Maybe I’ve watched too many black-and-white TV shows, but I yearn for a time when kids washed their hands before dinner, only spoke when they were spoken to and went to sleep shortly after supper.
I know I sound old-fashioned but I swear I’m a strong-willed, independent millennial mom.
And it sucks.
More than 16 million women in the U.S. are millennial moms (typically, those between the ages of 18 and to 35). In my experience, being a millennial mom is synonymous with endless options and extreme pressure. Now balance this against what society still expects; women who “have it all.” What that means in reality? A full-time job, a 3-year-old son, a husband, a few close friends and maybe a little time for me in the mix (maybe).
Then there’s social media. Us millennial moms spend way too much time on it (17.4 hours a week, to be exact). Not that you can blame us. It’s hard to resist the bottomless well that is the internet when you’re facing a parenting crisis. Unfortunately, though, that means we constantly feel pitted in competition with other moms who are also crowd-sourcing the best way to parent.
And we’re not the only ones with too many options.
My son owns more toys than a Toys"R"Us. He also has a tablet, my old cellphone, DVDs and a television in his room. The kid has too many options. He gets too much say in what he wears, refuses to eat, what time he goes to sleep and whether or not he washes his hair at bath time.
My fault? Maybe, but just try keeping up with our fast-paced society while maintaining order at home. That perpetual struggle has caused this millennial mom to look for a quick-fix, easy way out. There’s just too much else to do.
And that’s why, sometimes, I can’t help but throw a tablet his way as I try to answer an email, bake some dinosaur chicken nuggets and possibly wash under my arms with a washcloth because I seriously smell.
I’m worried. Many of us are. According to an American Psychological Association report from 2015, millennials are the most likely of all generations to say stress levels have increased in the past year. There are simply no easy answers for our generation of parents.
I’m sure my Baby Boomer mom would argue that it wasn’t easy when she did it either. Maybe that’s so but I can’t help but wonder what it was like to parent before the dawn of the cell phone. Or YouTube. Or the internet. Life — and parenting — must have moved at least a little bit slower.
But despite the challenges I face as a millennial mom, there are still some timeless perks to this job. To name a few: Watching my little human grow and evolve; unexpected bear hugs; a much-appreciated “I love you, Mommy.”
So, sure: I’m tired, I’m stressed, I’m a millennial. I’m also a mom.