Millennial mom, you’re in charge. More than 80 percent of new mothers are part of the Millennial generation. That probably means your child’s grandmother is a youngish Boomer or an older Gen Xer. While those mothers started adulting at a very different time, and a lot has changed since then, they did get some things right.
One of the wisest things any mother can do is admit she needs help and doesn’t know it all. But it’s not always easy to ask your own mother or an older mom in your life for advice. That’s especially true when you’ve seen her mistakes and wonder if her specific way was the right way. But looking at a generation’s ideals can give us a wider glimpse of some habits we want to bring back into vogue. So if you’re thinking “I can’t even,” take a look at five things you might actually like about the mom-style of Boomers and Gen X.
Gen X moms, born between 1965 and 1979, started the trend of spending more time with their kids. They are hands-on and many of them raised their kids before smartphones took over. That’s the challenge facing Millennial moms—going phone-free, at least some of the time. Studies show that when we’re using our phones, we get annoyed when our kids need our attention. Studies also show the benefit of giving our kids our full attention. So aim for lots of phone-free time when you’re with your kids.
Studies show that when we’re using our phones, we get annoyed when our kids need our attention.
Gen X moms were the first to recognize the value of cultivating grit in their children. They don’t mind if their kids have to struggle—if it leads to character building. Of course, a Gen X mom is careful not to let the struggle push the child to discouragement. Millennial moms know the value of grit, too, but because electronics are such a quick fix for irritable or frustrated kids, it’s easy to do away with grit-building frustration. Try to let your kids feel bored and teach them to work through frustration.
3. Higher Power
A greater percentage of Boomer moms made faith a part of their kids’ lives while the Millennial mom is less likely to take part in organized religion. Still, even if you don’t feel very spiritual, regular worship attendance is good for children; they do better academically, are less likely to divorce, and have better physical health.
Here’s a group you might not have heard about. Traditionalists were born between 1900 and 1945. Unlike the Boomers, they didn’t have a hippie phase or fight to hang on to their youth. When their kids came along, they faded into the background willingly. They sacrificed a lot for their kids, and they weren’t bitter; they were mature. A Millennial mom would do anything for her kids, too, but because of all of the pressure to stay woke, Insta-ready, and relevant, she can feel pressure to keep more of the focus on herself. Take the pressure off. I believe you’re important because God created you with love and purpose. That’s powerful.
Gen Xers came along when jobs were more plentiful and climate change wasn’t a stressful topic. Maybe that less intense environment is why they’re more relaxed. Gen X moms are much less likely to say “OK, Boomer” than Millennials are. Gen X is also less likely to lash out and isn’t enmeshed in the cancel culture. The Millennial mom can share her angst and anger about every topic related to parenting. So she tends to be more intense, which isn’t always great for modeling acceptance and kindness to her kids. The Gen X “live and let live” model is something all generations can learn from.
What generation are you and how does it affect your parenting?