Younger Millennial and Generation Z Parenting
July 10, 2019
Preface: I am technically a millennial- even though I can’t even spell the word without looking it up (i.e., Born: 1977- 1994). My primary language doesn’t include emoticons and I didn’t have immediate gratification via social media that linked me to the entire world. My adolescence and early teens graced me with the benefit of building patience while the dial-up network plugged me into a word-only chat room. As a young adult, I still used a real camera and developed my pictures at the store. When I finally bought a smartphone (i.e., after my first child), I took pictures and videos to post on Facebook so that my friends and long distance family could share in the delight of my children’s developmental milestones; however, I still sought camaraderie with other young parents. We chatted IRL about our struggles, successes, and silent serenity. We weren’t aware of “Mommy Groups,” except those who met at the park in the day or the wine bar at night.
The younger millennial and Gen Z (i.e., Born: 1995-2012; Schroer, n.d.) mommies are lucky and cursed. They are fortunate to have a network of other first-timers or veteran moms to with whom they trek this “uncharted territory” in life. Yet, these Mommy Groups- as I have heard from younger moms- can bring out the competitiveness in woman on such a mass scale that they feel overwhelmed by “What kind of mom they should be.”
A Letter to the Young Millennial and Gen Z Mommas,
Listen up!! Mommy Groups are supports not sideshows. They are fantastic for recommendations and tips. However, once members stop empowering new parents and start passive-aggressively shaming and outdoing other parents, it no longer serves its purpose. If you find yourself overly bragging about your kid, ask yourself, “What am I missing from my own sense of well-being?” If your words make someone feel inadequate because they don’t have a certain [expensive and unnecessary] product, ask yourself, “What am I missing in my life? What do I need to feel whole?” Not only ask yourself these questions but take charge of finding a solution and making self-care a priority! If you cannot look to your momma-sisters and empower them, take a moment to reflect on what you need.
Perhaps you’re exhausted and posting is your only connection to the world. Perhaps you are stressed, and you just can’t find the gumption to give yourself a compliment. Here’s a little secret: Unless you are a cracked-out mess who neglects your child or have abandoned your family for a fling in Vegas, you are the perfect parent… Perfectly Imperfect… You are doing everything right… Except flaunting the “status” of your child on social media to make yourself look good. Don’t mistake this as saying that those videos of first steps and silly slogans coined by your toddler are unwanted… Those are adorable and loved by most friends and family! What I am saying is that new parents must be careful not to put themselves up on a pedestal by the way they portray their child.
To the moms who feel inadequate or “not good enough,”
Do you love your child? Then you are a “perfectly imperfect” mother who is doing an amazing job with your little one. You will make mistakes. Be confident in those mistakes because they lead to growth. We can’t know what is right until we live it. We can’t think about what ifs and do more, more, mores. Make and take time for “no action…” to sit quietly in your own space… without shame. Be mindful of your own need to compete with your support network… Shape your world in a way that makes your dream for your family come true! Never forget that you have the most powerful job in the world!
Final Words: Mothers bear the burden of the world, not only their own but of each “world” or paradigm that a child develops. She is responsible for the way they love, treat others, and the skills they learn toward success or failure. She is responsible for her little man seeking a strong and compassionate woman rather than one who trains him to harden his heart. She is responsible for her girlies feeling whole enough to tolerate only honor and laughter rather than disrespect and tears. Mothers- and some lucky fathers- are guardians of little galaxies in training to be guardians of future galaxies.
So, take care of each other.
Encourage and show love to other moms.
Let them know that despite feeling ragged and rundown, they have made it
one more day as Creator of Life…
 (Schroer, n.d.)