The New Mom
While mothers of every generation want their children to be happy, healthy, and prosper, how each generation parents their children changes with time. Moms within each generation have different values, priorities, resources, work patterns, and parenting styles.
“The New Mom” — the millennial mom — is different from her mother in many ways, but data can only tell us so much about her life and motivations. I spoke with three moms in the Boston area with children under 5 years old to learn about their experiences with everything from choosing names to shopping online.
“I guess the name isn’t as unique as I thought!”
Gone are the days where every boy was named Chris or Matt and every girl was named Jessica or Emily. Moms now place a high value on their child’s name being one of a kind. Leslie, mom of two boys, 2 and 5, said naming her sons was a very data-driven process for her and her husband.
“We downloaded the top 100 names of The Greatest Generation and then cross-referenced with popular millennial names,” Leslie said. “What was left became options.”
Molly, mom to an 8-month-old boy, picked out the name “Oliver” because it was on both her and her husband’s top list of names. “I wanted his name to be different, but Oliver is now on the list of top names for 2016, so I guess it’s not as unique as a I thought!” she said.
“He requests scrambled eggs with truffle oil.”
The role of food in the lives of children has also evolved with the new mom. Millennial moms are introducing a broader food palate at a younger age, allowing them to make one meal for the whole family and hopefully avoiding picky eater tendencies. Millennial moms tend to be more thoughtful and rigorous in their food choices for their children. “I think we’re sensitive to different issues than my parents were,” said Kristen from Somerville, a mom of a 4-year-old and 2-year-old.
“I’m a foodie, so I take a more palate perspective approach than food pyramid approach,” said Leslie. “When I was a kid, dinner was an overcooked porkchop with a rice or noodle and peas. With my kids, I elevate meals to expose them to the most flavor options. I teach them about ‘combo bites’ — how combining two foods can make the bite more delicious. Ollie, my 5-year-old, loves sushi and requests scrambled eggs with truffle oil.”
Molly says that she and her husband focus on feeding Oliver balanced meals with organic fruits and vegetables. “He even gets wild caught salmon! He gets better food than we do,” Molly said.
However, at the end of the day, moms just want their kids to eat. Leslie comments that she’s a lot more lenient than her own mother was. “If they want to sit on the couch and watch cartoons as I feed them, so be it. As long as I get to sit on the couch too.”
“It’s a conscious effort on my part to take my kids to get outside.”
Play has taken a different shape with the newest generation of moms. In the past, kids would run around their neighborhoods until the street lights came on, and they would walk to school starting from a young age. Leslie notes, “We don’t parent that way anymore — we’re always with our kids. It’s a conscious effort on my part to take my kids to get outside and play to encourage gross motor experience.”
Encouraging children to play outside, to run, jump, climb, dig, and share is critical for children’s development, and millennial moms are more actively involved in this process than previous generations.
“I also love buying him unique clothing from Instagram or Etsy.”
Social media and technology have allowed the millennial generation to be the most connected generation of mothers. Family and friends have a front-row seat to the adorable matching shirts and Pinterest-inspired birthday parties they might have otherwise missed. Millennial moms are creating a life for themselves that doesn’t just feel good, but looks good too. Baby, toddler, and child fashion are very “in” right now — just check out the #babyOOTD and #toddlerfashion hashtags on Instagram.
Speaking of baby and kid fashion, technology has changed how millennial moms shop too. Moms are online shopping and looking for quality products with a reasonable price tag. Kristen said, “We mostly shop on Amazon, since I dislike going into stores, and I like being able to see user reviews and feedback.”
A common theme among the moms I spoke with was the need for comfort and quality. “I look for things that are soft, that I know Ollie will be comfortable in.” said Leslie. “I always think, ‘how cozed will Ollie be?’ That’s his word: cozed.” Molly echoed the comfort sentiment, saying, “I look for really comfortable clothes for Oliver because he’s a wild boy. I also love to buy him unique clothing from Instagram or Etsy.”
“I’m a total affection junkie.”
Something that came up across the board for all three women I spoke with was the importance of love and affection. Molly grew up in an affectionate family and said she wants to raise Oliver with the same sense of love and affection.
Leslie said, “My family is very very close; we’re intimate and we like to be together all the time. We put a lot of emphasis on affection between the boys, hugs and kisses before school — that’s not something I grew up with.” Leslie also said, “We’re thoughtful about guarding their hearts and protecting the atmosphere they’re in. We want them to be kids!”
Kristen echoed a similar sentiment, “I’m a total affection junkie, so my favorite part of parenting is the time we spend snuggling, reading on the sofa, or walking and holding hands. I feel it’s important to make sure kids know they are loved deeply, so I try to both tell and show them how much they mean to me.”
“The new mom” — millennial moms, just like every generation before them, want their children to be healthy and happy. The new mom is affectionate, stylish, adventurous, protective, and open-minded. Just like her kids, she’s one of a kind. If you want to know what the new mom is really like, go talk to her! She’s on social media, so you know exactly where to reach her.
Looking for more insights into the millennial mom? Let us help.