8 Things You Need to Know About Millennial Moms
As parents, we often shake our heads at "kids these days" — millennials who would rather stare at the screen of their iPhone than the person sitting across from them at the dinner table, and who, because they got trophies just for showing up, have come to expect the same accolades at their first jobs out of school.
We shudder to think: what happens when those kids become parents?
Well, for starters, it's already happening. Those millennials — widely recognized as people born between 1980 and the early 2000s — have not simply taken over the workforce, surpassing Generation Xers for the first time. According to an analysis of new US Census Bureau data, they're now taking over as parents. Roughly one in five moms is a millennial, and they now account for almost 90 percent of the 1.5 million new mothers within the last year. To put it another way, there are nine million of them raising kids as we speak.
Thankfully, all is not lost for future generations. In fact, most millennial moms don't want to raise their children the same way they were brought up. They want to be more involved than baby boomers, for whom "parenting" wasn't even yet a verb, but they want to hover a little less than those helicopter moms of Gen X. Just as they believe in a diverse portfolio of social media accounts, they are aiming to employ aspects of many different child-raising philosophies in their homes. They see a happy median between baby-wearing, organic-puree-making moms and free-range parents who don't believe in boundaries.
Not only that, but millennial moms are becoming more prevalent in the landscape of modern parenting, and more powerful as well, as companies around the globe begin marketing directly to them.
Here, some of the most intriguing facts about the rise of the millennial mom — and for those parents in their late 20s and early 30s, we're looking at you . . .
You're Seriously Smart
More millennials have a college degree than any other generation of young adults, according to a White House report, and considering that women have outpaced men in earning bachelor's degrees, it's a given that today's moms are well-educated.
You've Been Shaped by Technology
This generation as a whole has been defined by the fact that it came of age with the Internet, so it might not be a shock that millennial moms are highly connected. They use an average of 3.4 different accounts — namely Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, followed by LinkedIn and YouTube — and they spend 17 hours a week with those networks. That's four more hours each week than the average mom, according to a Weber Shandwick report on marketing to the demographic.
You Have Legit Followers
Yes, many might lament that millennials love to hear themselves speak, but for the most part, mom counterparts have something meaningful to say. Roughly 90 percent of them share information about purchases they've made and services they've used — everything from grocery store brands to health insurance plans and financial investments. What's more, millennial moms have listeners. They are asked for their recommendations 74 percent more frequently than others in their peer group. And why not? Millennial moms are quite popular, with an average of 24 "close friends." That's a lot of influence.
You Don't Want to "Be Mom" All the Time
"Me time" is a hot commodity for this new generation of moms. In fact, 20 percent of millennial moms say they'd pay $150 a month to have someone help manage their busy lives and tackle the to-do list items they'd rather not do.
You're Surprisingly Traditional
One might assume this new group of moms would be all about "having it all" when it comes to that elusive work/life balance and would have an equal split of responsibilities with their partners. For better or worse, however, millennial parents maintain a surprisingly traditional division of labor. Perhaps following a wave of career-minded women who quit high-powered jobs to return to domestic life or simply because it's still too difficult for women to return to jobs following a pregnancy, this group of moms spends half as much time in paid work but twice what fathers do on childcare and household maintenance. Although still a sizable discrepancy, a Young Invincibles report shows that the inequity is shrinking compared to previous generations.
You Have It Harder Than Your Mom
Despite being members of the most educated generation in history, their earning power has been stifled because of, simply, bad timing: many entered the job market just as the economy tanked. For those working moms who started their careers during the recession, they earn up to nine percent less per year than those who didn't. According to a new Goldman Sachs report on millennial moms, this inevitably means they have to do more with less time.
You Do Things Differently Than Your Mom
Because millennial moms tend to be strapped for time, they've all but done away with etiquette guidelines of generations past. A recent BabyCenter study notes this group of women are twice as likely to communicate with their own parents via text and also twice as likely to send birthday party invitations online. Tangentially, they're 21 percent less likely to send a handwritten thank-you note in the postal mail.
You Find Creative Ways to Engage
Although millennial moms might have grown up entitled, they prefer to engage with their communities in interesting ways, whether blogging about the highs and lows of having twins, posting family-friendly recipes on popular cooking sites, or opening an Etsy shop to sell custom-made products. In fact, one in five moms surveyed by BabyCenter have started a blog with substantial followers, and more than half reported plans to start their own business. Now that's progress.