So much about motherhood is timeless; the moment of seeing one's child for the first time is such a heady cocktail of emotions no matter when it happens. However, as the Millennial generation (generally thought to be people born 1981-1996) have children, there are certainly some unique factors that make motherhood different for them. If you are a Millennial Mom or know some, know that these factors are having an impact on them!
More Mobile Technology, For Us and Kids
The biggest influence on Millennial Moms is arguably the presence of Internet-capable cell phones throughout our motherhood journeys. Some, though certainly not all, of the impacts have been:
- Easy access to the social internet and to the ability to share pictures and videos from our mothering lives. This can lead to great connections between family, friends, and your children.
- Having to make rules about when children will have access to screens of all kinds, given that children instantly notice if screens are important to our lives.
- Having the ability to work from our technological devices, making versions of the part-time, work-from-home life more available to more people than in pre-Internet days.
- The amount of educational content online has been growing at breakneck speed; our kids can learn just about anything via an educational program now! Millennial moms have to make a choice now about what constitutes education and what constitutes entertainment and how much time they want to devote to each. This is even more true as more video content and laptop use is incorporated into most schools and classrooms.
Pressure to "Have it All" - The "Instagram Family"
While there have always been some forms of celebrity or Mom comparison, the advent of photo and video sharing also has a hard side for a lot of women. The ability to see perfectly staged photos that make other people's motherhood journeys appear perfect on sites like Instagram can lead to unhealthy comparison and dissatisfaction with one's own life. Motherhood has not gotten easier - constant care is always constant care! - but the ability to share airbrushed photos and compare to each other based on beauty, children's activities, vacations, and other metrics has gone up. Millennial Moms, more than other generations, have to develop self-assurance that they are making great parenting choices for their own families even if there are a million pictures and stories on the internet trying to make them feel less worthy.
Working Toward Work-Life Balance
Generations prior to the Millennials had different dominant modes when it came to choosing to stay home with children or work. In general, the trend for many decades has been toward more women in the workforce, and that trend holds true, but there is increased emphasis, in public policy as well as within individual workplaces, for support of motherhood as an essential part of women's work lives. This can include flex time to allow for picking children up from school or daycare, work-from-home options, and more extensive maternal leave policies and regulations. These things were likely desired by many working mothers prior to the Millennial generation, but some of the goals have come to fruition of late for Millennial moms as well as Moms a little older than Millennials.
Stagnating wages tend to make most Millennial Moms feel the pinch, whether they work or stay home or some combination of both. The existence of many ways to make money does not change that Millennial Moms are making just as many creative purchasing choices as any other generation in order to make ends meet.
Changing Availability of Convenience (Hello Delivery!)
There are certain aspects of life that have gotten easier in the era of Millennial adulthood; everything from grocery delivery to Amazon Prime make getting items you need for your family easier than ever before. Services like the Mamava lactation pods in airports make it feel like society is trying to appreciate the unseen and extremely extensive work of Mothers in a more visible way.
Convenience has always been a draw, in whatever form, for Moms; with so much to get done, who can resist a quick meal at a fast food restaurant when trying to get from here to there? The fast pace of modern life has certainly made it feel like Millennial Moms have to rely on convenience items simply to get through their extremely fast-paced days.
In general, motherhood is both full of moments that feel universal and moments that feel completely unique to your own experience. Millennial Moms face the current world's issues - school security, cyberbullying, globalizing society - with their own perspectives, but also with a wide variety of resources never before available at one's fingertips via the Internet. It's an exciting and challenging time to be a Mom... like all the other times to be a Mom!