The New Face of Motherhood, Elite Daily? I Think You Missed Some Things.
Posted on 09 July 2015
A few days ago, Elite Daily posted an article about the "new face of motherhood".
And, let me tell you, what a load of rubbish that was!
Featuring mostly non-ethnic mommy fashionistas with thin, tanned bodies in the throws of candid moments with their littles, the article read more like a series of snapshots from a movie than a realistic portrayal of modern day motherhood - complete with matching "mommy and me outifits" that, while hella' cute, have nothing to do with "killin' it" at parenting.
But what's so wrong with what Elite Daily editor Kaylin Pound wrote? Well, it certainly left a lot out of the picture.
It would be nice if the majority of mothers in the world had the means to take their littles to Coachella, shop at all of their favourite "boutique" baby shops, and only buy "... all-natural, organic, gluten free, non-GMO baby food".
But it would've been nicer still if the pictures Kaylin chose to exemplify the things that make "millennial mothers different" had more substance to them than the superfluous fluff of stylish outfits, good hair, and the ability to use technology as a babysitter.
So, given that, it seemed only fitting that I should write an article that set the record straight.
As the face of NEW parenthood is being taken over by millennials, here are the real ways we are killing it.
Social sharing isn't just something fun to do, it's now part of the culture. That means that you're basically expected to put your whole life on social media. And, for a new parent, that's a lot of pressure!
So those who do it well and amass massive followings that get the free swag from baby shops, sponsorships from big brand names and a boat load of other perks have figured out a fantastic way to supplement their incomes while being away from a career. For the ones who are really great at it, that can mean replacement of their former income and the opportunity to work from home while their kids are little.
With more and more information surfacing on the benefits of breastfeeding, bottle feeding, all-natural, organic, gluten free, dairy-free, and non-GMO baby foods around, cosleeping, babywearing, and more, it's more difficult than ever to know exactly what parents should do.
So when new mothers in this day and age choose a direction, most of the time they've done a heck of a lot of research and chosen the best path that suits their lifestyle and means.
While a lot of millennials have taken on making baby food from scratch with the Baby Bullet and other food processors, a lot of working millennial parents still rely on favourites from a "past time" from companies like Heinz, PediaSure, and Gerber.
And that's perfectly okay. Why? Making sure your child is fed, changed, bathed, and healthy is the number one priority and not everyone has the time to plan and freeze the "from scratch" baby meals that make the rounds on Instagram pages.
Just like it was for generations passed, it's not all giggles, baby smiles and photo ops. It's tantrums, teething, growth spurts, colic, a messy house, laundry piling up, postpartum, feeling like you're failing at life, babies who don't sleep through the night, potty training, pressure to shed baby weight, and kids who don't nap. The difference is, now there's a massive audience.
But what's cool about millennials is we use this as a way to bond with other mothers who are posting pictures over social media. Motherhood takes and army and millennials have found some really amazing ways to "find their tribe".
So, while we're on the topic of finding your tribe, let's talk about self-expression. Millennials are known best for sharing their whole lives on social media, but what I think really stands out about our generation is our ability to authentically express ourselves.
There were times in the past when it would be socially frowned upon by the masses to be full of tattoos, or continue a skateboarding lifestyle after your child was born. And while I know that judgment is still alive and well all over the place, today's culture is full of different ethnicities, lifestyle choices, and sexual orientations that were nowhere near as prevalent when I was growing up.
That means millennials have the unique opportunity to raise socially aware children. More than that, they've stepped up to the plate in that regard and are often seen as a more open and accepting generation on the whole.
And let's not forget about all the amazing dads! Many men in this generation aren't "hands off" parents. That means diaper changes and equal time caring for kids after they've gone to work all day...
And no, they don't think of it as "babysitting" until mom gets home / wakes up. They're parents and they are active participants in the entire process.
And what about fashion? Whether the closet contains "mommy jeans" or not is irrelevant. But, for the record, almost every mother has a pair of mommy jeans. The truth is, if it fits and it's comfortable, it's being worn. And that generally means that the closet for damned sure contains a pile of leggings and/or sweatpants!
Cute ones, sure, but that's beside the point.
And honestly, unless you're a style blogger or independently wealthy, in most cases style is not a top priority. I mean, sure, everyone wants to look presentable when out in public, and I'll even venture to say that it's easier to ensure that with the variety of affordable children's clothing options these days, but the most important priority for EVERY parent is having a healthy baby, am I right?
Plus now, more than ever, there's pressure to be perfect all over the place. I mean, just look at Kaylin's article. If that's the version of motherhood we're all expected to live up to, a lot of us are destined to fail before we even start.
Because, let's be honest. Some folks make it look effortless. Whether it be mommy bloggers, celebrity parents, or the neighbour who lost all their baby weight within two months and maintains a spotless house, there's always someone who seems to be "doing it better".
So how are millennials doing here? They're killing it by ignoring the noise and focusing on what works best for them.
And when you drop a watermelon-sized tiny human out of your body, it doesn't snap back in a second. At least, not for most people.
So instead of fighting it, millennials are embracing it and showing the realities of parenthood. For some that means getting back in to a size 2 months after their babies are born. For others that means taking the time to adjust to their new responsibilities and worrying less about the size of their "mommy jeans". Either way, it works.
As for technology, I'd want my child to be as well-versed and educated as the next person, but that doesn't mean I want the iPhone, iPad, or eLearning device of the moment becoming a permanent fixture in their hand.
So most millennial parents limit how much time their kids spend with the growing list of learning tools available. But you know what? If they need a few minutes to get shit done and the best option available at the time is an iPad, isn't it better that their baby be playing learning games than watching some random cartoons on TV?
I certainly think so.
And what the actual fuck is a baby BFF? Your child is your child. Naturally you're going to spend most of your waking moments with and around them as their primary caregiver, but most millennial mamas I know would KILL for some adult interaction or alone time with the hubs.
So, where possible, they make that time! Whether it be playdates, stealing a few hours away from home to go grocery shopping sans baby, or getting up at 5am to hit the gym, millennial parents do their best to find the time away that they need.
And let's face it, for some people those occasions are few and far between.
Even if it's just to take an uninterrupted nap...
So while I agree with one thing Kaylin said - that millennial moms are definitely killing it, I think it's got a heck of a lot more to do with navigating the pressures of parenting in this incredibly social age and balancing the realities of our time than it has to do with style, hipster name choices, and taking selfies.
And, really, isn't that the truth about motherhood regardless of what generation you happen to be parenting in?