When the term Xennial — a word that describes the micro-generation born between 1977 and 1983 — came on the scene, it didn't take long before it was applied to mothers. We've been discussing millennial mom characteristics for so long, it makes sense that there would be conversations around Oregon Trail parents, like myself. There's plenty that's accurate (from our distrust of institutions to our nostalgia for simpler times), but there are actually quite a few things people get wrong about Xennial moms.
I've always felt disingenuous describing myself as a millennial mom. (I know I'm a fraud in my "my mom game is strong" shirt.) My kid doesn't have a tablet, her name doesn't end in -yden, and I think Frozen is overrated. Just kidding. Not about the Disney, but I do know that those stereotypes about millennial moms are just as unfair as the ones about my generation. Do I walk a line between cynicism and optimism? Between my analog and digital experience? Between helicopter and free range parenting? Sure. Being firmly ensconced in the middle is certainly a characteristic of my generation that informs how I raise my children. But I don't appreciate the assumption that I need help navigating Class Dojo or a lecture about the benefits of eating organic.
"The Lucky Ones" are a distinct cohort, but for every nugget of truth about us as moms, there's a misconception, including the following:
That We're The Same As Millennial Moms
Contrary to popular belief, we're not just geriatric millennials. As much as I love the Pew Research Center, I will fight you over their definition of millennial as anyone born between 1981 and 1996. Our pre-internet upbringing does set us apart and we are navigating parenting differently than our millennial counterparts.
That We're Not Tech Savvy
Just because we didn't grow up with cell phones doesn't mean we don't know how to effectively utilize technology. As Xennial moms, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are totally in our wheelhouses. Features like stories or filters might throw us off initially, but we'll be be putting flower crowns on our mini-mes before you can say, "You've died of dysentery."
That We Want You To Call Us
OMG. No. Please don't call us. I mean, we have great memories of stretching the cord from the kitchen to the dining room for long chats with our best friends (whose phone numbers we still have memorized, by the way), but if you want to schedule a play date, just sent us a text.
That We Don't Post About Our Kids On Social Media
It's not that we're completely anti-social media kid posts. We're just a little wary. Elaborate pregnancy announcements and gender reveals are foreign to us, and we really don't want to see a picture of your child's first poop in the potty on our newsfeed. But that doesn't mean that if our kid is walking around in nothing but a superhero cape, we won't Instagram the you-know-what out of it.
That Our Kids Have Free Reign
Xennial parents are by no means authoritarian. After all, we're the kids who walked to the Circle K by ourselves to buy Big League Chew. We think it's good for our kids to be bored and to solve their own problems, but that doesn't mean we're devil-may-care.
Rules are few and thoughtfully chosen in Xennial-run households, but they are hard and fast. By all means, ride your bike around the neighborhood, kiddo, but you will wear your helmet.
That We're Not Informed
Just because we're not digital natives doesn't mean we don't know how to use "the Google." We may actually be more informed than the average mom because we use a variety of sources. Whether it's best breastfeeding practices or potty training methods, we're going to read books, pose questions in online forums, and ask our own moms.
Oh, and for the record, we know all about coconut oil.
That We Read The Comments
Oh, you think we're neglectful because our toddlers plays outside by themselves? You have thoughts about the Easy Mac we served for lunch? We don't know you and also, we forgot to care.
We are so over the so-called Mommy Wars. Like the generational middle children we are, we'll find best of each side and cobble together a both/and approach. And we'll be nice while we're at it.