Millennials, amirite? You know, the ones responsible for the downfall of today's society. Our addiction to avocado toast and Netflix are simultaneously making us broke and killing the movie industry. Our lax parenting styles are raising ungrateful and entitled children. Our obsession with selfies is ruining modesty as we know it. This constant millennial bashing is all just a little too much, right? Too much, and inaccurate. Sadly, millennial moms get the brunt of the criticism, but there are a few comebacks every millennial mom should save for haters. Being a mom is already difficult enough without criticizing the generation we just happened to be born into.
I am considered a millennial mom (although, hardly). I was born in 1982 and grew up in the age of blossoming technology. I didn't even realize there was such harsh criticism of millennials until I had children. Then it all came pouring towards me and my friends. We are told we are too soft on our kids and our kids are spoiled because we give them everything. We are told we care more about our careers than our families. We are criticized for wanting some down time from parenting and are repeatedly scrutinized for the way we run our homes. We are the punching bags of the older generations.
Honestly, I don't care. Every generation has something negative to say about the younger generation. Today's moms are dealing with a weak economy, a mountain of conflicting research on child-rearing, and a rapidly divisive society. We are stuck between wanting to advance our careers and wanting to be a great mom and partner (because society is constantly telling us we can't do both). We are torn in a hundred different direction and no matter which way we choose, we are told we're doing it wrong. But you know what? We are still kicking ass at this parenting thing, no matter what the haters may say.
"Yes, I Breastfeed"
I don't know why there's this overall idea that millennial moms are "too busy and selfish" to breastfeed their newborns, but that is certainly untrue. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), breastfeeding rates are on the rise. In a survey from 2016, 51.8 percent of infants were breastfeeding at 6 months and 30.7 percent at 12 months. So this idea that millennial moms don't breastfeed is just yet another myth created to bash new mothers. Furthermore, millennial moms are constantly fighting to normalize breastfeeding in public and for access to pumping rooms in their places of work.
"No, My Kids Are Not Entitled"
From the moment our children are born we are told to enjoy them. The older generation tells us time flies and to hold on to the precious moments because they are fleeting. So, we do. We spend a ton of time with our children, we do what we can to make sure their childhood is a true childhood, and we make sure to take a lot of pictures. Millennial moms aren't giving their kids "trophies" for everything they do. In fact, they are teaching their kids to figure out what they are actually good at and honing in on those particular skills. They are teaching their children self-efficacy rather than praising their kids for every single thing their kids do. Our kids are not getting "everything they want" because, just like other generations, we are too trying to raise self-sufficient, grateful, kind, and good human beings.
"Yes, I Set Boundaries"
My kids aren't running around doing whatever it is they please without any guidance or discipline. Sure, some millennial moms do not have any rules in their households, but that can be said about parents from any generation. Once again, generalizing is never a true measure of anything. Many of the moms I know set actual boundaries for their children. Their children are still on time-out if they misbehave, they are still taught manners and social courtesies, and they are still punished for being defiant.
A good number of millennial moms do not believe in nor condone corporal punishment, though, because much research has been done to prove its adverse effects. And yes, many millennial moms are using other systems to manage their children's' behaviors, but that doesn't mean they just let their kids run amok.
"Yes, I Teach Acceptance & Tolerance"
I know, I know. According to some older generations, millennial moms are raising snowflakes that melt at any sign of offensiveness. Well, even if that is a stereotype, I don't consider it a negative one. To raise children to be accepting of everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, and religion is something that can benefit our entire society. To raise tolerant and kind people isn't something that seems so horrible and controversial to me. So, if older generations think we are raising snowflakes, let it be. When my kids grown up kind and empathetic individuals and make a world a better place, I won't care what anyone thinks about my style of parenting.
"Yes, I Have A Clue"
Think what you think, but millennial moms actually know what they are doing, at least as much if not more than older generations. We have all of the latest research at our fingertips. Many millennial moms abide by evidence-based parenting. They are not listening to old wives' tales when it comes to child-rearing, they are reading and learning and recognizing possible issues at a rate that's, honestly, astounding. We have online communities where we can seek advice and support and where we learn from each other. We have seemingly never-ending library of parenting books at our fingertips and we do not lack parenting resources. So, we have a clue, thanks.
"Yes, I Split Parenting Responsibilities"
Sure, while housework and childcare still primarily rests upon the mother's shoulders, fathers are stepping up their parenting game. Fathers now take on a lot more responsibilities than they did in previous generations. They are involved in parenting and household tasks at much higher rates than their fathers were and that is due in part to millennial women. Millennial women, many of whom now work outside of the home, require equal contribution from their partners. And, honestly, that is a huge right step in the right direction.
"Yes, I Know How To Manage Our Money"
While I do enjoy my avocado toast, I also know how to save for a down-payment on a house and for my children's future. Us millennial moms budget for our children activities, for groceries, and for frivolous spending (if we have anything left over). We graduated college and tried to get jobs in the middle of the recession and while that significantly set us back, we continue to do the best we can with the finances we have. Many of my friends are great at managing their wages and are tirelessly working to provide as much as they can for their families.
"Yes, I Vaccinate"
Sure, some parents are choosing not to vaccinate. And, yes, many of those parents are millennial parents. But, just know, most parents are still vaccinating their children and most millennial moms know vaccinations are necessary and save lives. We are just as appalled at those who do not vaccinate as the older generation.
"No, I Am Not Afraid To Use My Voice"
Maybe it was the way I was raised, or maybe it's because our society currently calls for it, but I am not afraid of being judged when I want to speak up about the inequalities in our society. Millennial moms refuse to accept the status quo when it comes to gender roles, parenting roles, maternity/paternity leave, and the rights over their own bodies. Millennial moms (and women in general ) are the forefront of the fight for equality and are no longer suppressed by the patriarchy that has reigned for so many generations. We realize that our voice not only matters, but that it is strong and powerful and can make a significant difference in our world.
"Yes, I Maximize My Time By Outsourcing "
If I can afford it, I do it. I had to cut out going out to eat so I can afford a cleaning lady, because I'd rather not spend my entire weekend scrubbing my toilets and washing the floors. My time is precious and limited and I outsource household chores whenever I can. I will not spend any time ironing when I can drop clothes off at the dry cleaners. Many millennial moms outsource laundry, cooking, and grocery shopping. In fact, more and more supermarkets now offer delivery as a reflection the busy lives of millennial parents.
"Yes, I Make Time For Myself"
I am a mom, but I am also a woman, a friend, a daughter, a partner, and a human being with my very own identity. So yes, while a lot of myself is given to my children, I still keep a little bit of myself for just me. That part of me enjoys going out with my girlfriends, getting my nails done, shopping alone, and enjoying a Starbucks date with a friend without my kids. I make time for myself because I know that makes me a better parent and I don't care who thinks what about it.