At the beginning of 2016 I embarked on this blogging journey. Choosing to do so under the alias Millennial Mama, I began writing. So, who is this Millennial Mama?
First of all, what is a millennial? We’re a generational cohort made up of those born from 1981-1999. This cohort is characteristic of technology, which it grew up alongside. We went from wanting our own phone lines direct to our rooms to using those phone lines to dial up our first chat rooms and imaginative e-mail handles (Kookarocha? Really?) Our first cell phones went from the Zach Morris variety to the boxy Nokia to faster changing trends like the Motorola Razr and the truly revolutionary BlackBerry before giving way to the age of the iPhone. We saw tapes become CDs become Napster and MP3 players before iTunes and the iPod took over.
Much is said about Millennials, who are often bemoaned by older generations in the media (See Joel Stein’s 2013 Time Magazine article “Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation”). I love this retort by Michelle Horton.
Articulating how I differentiate Millennials as parents has taken me much longer than I expected. This was the first post I began writing when beginning this blogging journey, as it was obvious to me as I’m sure it is to you that I should begin with an explanation of my chosen handle. As is typical of my writing process, I’ve been keeping this post on the back burner, so to speak, letting my ideas simmer.
Millennials are characterized as having more education – and resultant debt – than previous generations. Our education has strengthened our critical thinking making us call into question previously unquestioned practices and notions. As parents, we choose to do things differently than the two generational cohorts who have gone before us. “Millennial Moms are clearly reacting to the way they were raised,” says Fogarty. “They’re creating an environment for their kids that’s more laid back and less structured, and they feel more relaxed and happy as parents. They reject the pressure they grew up with.”
We’re also a generation who is parenting armed (or is it plagued) with an enormous (and overwhelming) access to information on the Internet. During those early nights with Finn, I scoured the Internet in search of answers to questions about nursing for soothing or the meaning of green poo or just generally for reassurance that I was doing this parenting thing correctly. While I certainly found my Internet searches convenient in the dark at 3 am, I was careful not to dig too deeply as the ability to self-diagnose served only to perpetuate my insecurities as a mother. Moms, I’m sure you’ve been there and know what I’m talking about with the late night Google search.
Millennials’ parenting style is also influenced by a societal shift toward mindfulness and simpler living. There exists a renewed appreciation for bygone ways of living as this generation realizes how much quality of life is lost in living through the lens of technology. Millennial parents are choosing natural methods like breastfeeding and cloth diapers, natural toys like wooden blocks or teethers and forging natural attachments with their children through baby wearing and bed sharing. These parents are also mindful of environmental, social justice and health issues making them more likely to buy organic, fair trade and non-toxic clothing, food, cleaning products and other household goods. Millennial Mamas are concerned with the world her children will come to inherit.
The experiences this generation shares has shaped us and affects how we choose to parent. I’m fascinated by generational cohorts and how we are affected by our common experiences as we move through the seasons of our life. In choosing the Millennial cohort as the tie that binds me with other mothers, I hope to touch on my personal experience as a mother as well as experiences shared with mothers of the children my babes will grow up alongside.
Thank you for joining me on this journey of motherhood.