn't a mother, but many of us understand all too well.
We often find ourselves stretched too thin with way too much on our plates, but we're still hesitant to ask for a break. We feel guilty even though we have nothing to feel guilty about. Moms are humans too. We need to rest and recharge and relax!
One thing our generation is greatly criticized for is how we discipline our kids. Many older generations think it's more that we don't. One study reported by Forbes shows that millennials are disciplining their kids less than previous generations. Many are quick to criticize millennials for this as it can easily lead to disrespectful children.
In some ways, millennials are trying to avoid the discipline mistakes our parents made.
We need to draw a clear line between parent and friend when it comes to our kids. In some ways, we're criticized for being too strict and being helicopter parents or being too nice and being pushovers.
By being weak on the discipline front, we are setting ourselves up for failure. If our kids don't listen or respect us, that is hard to correct. While it is obviously extremely difficult to reason with a toddler or generally explain consequences, we do need to get in the routine.
8 Making Kids Eat (Certain Foods)
The relationship our kids will have with eating and food is being developed right now. We are no longer in the clean your plate days. We are the parent though, and it is our job to make sure our kids get adequate nutrition.
So where do we draw the line at making sure our kids are getting enough fruits and vegetables or setting them up for future food failures? According to NBCnews control is often a reason our kids refuse certain foods, especially the idea of trying them.
Just like most kids, change and new things make kids scared and unlikely to try them. The later we wait to try new foods for our kids, the scarier and more difficult it will be. We may be letting them make their own choices, but they don't know better. We do. We don't want to set our kids up to be picky eaters or green bean haters.
7 Turning Car Seats Forward
Rear facing longer isn't really for mom's benefit, but it is for our baby's safety. Now their legs aren't scrunched. Our seats get dirtier. It's harder to get our kids in the car. But all of these are way worth it if it means our bundles of joy are safer!
Car seat safety is not what it was 20 years ago or even 10 years ago. We have new safety research and ideas that our parents didn't know about when we were kids. We really don't see kids riding in the front seat anymore as babies, but many of our parents probably took us home from the hospital in the front seat.
Today though we know from the American Academy of Pediatrics, as reported by Parenting.com, that kids should be rear-facing until at least two years of age (or until they outgrow the maximum requirements of their seat).
6 Starting Solids
When we start solids with our baby is a topic that has changed over the years and some parents get pretty heated about it. Everyone has heard that food before one is just for fun. It seems that when we start foods is getting pushed back later and later.
It used to be suggested to start between 4 and 6 months if baby showed signs of readiness. Now KellyMom recommends waiting until 6 to 8 months to start foods and watch for cues that baby is developmentally ready.
This can be pretty frustrating. Some moms have used or suggested using rice cereal as a means to keep baby full longer. The idea is that if baby is full longer, she'll sleep longer; therefore, we will get more sleep.
5 Taking Away Pacifiers
The pacifier is that wonderful comfort object that many of our children fell in love with as babies and often take into toddlerhood. It helps them self soothe and sometimes even sleep. According to Parents.com, most kids will hand over their pacifiers without much fuss by age 3 or 4.
Waiting that long though is a little controversial because some worry about how it will impact baby's dental development. Plus does our walking, talking toddler really need to be sucking on a binky? It can also impact the way our child talks.
Many of us don't want to take away pacifiers and be the bad guy. It's not a fun job to do, but as the parents it is our job. Our toddlers can't rule the roost. While many moms have been waiting until after 2 years old to take away the pacifier, hoping our kiddo will understand better, we still likely have an uphill battle ahead of us.
4 Allowing Screen Time
Millennials are a generation who are constantly criticized for our use of screens and technology so it is no surprise that many of us want to do things differently when it comes to our own kids. We don’t utilize morning cartoons like our own parents did. Often times millennial moms are pretty strict when it comes to TV, smartphones, and tablet usage and our kids.
According to Forbes, screen time can cause problems like smartphone addiction, shift brain connectivity, and impact kids' health and mental health. Today we have more screens than ever before with TVs, computers, tablets, and smartphones just being the tip of the iceberg. More than a few of us are guilty of handing our kids a tablet or smartphone when they need to be distracted so we can have a full adult conversation or get through a doctor appointment in some kind of peace.
While millennials are often criticized for their smartphone usage, many would believe our parents, Generation X-ers, are the ones to blame. As they would set us up with cartoons while they cooked, cleaned, ate, or whatever, we are a little more aware of how much TV our children are watching and using it as a means to distract or even babysit them. It can make our jobs a bit harder as we have to entertain and get our work done.
3 Potty Training
We hear about this magic window for when we should potty train our kids. Potty training is one area where we as moms have started to follow our child's lead instead of doing it on our timeline. According to WebMD, the average age of potty training is about 3 years old for both boys and girls. It has risen pretty significantly as WebMD reported that it was about 18 months back in the 1940s.
It's pretty crazy how much longer we are waiting to potty train our children. It's not like we enjoy changing diapers. Moms today have let children do the toilet thing on their own timeline instead of us forcing them because kids tend to be a bit more successful and better understand it. For us though, that does mean about an extra year of diapers than moms previously had.
Vaccinations have gone from being a rather universal "duh" to being divisive. Today some parents take them more as an option or suggestion than necessary and routine as previously. As many parents have been opting out of vaccines lately, some are also creating their own schedules or following a delayed vaccination plan.
According to the CDC, there aren't any benefits really to delaying vaccinations. The CDC states that during those delays we risk our children contracting the disease or illness themselves since they aren't protected by an immunization.
We have a lot of research today when it comes to what is best for our kids medically. While we are their advocates, we aren't experts. Some of these choices can also cause us a real headache when it comes to signing kids up for sports, daycare, school, and other activities.
1 Stop Caring What Others Think
Our lives are all over social media. We have a constant peanut gallery chiming in on our parenting styles and abilities. It can really hurt our confidence as parents and make us question our judgement way more than necessary. We see the horror stories of moms being shamed for their kid’s grocery store tantrum or forward facing car seats too soon.
None of us want to be that mom. We don’t want to find our own picture out there on the web with some stranger deeming us a terrible parent because we gave our toddler a sucker to make it through an essential shopping run.
This is a struggle that many of our parents and generations before us didn’t have to worry about. One study reported by Fortune.com reported that millennials spend about 6 hours per week on social media. We see mommy shaming on it all the time. We have our virtual mommy groups where we debate who's the better mother and things like screen time or organic produce.
No one criticized the mom who let her kid scream it out because she wouldn’t buy him a toy or called her cruel for disciplining her children. There was no way to put these things out publicly and really embarrass people like there is today.