Sunday, March 6

Millennial Moms: Is This You?

(Spoiler alert: a link to my radio debut is at the end of this post!)

If you were born any time from the late 70's onward, you can join me in calling yourself a Millennial Mom. What's so special about us? Well, according to a new study from BBDO and Curiosity Inc., a whole lot. And since I was fortunate enough to be one of the study's participants, I can give you some inside scoop!

Last summer, I was selected to take part in some research on modern motherhood. (At that point, I didn't even realize I was a Millennial Mom!) BBDO commissioned the study, which was conducted by the oh-so- creative Curiosity Inc. Thank goodness I was on holidays (you may have heard that we teachers get a lot of time off) because the process was actually pretty intense.

It began with an online study, and every day there were questions to answer. These weren't just multiple choice and fill-in-the-blanks survey staples, but some deep and thought-provoking topics. I don't want to give away Curiosity's procedural secrets, but some prompts involved photos, ads, links...I believe I even wrote a sonnet at one point. (Kidding.)

The second piece was a video diary. Each evening, my husband recorded me on a neat little loaner FlipCam (I've gotta get me one of those) discussing my day's high and lows, and answering an additional question. A little side benefit to this exercise is that hubby felt he really got to know me better throughout the process, as sometimes the high or low surprised him, or he learned something from one of my responses that he never knew about me before.

Finally, there was a focus group at the Curiosity office where I got to speak with other participants face-to-face. It's always great to meet other like- (and even unlike-) minded moms.

Once our work was done, the experts did their job with all of the data, and the findings were released just weeks ago.

Curious to know how we Millennial Moms are characterized? Here we go:

  • We see motherhood as a team sport. Darn right. Daddy is an equal partner (more on that later), and I'll take all of the collaboration that my child's grandparents, daycare provider, and teacher are willing to offer. Case in point: in lieu of costly skating lessons which could steal away a Saturday or Sunday each week, my parents come up every Thursday morning and take the girls to a public skating program. It's terrific bonding time, and it is also a very-appreciated "parenting" contribution.

  • We're a "Choose Your Own Adventure" generation, not hung up on tradition, taking in information from various sources before making a decision. I am proudly following in my mom's teacher/mommy footsteps, listening to the doctors who tell me to put my babies to sleep on their backs, and agreeing with my girlfriends who make couple time a priority. There are lots of "experts" in my life.

  • We're "go with the flow" moms, not hung up on parental perfectionism. Now, I have to admit that I can be very hard on myself, so I might not fit in perfectly with my demographic counterparts on this one, but I'm definitely not a helicopter parent, and I'd like to think I don't push my daughters towards perfectionism.

  • We're mompreneurs, blending our entrepreneurial spirit with motherhood. For me, that means freelance writing and blogging, based on my parenting experiences. For our generation, self-expression is incredibly important. Interestingly, CBC Metro Morning host Karen Horsman told me I made a "bold statement" when sharing that I needed to be a mom to feel complete, but that motherhood alone isn't enough to complete me.
    Leelou Blogs

  • We want Dad to be a partner, and my hubby definitely is. We still work within some old gender roles (he does the yardwork, I do the laundry) but we're okay with that. I think it must be said though that sometimes it's hard to relinquish parenting control. Maybe it's because I'm a borderline Millennial that I don't embrace it totally, but I still want to choose the girls' clothes and hairstyles, and be in on all correspondence with their daycare provider and teacher. While we're on the topic of this partnership, it's important to note that Millennial Dads do not "babysit".

  • Despite common perception, we use technology less for community and more for information, and to stay connected with our "real life" family and friends (e.g. through texting and tweeting). Many in the blog world may disagree, as some moms do go online for community, especially when life circumstances (mat leave, relocation) limit face-to-face contact. Moms may also seek out friends on the net when a child suffers from a specific condition that their own circle of friends can't relate to or help with. As a blogger myself, I do have to agree with the findings, as I go to the web to get info, or sometimes entertainment, and then I'm gone again. My own blog was started as a creative pursuit, and not driven by any sort of need to form bonds. Based on the stat I found that less than 5% of blog visitors actually interact and leave a comment (which I can confirm based on my own traffic) it seems like a valid finding.

  • Millennial Moms also value old-fashioned play for kids over technology. I shared that finding with my husband, who was very surprised as he assumed we were the exception to the rule, the only parents in the country who don't put their four year old on the computer. As teachers, we know that kids are going to get more than enough exposure, and quickly (Frannie already loves computer games at daycare and school). We encourage them to play dress-up, do crafts and play with their dolls...real old school stuff! I think also that the Millennial generation as a whole can remember how quickly we surpassed our own parents' technological prowess (or lack thereof) and know that our children will follow suit without our assistance, so why push it?
The most exciting part of this for me was that I was invited to join CBC Metro Morning host Karen Horsman and BBDO Vice President/Account Planner Adrianne Gaffney to discuss the findings on-air, appropriately on Family Day. Click here for my CBC Metro Morning interview (approximately 7 minutes long).

I'd love to know what you think...are you a Millennial who takes issue with any of these findings? Are you a (slightly) older Gen Y or Gen Xer who doesn't see any distinction between yourself and us mommy-come-latelys?

If you're a blogger, please let me know if you'd like a copy of the press release to discuss on your site, or I'd be more than happy to hook you up with BBDO for more information.

Now the big question is, can this Millennial Mom refer to herself as "star of radio" after a seven minute clip? I think maybe it's time to go change my profile...

7 comments:

Tawny said...

:( I can't seem to get the link working.

It's really interesting that they have a name for us. Millennial Moms. Hmm I think I should now start referring to myself as that and put it on my various profiles as you should for your new-found radio stardom! :)

Filia Artis said...

From reading the description, it doesn't sound like too far off as a general or broad description of how I see myself and my peers. Thank you for sharing this.

It's neat that you were given a chance to participate and to speak about your experience on CBC - yes, you have totally earned the title "radio star" in my books!

I am left wondering what some of the more negative findings were and how we can use them to parent better or become conscious of the major challenges we face - how do we get those in other generations to support/understand where we are? How do we change social systems to work better with where we are coming from - you mentioned "Mompreneuring" and I still see a need to adapt the workplace to accommodate the modern parenting paradigm. Daddy (or Mommy!) are sometimes expected be "Don Draper" during the day at work and then "June Cleaver" at home and that's a hard balancing act!

This Mom said...

Christina from the Do-tique has written a post inspired in part by the Millennial Moms study findings.

Check it out here: http://thedo-tique.blogspot.com/2011/03/double-doing.html

Allison B said...

I can totally see myself in those findings. I didn't realize it was a generational thing. I wonder what the next generation of moms will look like!

One thing that I noticed was missing (and maybe because it is just me and not an entire generation!), is the value we place on the environment when considering playthings for the kids. I am already preparing for a conversation with my in-laws that will go something like "I would much prefer that you buy 1 set of good wooden blocks for my child for Christmas then 10 breakable plastic toys that are made in China with batteries, wheels, crazy sounds, and over packaging."

I wonder if others in our generation are also fans of the "Less, but better" movement?

millennialdad said...

Millennial Dad here! I've been writing a millennial parenting blog for almost three years now, and recently went on the search for other blogs of millennial parents, and yours was the first I stumbled across. Nice to see there are some others out there!

Anonymous said...

How can we get a copy of this research?

This Mom said...

Send me an e-mail: katewinn77 at yahoo dot ca. I'll put you in touch with the researchers.