Millennials…what do you think of when you think of us? In the traditional business world, the term millennial is often treated as a swear word. We are believed to be
Leeching off our elders,
Who are never going to amount to anything.
My personal favorite is when employers complain that their millennial employees aren’t “loyal” to them. But this article isn’t about the workplace in the traditional sense. This article is about parenting in a world where we are told “you can’t/shouldn’t/won’t be able to amount to anything”. We are classified as entitled and selfish, thereby inherently unable to parent effectively.
But what does it really mean to be a millennial parent? Because we are out there. I am one. So is my husband. We are living proof that our generation is fully capable of rearing strong, loving children.
What I have learned/observed/discerned (in my short 10.5 years of being a millennial parent):
- We have the same basic concerns our parents did with added dangers and fears.
- The basics of child rearing haven’t really changed over the centuries. Children need food, clothing, and shelter just like any other human. They also need learning opportunities (inside a “classroom” and out) and a chance to grow into their own personality. Most kids will need boundaries, rules, and supervision. I don’t think anyone will argue those points.
- We are trying to make the world a better place for a children rather than providing the “best” or everything for them
- We are rediscovering the “old ways” and making them our own.
- Our idea of getting back to basics and having a minimalist philosophy brings a smile to our face.
- Our innovative souls are seeking ways to make a global impact and still save everyone at home.
- We grew up without the public eye but were thrust into it as teenagers and young adults without knowing its perils, dangers, or the opportunities to succeed.
- We have the opportunity to give our children a new kind of education, curated and culled from the greatest minds.
- Our village is bigger than ever before. The virtual village facilitated by the widespread availability and use of the internet has changed the way we interact with other parents and how we meet each other.
- We have access to unlimited resources to figure this whole parenting thing out.
Need a support group?
Every imaginable group is out there. If you can’t find one that meets your needs, you can make your own. Most of the time there is another person looking for the exact same thing you are. They find you and then tell 10 of their friends about your group. All of a sudden, you have your own virtual village.
With all of this progress, I thought resources targeted to us as millennial parents would be in abundance. I found quite the opposite. I did a few Google searches just to see the lay of the land. What I discovered both excited and annoyed me.
For parents in general there is an insane amount of information out there on this parenting thing. Mind boggling in fact. Google returned 202 million results on the search term “parenting” while “first time parent” came in with 136 million results.
This data makes total sense. Parents turn to the internet for just about everything. It would follow that there would be a plethora of places online that cater to parents.
Millennial Parenting Resources
I was not prepared for the lack and scarcity of resources targeted for millennial parents. I’m not talking about which stroller to buy or why you need this particular crib. Where is the real deal info that parents of any age need to know, but especially how millennial parents can navigate this crazy world?
The first page of results generally focused on the millennial parent as the subject. We are a topic of conversation still rather than an actual demographic that needs support. The generations above us are still working out what our contributions are and will be to the parenting conversation.
“First time millennial parents” – 926,000 results
“Millennial Parenting” – 542,000 results
“Millennial Parents” – 559,000 results
“Parenting a Millennial” – 2.39 million results
As you can see the conversation surrounding parenting millennials (parenting us) is still proportionally larger than the conversations being had by and for millennial parents. We have an opportunity to influence the global conversation and support each other on this parenting adventure.
Excited & Annoyed
Earlier I mentioned I was excited and annoyed by the results of my research. Why do I feel both? Annoyed because somehow it feels like we’ve been cheated and left to fend for ourselves and then accused of not doing a good enough job, at anything. Annoyance at our own lack of vocal presence in a space where we are talked about constantly.
Excited because it means the playing field is wide open for millennial parents to create their own space. We have an opportunity to make a mecca of awareness, support, and resources to raise up the next generation of creatives. Our youth brings with it the obligation to mold our world into one we are proud to call home. It isn’t enough to “like” a world changing opportunity, we have to act on it.
So are we lazy, entitled screw-ups leeching off our elders, who are never going to amount to anything? The truth is you have them in every generation. The true millennial spirit is alive and well. Making the most of what we have and finding joy in every moment is an integral part of every millennial family I know.
I put all of this before you to say that we are underestimated. We are under-represented. I’m not getting on a high horse about how awesome we are, I’m saying we have an opportunity to create our own conversation and build our own resources. We can start the conversation about how to work together to raise our children to be fiscally aware, environmentally conscience, and courageously caring toward their neighbor. The truth is we are the voices of change in the parenting world. We are the rising wave of voices preparing to bring our own experience to the “adult world”.