Millennial mothering

by Tsholo Maluleke
Millennial mothering - BabyYumYum
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When we look at the job description of being a parent, it’s pretty standard – keep the child alive, nurture, teach them how to survive and ultimately thrive in the world once out of your care. As straight forward as this is, the parenting gig has taken various shapes over the years, through different generations says, Tsholo Maluleke.

Where a mom was once only the home maker, always available and revolving her world around the kids, she is now evolved to doing as much as she can while offering herself the same amount of nurture and care. So, what makes parenting through the ages so different and how does this affect the type of children groomed for the world?

We hear from moms who are parenting in a new era as Millennial Moms, unashamedly consulting Dr Google, referencing Professor YouTube and building online communities.

Technically speaking, a millennial mom is someone born between 1981 – early 1990s (up to 1996) – but practically so, she is an online savvy hun, heavily reliant on digital technology, social media and smart phone capabilities. Access and convenience are at the forefront of how she navigates through the role.

“Millennial moms are exposed to a lot of information, question a lot of things and are choosing a more liberal approach in raising children as little humans” shares Zinhle Mlangeni, self-acclaimed google and social media mom who believes “technology has made things easier, accessible for information sharing and community building.”

Access to information and experiences is top priority for these moms, often allowing things most of us would have only dreamed of at a young age. “I allow sleepovers and playdates and my daughter had a cell phone by the age of 5” shares Khumo Malangu, millennial mom and an advocate for gentleness in parenting.

Also read: Tiger mom or free range?

Gen X and Baby Boomer

Moms of the Gen X and Baby Boomer era are more commonly identified as the type of parent that will less likely be concerned with gluten & lactose measures in food, less precious about trying to understand their child’s emotional status and soothing their instant emotional and mental gratification itch.

They might even still give hidings as a form of punishment, like mom of one, Refue Mofokeng , who still does give smacking, “just not as frequently as my parents did,” she adds, “I believe he must grow himself under my guidance, be respectful and care about his community.”

When comparing parenting through generations you could easily be fooled into thinking millennials are raising spoilt kids with an entitled sense of being, but millennial mom of two, Danyella Liebenberg strongly argues, “Gone are the days of children being seen and not heard. I encourage my children to have their own voice and opinion, even if I don’t like the answer,” she adds.

Millennial mom Michelle Parnell is prioritising filling up her kids emotional cup. She wants her kids to always know she is the first person they can come to and encourages open communication. “If my children want or need anything from the shops, I will go out of my way to get it for them before they get home from school,” she says.

On the other side, earlier era parents are less readily available. “I have a clear line between parent time, work time and kid time. I have clear boundaries about interrupting and my kids know that I am not always available to them unless it’s a crisis or emergency,” Gen X mom, Nikki Temkin, and Managing Editor of this website, shares.

Click for: The Motherload: The invisible mental load of women

Future of parenting

The future of parenting looks like it will continue to integrate technology, while guarding emotional and mental health and encouraging authentic expression. Ultimately Millennial Moms are striving to raise kids who are independent, the best version of themselves and have an unwavering curiosity for the world – not a far-removed goal from Gen X parents like Temkin who aims to ensure that her kids “belong to a tribe and community, have hobbies, are interesting and know that having money will make life easier”.

Ultimately, The goal remains the same for parents of all generations: to raise, happy, successful and healthy adults even if the methods differ.

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