My partner and I are pretty in sync. He knows, due to my severe anxiety, when I'm on the verge of a panic attack, how to stave off a potential pointless argument, and what to do when I've had a bad day (he's great at leg rubs, you guys). So, honestly, there's just a few things he can't see from my point of view. There are, however, things my partner can't understand about being a millennial mom. In all fairness, I can't blame his lack of empathy in this regard. After all, he's never had to be a millennial mom.
Being both a millennial (those born between the early '80s and early 2000s) and a mom means I have more choices — and stress — than women who chose to be mothers in subsequent generations. My two kids are 10 and 5 years old and they've always known that despite my semi-interest in traditional household roles, I'm also an ever-evolving human with many other interests and desires, aside from parenting.
I'm grateful to have a partner who's been understanding of whatever path I've chosen to go down, but there's still so much he's kind of clueless about. I don't know if that stems from having different backgrounds or dealing with different things, or if it's simply a lack of wanting to understand. Regardless, here are some of those things he just doesn't get about my role as a millennial mom, that I so wish he would.
How Much Pressure I'm Under
The biggest thing my partner can't, and won't, understand about being a millennial mom, is how much pressure I'm under to want to do all the things and to be successful at those things. I love being a mother, but I also love my career and want to excel in both areas simultaneously. I love being the primary caregiver, but also enjoy and appreciate competitive running. There's so many facets to me, just as there are to every other human being on the face of the planet.
Being a mom in this generation means having a higher standard to live up to. If I choose to stay home, society expects me to go above and beyond by making homemade baby food and using only fresh, organic everything (I wish I could). If I choose to work, I have to be CEO, topping the Forbes list of highest paid earners or making some 30 under 30 list, or else it somehow doesn't count. If only my partner understood how stressful it is to decide how to prioritize so we didn't feel like everything we're doing is a complete and total failure.
How Divided I Often Feel
Being that millennials like me typically do the mom and work thing, there's always some are of our lives that can feel neglected. As a result, we feel an immense amount of guilt. My partner doesn't spend hours contemplating or agonizing his roles as a father and provider, so why do I? There's an innate need to take care of everything (and be great while doing it) even if I know dividing my time is nearly impossible.
This very moment, I'm writing, clutching a Lego with my toe for my son, and answering a question about YouTube for my daughter — all at once. Multitasking is part of my makeup, but I feel my attention is stretched a little too far at times. This isn't a problem my partner has. He gives one thing his attention, then the next thing. Multitasking doesn't much exists for him, so why am I set to a different standard?
All The Ways I Want To Make A Difference
The world is a circus, so there's no better time to throw some good karma out there. My partner doesn't completely understand why I agonize over how to help people I don't know, or how much time I spend crying over animals I couldn't rescue. Being a millennial mom means contributing to something bigger than me in order to make the world a better place, somehow. For my kids. For future generations. For everyone.
While activism isn't new, it's certainly more prevalent these days. When I was younger I tried to start a no-kill animal shelter because I'd worked at a humane society and felt the animals deserved better. Another mom might feel a tug in her heart to volunteer at Planned Parenthood because of things she's experienced personally. We all have our stories that tie into the bigger picture, and if there's ever a time to do something as a millennial mom, it's now.
How Much More Educated I Need To Be
When I was younger, I wasn't taught about sexuality, gender roles, or really anything we're talking so much more openly about these days. To be honest, I feel a little set back because of all the work I'm having to do in order to teach my kids the correct lessons about sexuality, race, identity, privilege, feminism, and intersectionality (among other things).
While my partner is inclusive and nonjudgemental, he can't seem to grasp the importance of how we word things with our children or why I aim to do things a specific way (like going to a rally). More importantly, I wish he understood how important it is we teach them to be inclusive, themselves, because at the end of the day, that's one of the only things that matters.
The Lessons We Teach Our Kids
It's more important than ever that I teach my kids how to be good and do good. My partner understands it's necessary to teach empathy and compassion, but what he doesn't fully get is how far I'll go to do it. My childhood was built on outdated principles; essentially things I had to fight my way out of as I grew and stepped out into the real world. I don't want our kids to have the same struggles.
As a millennial mom, it's my responsibility to be thoughtful with the lessons I teach my kids, and the words I choose to express them with. Even if I fail, it's not in me not to try, and actually, I think that's the definition of a millennial mom, FYI.