Being a mom seems like it’s harder than ever these days, but in reality, it’s always been a tough job. It’s how we perceive it that has changed. Millennial moms are changing the narrative of what “Mom” looks like. As one of the most vocal generations, we’ve collectively decided to throw out the rule book. Woosh! (That was the sound of the rule book flying through the open window.)
Here’s how millennial moms are changing the narrative for future moms:
Instagram vs. Reality
On any given day, you could pop onto your favorite Mom-stagram page and see a flawless bento box lunch or the most organized Montessori-inspired playroom. Millennial moms are making it clear that this is not the reality. Yes, we still love to post the cute crafts we’ve come up with, but we categorize these as wins. These picture-perfect moments are not the standard, and we emphasize that.
If you keep scrolling, here are some things you might also see:
- The mom who is blasting rap music in her car after school drop-off.
- The mom who is hysterically crying in her car before school pick-up.
- Pictures of messy rooms, laundry piles, and children throwing tantrums.
- Reels or stories of the end-of-the-day-mom pouring the largest glass of wine you’ve ever seen.
- Captions about how hard it is to solo-parent when your partner is away on a work trip, or the everyday struggle that comes with postpartum depression.
Millennial moms are changing the narrative by emphasizing the Instagram-versus-reality culture. We aren’t trying to be perfect for anyone; in fact, we’re showing how okay it is to be imperfect. The message of millennial moms is that we can still celebrate our “I vacuumed the entire house!” days, as long as we acknowledge the “Tonight I fed my kid Snickers for dinner” days, too.
Now, Tell Me How You Really Feel?
Millennial moms are loud. Yes, sometimes we are actually loud–usually, at the playground while our child is climbing up the wrong side of a slide–but more so, millennial moms are changing the narrative by being vocal.
There is an outdated expectation of women that we need to be proper, polite, and pleasant. Have you ever watched your mother-in-law accept a car repair quote that was way too high, or not send back her meal that was clearly wrong? Because I have, and the only thought I had the entire time was, “I can’t let my children learn this behavior.” Whether we have sons or daughters, nieces or nephews, sisters or brothers . . . we need to set the example that speaking up for yourself is not just acceptable, it’s normal.
Millennial moms are the generation that decided we are done being silenced. We grew up learning that we need to please other people to be great moms, but what we’re altering for the next generation is that you don’t need to please anyone at the expense of your comfort or sanity. Millennial moms have made setting boundaries acceptable for everyone.
We Struggle Openly
Expectations of mothers have not changed over the course of 50 years, but the conversation about how we deal with them has. Many of the moms before us felt like they couldn’t share their struggles. It was frowned upon to talk about things like anxiety, depression, or a less-than-perfect marriage. Many of our own mothers spent years trying to do it all, be it all, and please everyone but themselves in the process.
This isn’t normal life, and we shouldn’t strive for it. Millennial moms are teaching the world that it’s okay to ask for help–from your spouse, from your friends, from your therapist.
Someone once coined the term “supermom.” Some mythical creature with 18 arms and legs, juggling the world, keeping it all perfectly balanced. The new narrative doesn’t talk about “supermom”; instead we use words like “healthy mom,” “happy mom,” and “well-rested mom”. Millennial moms are laying the groundwork for healthy moms who are doing their very best, not worn down moms who are just trying to do it all.
Our Children Should Be Seen and Heard
We all know the phrase “children should be seen and not heard.” To this, millennial moms say, “Nope!” We want our kids to be seen for who they are, accepted, heard, and spoken to like they are humans. We’re forging a path to raise well-rounded, aware, and anxiety-free adults.
Growing up, many of us felt the pressure to succeed in the eyes of our parents, whether academically or in life. When it comes to our own children, we want them to succeed on their own terms, as we encourage and support their endeavors. Millennial moms are changing the narrative to let our children be open and in turn, we try to be open with them, too. We work to answer our son’s and daughter’s questions honestly, using words or analogies they can understand. We don’t use silly names for real body parts, or tell stories about storks. When it’s playtime, we roll around on the ground with them, but when it’s school time, we let them try to figure out the math problem before asking us for help.
Most importantly–we’re setting the stage for future moms and future children to be totally unashamed of who they are, and celebrate their interests.
Moms Support Moms
Have you ever noticed that being a mom can be kind of lonely? When we aren’t alone we want to be, but once we are, we aren’t sure what to do with ourselves. Our lives are overwhelmed with kid’s activities, doctor’s appointments, shopping trips, work, and family visits, and just when you think you’ve caught up, and you’re about to hang up your apron after you’ve iced the last bake sale cookie, the basement floods.
Mom groups have surged in popularity and while they aren’t all created equal, they’ve given mothers a platform to talk to others who are like them. Gone are the days of PTA meetings as our social gatherings; we’ve taken mom friends to a whole new level of support–social media!
Today, you can find someone to talk to no matter who you are or what support you need! Did you know that Detroit Mom has community groups on Facebook?
Millennial moms didn’t just make it harder to be lonely, we kicked it up a notch to make sure no mom ever feels lonely again!
Millennial Moms are All Moms!
Millennial moms aren’t out to prove anyone wrong or right. We are working to alter the definition of “mom” for all the mommas after us, and with us. This is our generation, reaching out to all of you–whether you are a Gen X Mom, a Gen Z Mom, or a fellow Y-er, saying, “Hey, let’s do this together!”