When I was pregnant with my son, I often turned to my parents for help. She's had three children, after all, so she's knows a thing or two about raising kids. And after he was born, my two moms would take the two-hour drive from the Poconos to the Bronx to babysit their newborn grandson. That no longer happens, not with 1,800 miles between us now, but their help has often made me think about the relationships between millennials and their parents. Specifically, are millennial moms relying on their parents more? The answer, it seems, is: Probably.
I know that's a vague response, but that's because there are no definitive studies on whether or not millennial parents depend on their parents more so than any other generation. Research, though, shows that millennials in general turn to their parental units for help, reported Glamour. And, according to the Pew Research Center, more than one million millennials are becoming parents each year. So it's safe to say there's a chance millennial moms are indeed relying on their parents more.
But let's put statistics aside. Instead, let's discuss why millennials (moms or not) are leaning on their parents more — a controversial reality, if there ever was one.
Unless you've ignored the news, you may have heard that millennials are considered moochers. Of course, that's not true. But that's the story that has been written about the generation, predominantly by baby boomers.
How come millennials have a reputation as freeloaders? Because, according a USA Today/Bank of America Better Money Habits survey, people born in and after 1983 are three times as likely to report receiving financial help from their parents, compared to the help that their parents say they received at the same age. Glamour also reported on another study by Fidelity Investments that found 47 percent of millennials have let their parents cover their bills, while 21 percent are still living with their parents.
But, as USA Today noted, being financially independent as a young adult is virtually impossible nowadays. In the words of personal finance expert Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, who spoke with USA Today,
A lot of today's Millennials are dealing with a lot of financial factors that their parents, and certainly adults in America, did not have to contend with a generation or two ago.
Why has it become harder for this generation to achieve financial freedom? Well, you'd have to look at the fiscal policies baby boomers have helped shepherd in.
It's far more difficult to be a parent in the 21st Century than it was 30 years ago. To raise baby now, parents would have to shell out more than $21,000 in the first year if you're in a two-person household with a $40,000 annual income,according to NerdWallet. If you're making $200,000 a year, the child rearing costs increase to more than $51,000 in the first year alone.
Now compare that to raising a baby in the early aughts. According to CNN Money, the first year costs ran parents less than $10,000 in 2000. In 2010, it skyrocketed to up to $13,830.
But what does this have to do with baby boomers? Well, Republican lawmakers, most of whom belong to the baby boomer generation, have and continue to block legislation that would raise the minimum wage to a livable standard. Adjust wages for inflation, and today's paycheck has nearly the same buying power as it would five decades ago. The average hourly wage in 1964 was $2.50; in 2014, it was $20.67, according to the Pew Research Center. But $2.50 an hour would have the same purchasing power as $19.18 an hour in 2014 dollars.
Simply millennials, including millennial moms, aren't making enough money to raise a child on their own, especially when the federal government refuses to pass sensible child care policy. To expect millennial moms to live the same way as their parents is to ignore all the roadblocks that have been put in their place.