Millennial Parents. This topic has been on my mind for a while now. I am part of this new breed of moms. Millennials are entering parenthood in large numbers and changing traditional parenting styles. Before we get into the subject of what millennial parents are doing differently from the previous generation, let’s start with;
WHO ARE MILLENNIAL PARENTS?
Millennials are people born between the mid 80’s to the late 90’s. Women from this age group are now the growing population of mothers.
WHAT ARE SOME UNIQUE QUALITIES OF MILLENNIAL PARENTS? – MILLENNIAL PARENTING STYLES
- Quality time with kids
Studies show that millennial parents spend more time with their kids daily compared to the previous generations.
These statistics suggest a shift towards a more intensive style of parenting. You hear of words such as Positive parenting, Gentle parenting, Attachment parenting more and more these days. Because Millennial parents value a more gentle and focused style of parenting. One that is heavily based on understanding the science of early childhood development and learning. All of these styles require a more involved parent and since the millennial generation has taken to these parenting philosophies they are spending more time with their children compared to the previous generations.
In fact, a survey a by Pew Research Center showed that more than any other previous generations millennials rated being a good parent as a top priority. It matters to them to have an identity around being a parent. It’s a part of the millennial value system.
- Choose flexible careers
The Indian mother has a very hard reality to face when she goes back to work post maternity leave. A lack of good local infrastructure and support systems make the transition back to work a difficult experience.
That being said more than ever, a need for flexible careers is on the rise. More and more women now look for flexible career opportunities or part-time roles in order to balance work life with motherhood.
Fathers are still largely unaffected career wise post-baby. This is because in India a lot of traditional constructs make it such that the mother assumes the role of primary caretaker making it challenging for the woman to balance both work and family life.
I would like to add though, that there is a slow shift in this thought process and today many millennial fathers are sharing the responsibilities equally at home. Millennial fathers want to be as much a part of their children’s upbringing as the mothers.
Even with so much progress in mindset shifts, there is a lot that needs to change in society and infrastructure for a woman to be able to balance both career and family. Living in a nuclear family, long everyday commute to work, lack of quality daycare facilities in the companies or for that matter quality daycare facilities in general, leads to mounting pressure on the new mother that ultimately results in drop out of the workforce.
I even know of moms who wished to continue working but were not provided adequate facilities in the workplace to pump breastmilk and quit in order to continue to meet their personal breastfeeding goals.
Here is an interesting read on why motherhood makes so many women in India quit their jobs.
Flexible freelance careers are an option for women who still want to work in some capacity in order to maintain their journey on the career path.
At the same time, many millennial moms are rejecting the idea of being a traditional stay at home mom.
Millennial mothers don’t want to be put in a box anymore. They don’t dwell on the Working Mom v/s Stay At home mom debates. Millennial moms are moving away from the constraints of these titles. They want to explore flexible career paths while juggling family lives.
These days there is only one type of mom, Working mom, regardless of her career choices. These concepts are still in nascent stages, but the will and drive to “Have it All” among this generation of women is leading to new definitions of what makes a successful career.
I personally believe that we as millennial women can “Have it all, just that it doesn’t come all at once”. We have to keep working at it and in time, we will have it all, careers and families. Here is how you can move beyond motherhood.
- Focus on health
Millennial parents are concerned about health and fitness. With the global obesity crisis around them, this generation of parents is concerned about how to raise children with healthy eating habits. Their concern for health also leads them to parenting decisions like Baby led weaning and clean eating. From the responses I get on this subject daily on Instagram I know this generation of moms is trying their best to set the best example for their children with regards to nutrition, health, and fitness.
- Reliance on technology
Millennials grew up with technology and digital media. They are the generation that was first introduced to the internet and social networks. Millennial parents are tech-savvy and how. They use Google to find the answers to all their parenting questions. They are more informed than the previous generation on all things parenting. This can be both good and bad.
Another trend that is seen is that more and more millennial mothers will rely on recommendations from their peers rather than brand claims. Millennial parents use social media, parenting websites, mom blogs and forums to get parenting advice. Being a millennial mom myself, I fall into this category of mothers too. I use the internet to research and read reviews by other moms to choose products for my son. Nearly everything I have selected for my son – be it toys, books or baby products is through virtual mommy recommendations.
That is why the mom blogger community is growing rapidly. In an age where the real village has shrunk in size, millennial moms are now seeking their village members on the internet.
Millennials are known to be more interested in the values that a brand/company represents and then the product or price. In fact, the price is not considered when the brand matches your value system.
And millennials are known to be the more compassionate lot. They look for eco-friendly, fair trade, and organic products. They are all about minimalism and frugality.
Part of this can be attributed to the fact that many millennials graduated during the recession in 2008 and after. This affected their job prospects and many of them got a late start in life. They are mindful of money and value quality over quantity.
I will add here though, that I don’t see the trend in minimalism catching on in India yet. But globally these are the themes for this year and the next.
In fact, this same compassion is leading more and more millennials to adopt a more plant-based diet globally.
The need to lead by example affects how millennial families are living. With family values centering around minimalism, frugality, and eco-friendly living.
- Safety as a priority
Millennial parents value safety the most. This can be seen in the product choices they make with a shift towards more safer wooden toys over plastic toys, eco-friendly organic clothing for their children, organic groceries for the family etc.
Car seat safety has seen a huge spike in interest among millennial parents with endless tutorials on the internet on how to securely buckle your child in the car seat.
Millennial parents are also battling the safety issue in the digital world. They take efforts to have open conversations at home and teach their children about online safety.
RAISING THE FUTURE GENERATION AROUND MILLENNIAL IDEALS
Does this strong family focus and living by the idealist value system make millennial parents better at parenting? Are they raising competent children? Only time can reveal how these core values of the millennial generation affect their progeny.
Until then we can rely on the latest statistical data and believe that millennial parents have their hearts in the right place.
Are you a millennial parent too? Which value listed here resonates most with you and your parenting style?