If you were born between 1977 and 1983, and have never really felt like you fit in with Generation X or millennials, I have some good news for you: you're part of a micro-generation now known as Xennials. You remember a time before the internet and are nostalgic about your analog childhood, but your adult life is fairly tech-centered. I, myself, fit that description, which is why there are certain things this Xennial mom wants millennial moms to know.
My husband and I were both born solidly in the six year span that marks the Star Wars generation. Growing up, my husband and his brothers had free run of the neighborhood on their bicycles and didn't come home until it was time for dinner. We both still have our old home numbers memorized. I didn't have email until college, and I still use my Hotmail account. As adults, we binge Game of Thrones with the best of them, but we're still slightly uncomfortable taking selfies. Our generation is marked by a cautious optimism born of the recession. Now that we have a child, I can't help but feel like our unique experience informs the way we parent.
I never felt like I was a "classic" millennial mom, so identifying as Xennial has helped me understand why I am the way I am and why I do what I do. It's from this perspective that I respectfully share these ideas with millennial moms:
We're Not Your Enemy
There's so much negative press around the millennial generation. You get called lazy, spoiled, flighty and, well, it's just not true. Please don't assume that we're setting ourselves apart just so we can pick you apart. We're honestly just trying to understand ourselves better. At the end of the day, we moms need to stick together, especially moms with as much in common as us.
We're All Special & There's Nothing Wrong With That
I know you're tired of hearing about how your participation trophies gave you an inflated sense of self and how you all think your kids are gifted. I don't think it's fair to throw "snowflake" as an insult because, the fact is, we are all special. Celebrating individuality is a good thing and it doesn't necessarily make you narcissistic.
I actually see your generation as more concerned with raising kind kids who are comfortable in their own skin. As an Xennial mom, I'm trying to do the same by teaching my daughter that she is special and worthy of respect, but that her rights don't supersede the rights of others.
We're On The Same Side
Most of the Xennials I know are just as progressive as the millennial set. According to the Pew Research Center, millennials are more likely to identify as liberal and support a progressive domestic social program. When we see you raising your kids without the gender binary and championing inclusivity, just know that we're absolutely on the same page. Most of us, anyway.
We're Just Trying To Figure This Out
We're just like you as moms in that we're trying to figure out what motherhood looks like and means to us. We don't know more than you by virtue of being a bit older. The same trial and error you employed when you breastfed or sleep trained is how we figured out how to take care of our babies. In other words, we're not judging you because we don't know what we're doing either.
We're Not Digital Natives, But We Speak The Language
Sometimes millennial moms look askance at me when I admit I didn't get my first cell phone until college. It was a little Nokia brick, and I was just so excited that I could get a colored cover for it. But, like the rest of my generation, I've adapted pretty well. I may not use Snapchat, but please don't assume I can't figure out a Facebook event invitation. Then again, if you want to schedule a play date, you might have to spell out "WYD" or "LMK."
We're "In Between" When It Comes To Parenting
I feel like millennial moms really commit to their parenting styles. There are hard core attachment moms, while others swear by RIE or third-child style. Millennials are well-educated and they do their research. I am too, but like other Xennials, I'm a little cautious. After all, my mom's doctor told her to put me to sleep on my stomach as a newborn, and now we know that back to sleep is the way to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
I'm aware that things can change, so I'm reluctant to go "whole hog" on anything. I co-slept with my newborn in a bassinet, but I don't bed-share. I breastfed, but I supplemented with formula.
We Admire Lot About You...
I love how informed, connected, and creative millennials are. As moms, I agree that millennials are raising smart, happy kids. We see you teaching your kids about bodily autonomy and consent. We know your children will never have to come "out" to you, because you've taught them that love is love. For all this and more, we salute you.
... But You Could Learn A Few Things From Us
We can tell you from experience that digital isn't always better. Don't get me wrong, I'm not any less addicted to my phone than you are. But I do have an appreciation for real books and handwritten thank-you notes that I'll be passing on to my children. I'm hesitant to put a tablet in their hands. I want my kids to have the same play-based early education experiences that I did rather than push academics.
We're Not All The Same & Neither Are You
Obviously, not all millennials are confident and Xennials aren't inherently more pessimistic. However, you can't deny that there are certain traits that characterize a generation. Baby Boomers, Generation X, Xennials, and Millennials are different. Generalization is problematic, but in this case, I think it does help people to identify with others. That's particularly important when you're a mom struggling to find where you fit in.
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