All over the internet, divisive parenting comment threads continue to separate us. Millennial moms vs. Gen X moms vs. Gen Y moms vs. your damn grandma. A while back, an article on Elite daily titled “The New Face of Motherhood” seemed to once again throw more coals on an already hot fire.
Suffice it to say, mothers of all ages certainly have different definitions of what killing it at mothering looks like.
Add me to the over 40 crowd, who has long since left trying to prove anything about our mothering and is more concerned about killing it at places like yoga, book club, or that moms getaway weekend where someone thought it would be a good idea for 12 of us to run 200 miles in two days. (Now that I want to kill at. Not the perfect two-year-old’s birthday cake.)
That my kids are eating 100% organically? Not at the top of my list anymore. So what is? The fact they can totally prepare their own meals. Like all by themselves. Now that, my millennial friends, is killing it, in lazy, over 40 mothering fashion. Going on a grand overseas adventure hauling a carseat? Hauling a toddler to Coachella for folk music immersion? Speaking four different languages at home during the preschool years?
That’s a joke, right?
Anyhow, the article quickly stirred yet another mommy war debate amongst the parenting blogosphere and its internet comment threads. Young moms were offended. Old moms were called “lazy hags” and “jealous” because they didn’t mother that way anymore, a.k.a. the “right” way. Grandmas just laughed, wondering what or who the hell Coachella is. Young moms trounced on the notion of older moms dissing technology, informing us “that’s just the way it all is these days.”
Hold up, now; if my old hag memory serves me right, I was inserting floppy disks into my Apple IIC way before your mom and dad even had their first date. And yet, as I sit here and type, all it seems anyone wants to do lately is raise their kids the old fashioned way. Meaning like we were raised, old school, circa the 70s and 80s.
Now it’s all about buzz words like “slow parenting” and “say yes parenting” and saying no to the pressures, the gadgets, the stuff, the perfection we all now know (at our slightly advanced ages) that can never be reached.
But when the only things millennial moms have seen since they first announced to the world they were pregnant via a gender reveal party on Instagram is the social media version of picture perfect parenting, then that is what I suppose they strive for. And sadly, what they think is “killing it” at motherhood.
So who are the moms who are really killing it? All of us. Our moms and our grandmas. Me in the 40s crowd, you in the 50s crowd, those in their 30s, and yes, even the millennials. In each of our own ways, we are all killing it at motherhood.
My grandmother was killing it at motherhood when she gave birth naturally in 1946 to nine pound twins, assisted by two nuns, without a narcotic within 100 miles. She spent her days canning food, home keeping, hand washing cloth feminine protection products (don’t picture it, trust me) and watching her four kids play in the basement, all without a TV or anything electronic. She was the mom of the now infamous population class called baby boomers, mothering the best way she could with no audience of followers, likes, or hashtags. Her followers were her next door neighbor moms and friends who naturally became her support village. A support village we actually know and can meet in person…like in real life. Now that is killing it.
My mom was killing it at motherhood. Having not gone to college herself, she insisted my sisters and I all went to a university and constantly remind us we could be anything we wanted to be. Having grown up through the birth of feminism, she raised us to have minds of our own, to rebel against following the crowd, to strive to reach what she never had the chance to. And she did it without parenting books, ‘tween girl guidelines, educational pedagogy theories, 24 hour structured activities, school grade accountability apps, and luckily, without the constant stream of parental comparison seeping into her day via social media. Motherhood? She killed it.
My generation were the little girls of the late 70s and 80s and were actually the first to use e-mail in college, before it was even called e-mail. We were the first moms to embrace the thought of a birth plan, to proudly attempt to exclusively breastfeed, to study and practice attachment parenting. We bought our “wear your baby” slings at LaLeche meetings, not off the shelf from Nordstrom’s. When we realized we wanted to make our own baby food, we didn’t scour the internet for recipes and equip our kitchens with $300 worth of Lilliputian blenders and freezable, frog shaped silicon baby food trays. We called our grandmas and asked them how to make baby food. Turns out, you just smash up what you are eating and viola! Dinner is served.
Actually, it was our grandmothers, mothers, and neighbors we reached out to with all our baby questions, not strangers on the internet. We co-slept, bringing about an entire market of convertible type cribs that attached to beds. We joined food co-ops before Whole Foods was even a blip on the map. We demanded more educational TV programming for the preschool set, and suddenly entire networks of them appeared. We threw elaborate birthday parties with homemade cakes shaped like space rockets and managed to do book reports and science projects using dial up. And the only evidence of all those early years, of all the killing it we did as mothers, is on 4×6 prints in photo books we used to scrapbook in, not across the entire landscape of the internet in no less than five different cloud accounts. Yep. We killed it, too.
Now the young, cool millennial moms are killing it. Of course they are. They are killing it because of the killer moms that came before them. Maybe they are killing it in more stylish clothes, with more hippie bohemian kids, with more technology, with more virtual friends, with more sass, gumption, and an all out, in your face (and on Instagram!) “I am parenting like a boss!” mentality.
You know what I say to them? Awesome! Hell yea, you are killing it! And I’m glad you are. We love that you are killing it. Kinda makes us proud.
Each generation wants the next to do better, be better, mother better, as it will make all of our futures better. But can you do me one favor? Give a little credit to the moms who came before you. If it wasn’t for us, well, you know how that goes.