How Millennial and Women from the 70’s See Motherhood
You may have heard a lot about millennials! Some even said millennials are a myth. For others, millennials represent a whole new breed of human beings. They completely think and do things differently from older generations.
This Mother’s Day and throughout the month of May, we are inviting different generations of women to confront their thoughts on motherhood. This is our way of celebrating mom and reflect on the colossal job of ‘being a mom’.
First-generation millennials (1981 -1991) and young millennials (1991 – 2001) face older generations of women (1970 – 1980) in a diverse shock of thoughts.
So far, respondents from different countries have shared insightful, honest, and beautiful views on the institution of motherhood.
Discover all these amazing women and read their testimonies.
Mom’s love is priceless
“If I were to put a price on my mother’s love, I would say that she loved us infinity times infinity, and that we love her infinity times infinity, I wouldn’t trade her for the world.”, says Rivka, a young millennial from Boston (USA).
Her statement somehow resonates in all participants’ opinion, whether they were young millennials, second-generation millennials or from older generations of women. When it comes to a mom’s love millennials prove to think just like older generations of women.
They tend to understand that a mom’s job is difficult and that there may be time when a mom doesn’t treat their children as expected, that life can get in the way and cheat kids from some precious mom’s time. But, whatever happened, in the end, moms do what they do out of love.
Sara, a New York mom from the decade 1970–1980 simply sums it up like this, “As humans, of course we get on each other’s nerves, but, the love we share is infinite…”
Finally, Ruth Tania, another young millennial from Ottawa (Canada), explains why a mom’s love is priceless.
“What price can I put on my mother’s love? There is none. I can’t compare my mom’s love. Whatever how many times I have disappointed her, I made her cry, she still loves me, takes care of me. And never loses hope on me. She always wanted the best for me. Even after everyone stops believing in me she remains the one on my side. ”
Most participants and particularly millennials believe that motherhood should be reinvented and for various reasons.
Such thoughts clearly echoes with Bing, a first-generation millennial from Toronto (Canada), who believes that “we need to rethink the role moms play in our time“.
“Definitely it should be reinvented, as the world has so overwhelmingly changed. It is no longer the confined environment where moms and kids can stay close without border from the outside. Today, the mass media, and internet and the work-life style have put much pressure on the so-called motherhood, ” adds Bing
For Magdalande, a young millennial from Chicago (USA), it’s also a definite YES. She reasons that “motherhood is outdated because there are some people who still feel that motherhood only applies to the person who gave birth. If we take for example kids that lost their mother at a young age, they could get that motherly from a stepmother, a family member, a teacher, and etc.… who is willing to because it’s not an easy job.”
The idea of rethinking motherhood is also present in many other millennials’ testimonies. Belise, a first-generation millennial from Ottawa (Canada), believes that motherhood is already going through changes. “Being a mother in 2017 is very different from being a mother in the 80’s. Most mothers these days work full-time or are students full-time,” mentions Belise.
For Mimie, a woman from the decade 1970-1980, “motherhood is evolving because there are many women who either choose to become mothers in ways that society may deem non-traditional or decide to not conceive a child for myriad reasons. A woman carrying her own child is a beautiful, magnificent experience to witness and to go through. But, to me, it is just one of many forms: motherhood is about the positive influence a woman has on each child in her life; it’s about giving love in a way that isn’t fleeting—you love, unwaveringly.”
Similarly, Tina, a young millennial argues that “we need motherhood to be more encompassing of working moms, and be more supportive of women who are mothers”.
However some participants agree that motherhood is everything but outdated. An opinion clearly shared by Rachel Frédérique Bruno, a Florida mom.
“Motherhood would never be outdated. Because, for me, mothers have a common goal: happiness of their children by providing, protecting and caring for them,” says Rachel.
