It seems that every time your news feed refreshes there is a story about millennials. The stories can range from what their shopping habits are to how they manage career and family (and why they are getting burnt out).
Some of us are not part of the millennial generation. We are still raising children and they can range in age from infants to adults. There still may be some that are part of the Baby Boomer Generation (born between the mid 40’s and the mid-60’s) waiting for the last of the children to leave the nest. The rest of us are part of Gen X, as we were born between the mid-60’s and the late 70’s (possibly early 80’s, depending upon the reference you check). We grew up hearing about the Greatest Generation and the Baby Boomers, but before society could really talk about the impact our generation has had on the world, the millennials came along and we were forgotten.
To the millennials, the parents of older kids, are from Gen X. Therefore, we are not new to this parenting thing and have some words of wisdom to pass along.
Being a working mom is tough. The non-millennial mom acknowledges that working and having a family is hard and we feel for you, but believe it or not, in some ways you have a smoother road than we did. Many of us did not have mothers that worked outside the home until we were older, therefore, we had no one to seek advice from when we were hysterical about the idea of leaving our newborn for the first time. There are also increasing options for daycare. Since my oldest was born 12 years ago, four new day-cares have opened near our neighborhood, plus some work environments are welcoming of children and have on-site childcare. Also, with the rise of the digital age, it makes a flexible work schedule possible. This is in no way stating that we had it worse, but there are more childcare options and working arrangements for new moms today.
Do not waste all your energy on the early celebrations. By all means, be happy about having a child and celebrate their milestones, but that baby will not remember the gender reveal party you had, the maternity photoshoot (that you bought a brand new dress for), or the Pinterest worthy 1st birthday party. I believe most of us non-millennial moms will admit that the 1st birthday party was the biggest we threw (for the first child), but looking back, we realize that we should have saved more energy for the big kid birthdays (7 and above). These are the years that they can help plan what they want, who they want to invite and pick out their cake. They remember the big kid years. I baked and decorated all my kids’ birthday cakes when they were young, but in recent years, I have given into buying cakes for the sake of saving time. However, recently, my 10-year-old said, “Can you just make me a birthday cake for a change?” I was shocked, had he not remembered the cakes I baked and designed until wee hours of the morning for the first 5-6 years of his life? Obviously, he did not recall. Therefore, my advice to millennial parents is to save your money, play with your kids, and use all that creative energy for when your child remembers it.
Sharing about your children is wonderful. Non-millennial moms find social media to be both a blessing and curse. We grew up without it and likely did not find it until we were well into adulthood. We likely went through a time that we overshared, but many of us have decreased our use. One of the reasons for that is that as our children aged, we learned that they did not like everything about their life being shared. Once a picture of them sitting on their potty chair, a video of them running around naked, or a picture of their rash has been shared, it is out there, and there is nothing your child can do about it. As a result, many non-millennial parents are asking their kids permission prior to posting on social media. This is done for two reasons: to teach them that life does not have to be put on display and to let them know that they do have a right to privacy. It is always good to ask yourself; will my child be glad this picture is on cyberspace when they are older, or will they be embarrassed?
There are many unique traits of non-millennials. Most of us did not have a cell phone until we were adults, we went to college when we had to share the phone with our roommate, and we also remember a library with books. We all were around in the 80’s and 90’s when everyone was eating foods that were low in fat and we were hungry (or even hangry), which is why some of us are careful to not restrict the food our children eat because we want them to know food is good and it can be satisfying. Many non-millennials are also caring for aging parents, in addition to our own families, while holding down a full-time job. That is why we look so tired. I have to say many of us like being active and enjoy being outside, which is similar to a lot of millennials.
Every generation is different, and one is not better than the other, but just as we learned from previous generations, the millennials can gain wisdom from previous generations.