Evolution is a way of life. It is defined as the gradual development of something....anything. I apply it to everything in my life, be it relationships with my loved ones and friends, work, or me as a person. Evolution is a natural process.
Photo credit: www.ahaparenting.com
Motherhood is a learning process, and is one that mothers embrace over time. It is rare to find women who immediately ‘fit’ into the role of a mother the minute her child is born, especially without any guidance and support. It is a milestone where women go from being a daughter, sister, wife etc to a mother, a role which has been put on a pedestal by people for generations. The evolution required by a woman to fit the role of a mother is phenomenal, and moreover is required to evolve with the times. Can we survive motherhood today, in the 21st century, with the guidance and support from mothers from previous generations? Is modern parenting still possible?
‘Millennial mothers’ are raising their kids in the age of the digital media and they don’t know a world without it. Our parents would call them ‘kids these days’ and would define millennial mothers as those who stare at their iPhone screens more than they do at their child. I would agree with this to a certain extent. But how do we define this changing face of motherhood and how do we differentiate millennial mothers from our more primitive allies? The average age of a first-time mother now is more than in previous generations. So is age a factor and an important feature of a millennial mother?
As a first-time and new mother, Google was often an angel and a devil in my life; it used to be my bible. From questions on how to put on a diaper for my child, to how long he should be sleeping at different ages, Google was permanently open on my laptop and bombarded with questions. After a point, I would not even remember to check which website I was clicking on, as long as the information I needed was at my fingertips. Did I think about asking my older and more seasoned family members first? Of course, but as a second thought. My main concern was whether or not they would be aware of all the new information out there and modern techniques, to be able to find the most effective solutions. I would have rather been influenced by other millennial mothers. At that particular point in time, ‘experience is the best teacher’ was something that did not exist in my mind. It took me some time to realise that what you read, is not always what is best or even necessarily true; a harsh reality that my child’s paediatrician pointed out to me after some very unnecessary ramblings. I am a millennial mother.
‘Any healthy food’ for children, is no longer sufficient for mothers today. Neither is ‘clothes that fit’. Local & international brands have evolved over time – clothes, makeup, food, electronics, furniture and more. Every corner we turn, we see various brands showcasing themselves and can practically see desire being created on the spot within people. We see often that the price of a certain product is no obstacle for people, especially mothers, who are brand conscious and believe that a certain brand is better than another for their child. Our mothers raised us in a world where food was food, clothes were clothes and diapers were diapers. It didn’t matter what brand they were. My favourite brand of clothes for my child is Carter’s. I am a millennial mother.
Apart from a woman’s role as a mother being made more comfortable with help from the millennial father, having a full-time babysitter at home is a way of life. This does not mean you are employing the babysitter as a substitute in your place to parent your child, but to be an additional caretaker who can give the mother some space to do be someone else for a while. If I had asked my mother when she was raising me, what the word ‘space’ or ‘full-time help’ meant, she would probably have not been able to give me a straight answer. Babysitters are given work which mothers in previous generations would have never thought of NOT doing themselves. My child has a healthy and comfortable attachment to his babysitter, who is like family to us. I am a millennial mother.
I have never wanted to let motherhood consume me 100%; and I never have. Even though as a mother by definition, we never have a ‘punch-in’ and ‘punch-out’ clock, there is something known as ‘me-time’. I need ‘me-time’ every day to be an effective mother and this is something that is encouraged by my family (husband, mom-in-law, mom etc). I am not sure what mom-in-laws in previous generations would have to say about this. I am a millennial mother.
Finally, moving onto the decades of discussions on working mothers and their journey through motherhood, the desire and ambitions of millennial mothers to be a part of the working class are more powerful now than in previous generations. Reasons may vary; wanting to be a tycoon in the corporate world, have an outlet and something else to focus on for a part of the day other than being a mother, or just to pass time. But the willpower and determination that millennial mothers exhibit to accomplish their dreams, is unlike any of the previous generations.
Are we all millennial mothers today?