Do Millennial Moms Hate Parenting?
A new study shows that millennials think their kids are a burden.
When I got pregnant, I vowed to never parent the way my parents did. I was never going to yell or spank. I wouldn’t be strict and limiting. I would be an expansive, understanding parent. Of course, I also anticipated that my children would be moved by my reason and kindness and wouldn’t throw 10-minute tantrums over socks. These past three years have brought a learning curve. While I am not as strict as my parents were, I do understand their approach. Setting firm limits and being consistent with consequences has been the key to surviving the aptly titled “terrible twos.” I try not to raise my voice, but sometimes there is only one way to get my daughter to stop trying to smack the baby with her wand.
And I do sometimes wish I parented in the pre-Internet days when every parenting choice wasn’t the subject of a judgey blog post. But who really is a better parent? Us, or our parents? While the answer isn’t black and white (is it ever?), a recent study offers some insight into how we see our role as parents.
DDB Worldwide, a marketing company, conducted a lifestyle study that examined the attitudes of millennials, boomers, and gen-Xers toward parenting. The study revealed that millennial moms, like me, would rather be their kid’s friend than an authority figure. Thirty-one percent of millennial moms indicate they would rather their kids think of them as their “friend” compared to 21 percent of gen-X moms, and 23 percent of baby boomers.
The study also revealed 61 percent of millennial moms say they do whatever they can to make sure their children get preferential treatment, whereas only 46 percent of gen-X and 44 percent of boomer moms do the same. Yikes. So, all of this “Me First” parenting isn’t just a trend.
Another troubling trend is that millennial moms seem to see their kids as a burden more than other generations. I call this troubling, because our generation has more choice than any others that preceded us. For a lot of us, having children is a choice, not something forced on us through societal norms. So why do we feel our children are burdens? Or is it that millennial parents are more likely to be more honest about our shortcomings? Additionally, millennial moms feel like they’ve lost their identity to motherhood more than the other generations of mothers. Again, why is this? There are more women in the workforce— more opportunities. Sure, it still isn’t all equal pay for equal work, but it’s better than it has been.
Is this because millennial parents are doing this to ourselves? Are we creating a vacuum of need and expectation that we can’t possibly fill? Do we expect to be our children’s first and best friend while creating perfect treats, experiences, and Pinterest parties? If so, no wonder we find it all burdensome.
I, for one, have given up a lot of my ideals of parenting. I’ve learned that strict rules have their place, and I can’t manipulate my children’s experiences. I’ve learned that I have to let them have the good and the disappointment of life as it comes, and I’ve realized that a lot of the burden I feel about parenting comes more from me than from them.
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