Our participants show that both generations of millennials (1981-1991 & 1991-2001) think that motherhood should be reinvented. Nevertheless, the hope to have children of their own is as present as it used to be in older time. We humans particularly women seem to have this need to transfer our love to another human being, to cherish, protect them and push them in life. Could this be what is called the maternal instinct or parental instinct?
Diversity of thoughts: the meaning of motherhood
When asked what being a mom means to them, there is common thread in participants’ answer: loving and caring.
Carolina, a woman from Janeiro (Brazil) who was born during the decade 1971 – 1981, defines motherhood as “a love greater than everything and being a warrior to face all the tribulations of everyday life.”
To other participants, motherhood has also other meanings. For instance, Deisy, a first-generation millennial from Santo Domingo (DR) , compare mom to goddess.
“For me, being a mother is to be a goddess, a goddess who gives birth, whom with love and pain brings a creature to the world to continue the course of generations,” says Deisy (translated from Spanish, see participants’ testimonies for original text.
Cherlyne, a woman from the 1971-1981 generation from Florida (USA), also brings a new perspective to the meaning of motherhood. She sees being a mom as making sacrifices for your children. “It means being always ready to make sacrifices for the sake of the child (en)’s well-being“, says Cherlyne.
Finally, motherhood is “being a role model for your young ones,” says Mariana, a young millennial. She adds, “If you want to raise good human beings you want to start with yourself.”
We are here confronted to such a diverse array of thoughts when it comes to motherhood. It’s about loving, caring, and making sacrifices for the benefit of another human being. Motherhood is also seen as an institution that surpasses any normal woman or all women put together. It’s about being a warrior or take on a goddess character.
Finally, it is about “Making sure you are a role model and a person that your children can look up to in the future“, to quote Jayneisha, a young millennial from Chicago.
Whatever their stance, millennials and older women alike agree that being a mom is about loving and caring.
- How do you see motherhood in today’s world?
- Do you agree with participants’ opinions on motherhood?
Click here for updates on this motherhood project and join the conversation.
Through this exercise we learn that moms are pretty awesome. Most participants confess that they have been inspired by their moms to create a family of their own. On top of that several women mentions having been inspired by both their moms and their grand-ma.
This can be seen through Veronique‘s words, a woman from the 1971-1981 decade.
“My mom and grandmother are the only reason I want to be a mom because I want to share with my kids all that I received from them,” reveals Veronique
Naya, a young millennial from Florida (USA) also think the same way. “Yes, my mother absolutely inspired me to have my own family one day“, confides the young woman.
Josephine, an Ottawan woman from the 1970’s brings a different approach. She admits never even thought about motherhood before she actually became a mom.
“I love (d) mum dearly but never thought about kids that way as I was always independent free-spirited who never saw myself as a mother even after marrying and endured this. When my daughter was conceived, I did not think I was ready or would be as good as mum. My husband and I got my mum to come stay with us to help care for my daughter for the first year and this, was invaluable.”
To conclude, not all women feel inspired to have a family of their own. Some women think motherhood definitely needs to be rethought. And if one day they have children they want their experience to be different from their grand-mothers’ or mothers’ as echoed in Bing’s testimony.
“I have been actually much discouraged by seeing the life my mom has led all these years. It seems to me, she has fired her own life to fuel the operation of whole family, by working every day outside and doing household chores inside. She has no time for herself and becomes quick-tempered and has developed much grudge as time goes by. She seems lost at the fact that why she has done so well as a mom and wife but still not happy at all,” confides the young woman from Toronto (Canada)
Similarly, other women just don’t want to have children and that’s okay because motherhood should also be about freedom. The freedom to reach deep inside yourself and find out where you truly belong.
Note: This blog will be updated throughout the month of May to include new participants testimony and keep the discussion alive.
Are you a millennial? A women from 1970’s? Are you interested in the topic of motherhood, either in rethinking it or coming back to old values? Join the discussion.
Stay tune for participants complete answers and to find out how millennials’ view on motherhood differ from older generations of women.