They say we are self-centered. They say we are narcissistic. They say we are entitled. They say we can’t live a single day without the Internet. I have to admit that these are all true to some degree, being a Millennial mom myself. But, really, there should be more to a Millennial mom than just these rash generalizations. Who is the Millennial mom? What is she really like as a parent, as a Filipina? I wrote this blog in an attempt to shed light on who the Millennial mom really is, using various research studies as sources.
According to a survey by Weber Shandwick, Millennial moms are mothers who were born between 1978 and 1994. Approximately one in five moms (or 22%) is a Millennial mom, which accounts for about 9 million people. Millennials are otherwise known as Gen-Yers or Generation Y, echo boomers or children of Baby Boomers, and Digital Natives (Millennials Rising, 2000).
Millennial Moms in the Philippines
Apart from taking over the workforce, surpassing Gen-Xers for the first time, they are also taking over as parents.
But the Millennial parents, particularly the Millennial mother, want to do things differently. In fact, according to an article from Pop Sugar, Millennial moms don’t want to raise their kids the same way they were raised by their Baby Boomer parents. For instance, they want to be more involved, but they want their children to be more independent. They want to explore different child-care options, like baby-wearing, exclusive breastfeeding, organic puree-feeding, and the like. They are more emotional about parenting, but are often less patient.
However, I personally believe there are some areas where Filipino Millennial moms are different from their global counterparts.
According to a research by Publicis Manila, Philennials or Millennials in the Philippines, are deeply attached to their parents, and majority live with an extended family. Because they live in a multi-generational household, the Millennial moms’ parenting principles are largely influenced by that of their own parents’—in my case, even grandparents. But the Millennial moms are already developing their own parenting philosophies, which are oftentimes at odds with what their Gen-X and Baby Boomer counterparts practice. The conflict causes Millennial moms to be more assertive with their views and seek support from outside the family circle, i.e. social groups, clubs and online forums.
This household set-up also presents financial problems for the Millennial mom. According to Publicis, the Filipino concept of “utang na loob” (indebtedness) to parents and other older members of the household are compelling our generation to contribute to family expenses and become co-breadwinners. Millennial parents often have to balance their obligations with their parents and their duties to their own growing families.
The Millennial Mom is Always Connected
Again, as I have to reiterate many times during conversations with members of the older generations, it is not the Millennial’s fault that they’re lives revolve around technology. Our generation came of age just as the Internet became popular. Millennial moms are no different. According to the Weber Shandwick report, a Millennial mom uses three or four different social accounts—such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and sometimes YouTube—and she spends an average of 17 hours a week on these social networking sites.
Millennial moms are also found to use these sites to reach out to fellow moms for advice or to validate their parenting decisions and actions.
They also rely on mobile devices as a way to connect with their children when they’re away, as a form of distraction for their kids, and as a “digital scrapbook” of sorts where they could store their kids’ photos and videos growing up.
The Millennial Mom is Influential
Not only do they have a strong buying power but they also don’t keep this a secret. According to Pop Sugar’s report, about 90% of Millennial moms love sharing information about their purchases, like products and services they’ve used, places they’ve stayed in, their business ventures, and financial investments. Even brands all over the world are recognizing this new market segment and are reaching out to them in various ways.
The Millennial Mom Wants Me Time
The same report from Pop Sugar also said that 20% of Millennial moms wouldn’t mind paying to have someone help them around the house so they can have time for themselves. I think the same goes with a lot of us Pinays. I have a nanny who takes care of my child when I need to work or attend to personal things. I also often come across moms in my social media groups seeking advice on how to manage childcare with a much-needed trip to the salon or shopping or just going out with friends.
The Millennial Mom Prioritizes Healthy Eating
A market research study by Exponential found that Millenial moms prioritize healthy eating regardless of income levels. They are likely to shop for natural and organic food, and are more interested in cooking at home and searching for healthy recipes. When it comes to preparing food for their children, Millennial moms often go for real food rather than baby cereals.
This is also evident in the growing popularity of exclusive breastfeeding in the country. According to a 2011 Family Health Survey, 92% of children in the Philippines aged six to 35 months had been breastfed at some time. Apart from actively celebrating Breastfeeding Awareness Month in August, mothers are now promoting the “Breast is Best” principle and the importance of breastfeeding through various events around the country, with support from both the private and public sectors.
The Millennial Mom is Concerned About Her Looks
The Exponential study also reported that Millennial moms—particularly those who are working—spend a lot on cosmetics, beauty and skincare products. There’s a particular period in our time when women in general obsessed over YouTube makeup tutorials and product reviews. The popular #kilayislife echoes our love for perfectly groomed eyebrows. Millennial moms are no different. Several mommy blogs, videos and events are campaigning about the mothers’ general wellbeing, stressing that mothers should look good and feel good all the time. Again, you can’t argue with a generation who grew up in the era of “selfie” taking and photo-sharing.
The Millennial Mom is Creative
According to Pop Sugar, Millennial moms think outside the box when engaging with their communities. Some turn to blogging about their adventures as a mother (ehem), while others share their healthy toddler-food recipes on Pinterest. Some also sell their crafts online.
Millennial moms are also observed to be more interested in DIY. According to Exponential, moms often use Pinterest and Instagram to show off their projects.
The Millennial Mom is Supportive of Causes
As a member of the popular Breastfeeding Pinays Group, I would attest to this. The mothers in this group are very passionate about their advocacies and they go to great lengths to promote their principles and beliefs. According to Exponential, Millennial moms are often receptive to causes, especially if they resonate with their ideals as a parent. They are also more interested in giving to charities and supporting products that are linked to bigger causes.
I know a Millennial mom is more than just what these numbers tell. I have to add that Millennial moms, in general, are more empowered, which has less to do with their tech-savviness than their overall perspective of the world. I think this is because Millennial moms always want to learn. They are open to different views and opinions. They have high regard to their Baby Boomer and Gen-Xer counterparts. They know what they want and they work hard to get it.
To my fellow Millennial mothers, how much of a millennial mom are you? Do you agree with these research findings? Share your comments below.