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All that means is that I was born in the "millennial
generation"—roughly defined as the 1980s and 1990s—and that I'm part of the
newest crop of parents. I'm 28 years old, but any parent between 18 and 34
might fall into this category.
It also means that I'm part of a generation that isn't
particularly well-liked. As the Internet tells us, millennials are
narcissistic, entitled, coddled and lazy. Raised by the Helicopter Moms of the '90s, our childhoods are best known for its empty praise, inflated self-esteem
campaigns and trophies for all. Time magazine famously
anointed us "The ME ME ME Generation" in 2013, and the media ran with it.
Millennials are typically viewed as entry-level employees or
college students, but plenty of us are now full-grown adults raising the next generation of kids. In fact,
according to BabyCenter's "2014
Millennial Mom Report," 83 percent of new moms are from the millennial generation.
And despite a rather glowing report
from BabyCenter (which clearly found us to be "resilient, resourceful [and]
optimistic"), there was plenty of snark to be had from all corners of the
Internet. (Ugh! Those entitled Millennials! They just think they're the best parents! YOU ARE NOT A UNIQUE
SNOWFLAKE, DO YOU HEAR ME? #GenXforever.)
Some of the most
surprising snark stemmed from the study's mention that millennial moms are
"focused on 'Me Time,'" as ABC News reported. Here's the original comment:
"Millennial moms—and dads too, for that matter—are
placing a higher importance on parenting than previous generations," said Mike
Fogarty, SVP and Global Publisher at BabyCenter. "But they also won't give up
the individuality that's a hallmark of millennials. The result is a highly
integrated life, where 'we time' is best served with regular doses of 'me
I'm tired of the antiquated, unrealistic ideal that a mother's "goodness" relies on her selflessness.
Rather than see this
through a negative lens (as most seemed to do), why are we not all up and
applauding? Maybe I'm just being all "millennial" about this, but isn't it time
that mothers start prioritizing "me time"?
I'm tired of the antiquated, unrealistic ideal that a
mother's "goodness" relies on her selflessness. That we're supposed to put our
own needs and wants at the bottom of a to-do list in order to serve the needs
and wants of our kids. That we should feel guilty—or at least apologize for—wanting to take time for ourselves and do whatever we need to feel happy and
I firmly believe that the best thing we can do for our kids
is to be our healthiest selves. Not a good thing, or a necessary thing, but the
If we're not our healthiest selves—physically, mentally and emotionally—then we aren't giving our best. We aren't thinking as clearly,
we're not as happy and we're not making the best choices.
If we're not our healthiest selves, then what kind of
example are we setting for our kids? What exactly do we have to give?
"Me time" isn't about ditching responsibilities and being
selfish, but it is about prioritizing
self-care and self-love. Everyone's definition of "me time" will look
different. Maybe you need to take a spin class every week, or go salsa dancing,
or get a pedicure, or just spend an afternoon reading in a bookstore, in the
quiet. Whatever helps you feel more like you,
so that you can come back into your house feeling rebooted and rejuvenated.
Call me a silly millennial all you like, but maybe we have a perspective worth listening to.
If we don't take any time for ourselves—as individual
women with individual needs—then how long until the resentment starts
creeping in? Until we start to feel victimized by our responsibilities? And
what happens when this temporary stage of motherhood ends, and we're suddenly a
depleted shell of our former selves, unsure of who we are and what we like?
Enough of this tired narrative that tells us women instantly
lose their individuality after motherhood.
Enough of the expectations and guilt and finger-wagging.
If you need alone time, find a way to sneak away every now
and then. If you feel energized by being with like-minded adults in a fun,
carefree way? Get out there, mama. If you have absolutely no time in your
schedule for "you," then do some reprioritizing. You can find small,
easy ways to squeeze "you time" into your daily responsibilities. Who says
it has to be elaborate or expensive? Who says it has to be selfish?