Millennials are Becoming Mommies & Daddies!

So, shame on me for not writing on this new research yet, but I’ve been rather busy with my own toddler. I’ve written briefly about my experience as a mom in the past, here on Mother’s Day, and here.

Here are a few facts form Advertising Age:

  • 63% of millennial parents ages 25 to 34 are married.
  • 40% of millennials ages 25 to 34 are already parents.
  • Half of all millennial parents in the 25-to-34 age group are Hispanic, African-American, Asian, or another non-Caucasian race.

–Millennial Parents (like their entire generation) are financial stressed: “About 44% of millennial parents are “very financially stressed.”

–Upon becoming parents, shopping habits for millennials switch from places like Abercrombie, H&M, Apple, Macy’s and Sephora to brands like Dollar General, Kohl’s, Lowe’s, Wal-Mart and Value City.

Millennials are still showing signs of Pragmatism

I’ve emphasized this trait since the beginning, agreeing with authors Howe & Strauss that we are “pragmatic idealists“. We may not seem like it but we are a pragmatic bunch. Sure, we’ve been instilled with entitlement issues, and are sometimes known to be avid Unicorn-chasers, but with the world we’ve inherited we have to be smart in our actions and decisions. I really like this trait about millennials.

As David Gutting, VP-strategy director at Barkley puts it “millennials are much more pragmatic than they’re given credit for…events like the recession and resulting high unemployment rates have reshaped how they behave as they begin to form families.”

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Will they or won’t they?

 

Be parents, that is. It’s projected that over the next “10-15 years 80% of millennials will be parents.” Millennials came on the scene after the Counter-Culture Revolution, and we grew up during the Culture Wars. If anything we’ve been given the gift of freedom from cultural obligation and expectation. Our childhood was during the “do what’s right for you” 1990s, so I think that as we continue to grow up there won’t be social stigma attached to not being a parent. Millennials won’t make the decision to be parents based on social expectation.  With that said, I also don’t see a barrier preventing millennials from taking the plunge to parenthood. Basically, a decade from now millennials won’t find it odd that their peers are with or without kids, though many will take the former road (in humble my opinion).

I also think millennials could also be a great parenting generation because of the aforementioned great childhood (in the 1990s– heard of it??). Generally many millennials had a stable family life growing up, and half say they will “raise their kids the way they were raised.” They also have a strong tendency toward pragmatism, and problem-solving. It’s all a great foundation for raising kids.

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Parenting Concerns & Attitude

–52% say they closely monitor their children’s diet.

–64% say the environment has become a top concern now that they are parents.

–61% of these young parents agree, “kids need more unstructured playtime.” Millennials are reversing the ‘helicopter parenting’ trend! (I totally agree with this by the way.)

–82% want their child to know that they don’t need possessions to make them happy. (Post-Recession attitude?)

–Today’s millennial parents show a traditional streak: 48% say, “children do best if a stay-at-home mom raises them.” 

Though millennials may say stay-at-home-moms are good for kids, most millennial moms (61%) are in the workforce. I think there could potentially be a push for more quality and fluid childcare, and jobs that help accommodate child-raising. I think that we will take our digital native mentality with us and create more work-from-home positions (again, my humble opinion). Being extremely entitled, and digital natives, millennials deciding to change cubicle culture would not surprise me at all.

Millennial moms and dads

Research “suggests that millennials really aren’t different from the generations before them.” Parenting changes everything, but also makes it all the same. Being a parent does change everything but it sort of brings a sense of shared attitude with everyone you meet who is also a parent. Regardless of cultural background, age, level of education, and even values, I think parents have a way of relating with one another because there are so many shared experiences. They have shared joys, fears, frustrations.

Keep an eye out, because it will be interesting to see how millennial parents emerge in our culture over the next decade.

Cover image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/a_tom/4807864757/sizes/m/in/photostream/

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2 thoughts on “Millennials are Becoming Mommies & Daddies!

  1. It’s interesting to see that we are becoming parents later and later. Great post Rachel. I definitely know that within 10 or so years I’d like to have children and definitely want unstructured playtime for my children.

  2. Many of the older millenials I know want to have kids, they just don’t seem to think they have to do it any time soon. This is a big change from the “ticking clock” theme that Gen X women grew up with, which carried all sorts of warnings about expiry dates on our ovaries.

    I also notice amongst the 30-something millenials I know, that they seem to see their lives as courses to steer, plot, plan or manage in some way. And having kids is something they plan to add on to these plans – just not right away. As an Xer I don’t remember ever having had such a sense that the course of my life could be managed in this way. There was always a sense of potentially unanticipated eventualities – unknown unknowns – that might intervene and overturn my best laid plans. I don’t mean that everything, or even very many things, in my life felt outside the realm of my personal efficacy and accountability, but I can’t remember approaching the future as if I could choose a colour scheme for my life and pick out accessories which would uniquely reflect my inner awesomeness. Yet that’s the way older millenials seem to approach the prospect of future parenthood: like they were fully intending to sign up to an adventure holiday but were just waiting for the weather to be right and to find the perfect destination before they go ahead and book.

    That sounds mean, I know, but it’s something I am genuinely trying to understand. Reading your post I get a modified impression, very different from the one I get listening to my millenial friends talk about their plans. So it just shows the dangers of generalisation. But there is something generationally going on – some attitude change that no-one’s yet put their finger on, which might explain this curious lack of urgency towards reproduction in many 30-something millenials. Sure, there are economic factors, but affordable housing and reliable, sufficiently well-paid employment were thorny problems for Xers as well.

    It’s gonna matter, cos after all if people wait to become parents until their late 30s, then extrapolate that pattern forward a generation and they’re looking at becoming grandparents when they may be aproaching 80! Think how many families currently rely on help from grandparents, for example providing help with childcare and so on. Increasingly older parents means increasingly elderly grandparents and that’s potentially a real social issue for the future.

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