by Amber Tucker
The thing about being a Millennial and a working mom is that I’m just starting to get the hang of this adulting thing. I’m hitting my stride professionally, I’m graduating from grad school at the end of the year, and I kind of understand meal prepping. I’ve moved past the rosy optimism of my 20s into the cynical realism of my 30s. I see the world for myself and not just through the lens of my parents.
But in the midst of me figuring me out, I have two small people(daughter aged nine and son aged five) who depend on me for everything. I can’t let them down and I certainly can’t let them to see me struggle.
I’m Mommy and Mommy doesn’t break. Yes, I can make gourmet lunches with little notes tucked inside, and choreograph a dance for the talent show, and help Spiderman defeat the Green Goblin, and figure out why the tablet isn’t working, all while I’m on a conference call for work wowing my team with my brilliance or turning in a revolutionary report to my professor. Give me the Pulitzer now, thanks.
Karyn White may not have been Superwoman—but this girl right here, can save the world and still have a healthy, homecooked, Instagram-ready dinner on the table by seven o’clock.
Except, I can’t.
I gave up on the mystical concept of work/life balance a long time ago. Instead, I concentrate on the two things I can hold in my hands and pray I catch the third before it hits the ground. I don’t think the juggling act is unique to us as Millennial; I watched both my parents work and go to school as single parents. And they did it with dial-up internet and basic cable.
And for all the concerns surrounding so much of our lives being digital, technology has been my secret weapon. A way to entertain my kids, stimulate their minds and bond with them.
I remember asking my parents for a cell phone in middle school and my dad telling me I needed a phone like I needed a hole in my head.
Now, my husband and I are discussing whether or not we should get one for our nine-year-old daughter. He wants her to have one—school shootings happen way too often to not to be able to call 911 or home during an emergency. But I’m old school (see my dad’s response above). She doesn’t need a phone until she’s old enough to go places without an adult; I’m thinking around age 12. Then, the pandemic happened, and she can’t see her friends at school—so they call my cell phone.
My Gen X–er’s and Boomers are probably thinking, why not have them call the house? I haven’t had a house phone in almost 10 years. Plus, kids these days like to video call. So, my daughter getting a cell phone is less about her being able to call me in an emergency and more about her being able to call her friends while she’s at home. Then, when she’s able to go out with her friends, her phone will double as a tracker.
My kids rarely ask me for anything they’ve seen in an infomercial. We don’t watch regular television because there’s an app for that—several. The only time my kids ask me for some random pillow pet is because there were at my grandmother’s house and she hasn’t quite graduated to streaming.
My kids won’t be able to hide any bad grades because the teacher’s note “didn’t make it home.” My daughter’s school has an app and email for communications and all their grades are posted online.
As a Millennial mom, my kids have their own tablets, will get cell phones before they get to middle school, participate in more Zoom calls in a week than I do, create videos and PowerPoints before they perfect handwriting. My daughter can create 3-D drawings and my son likes the storytelling apps. My kids will be more digitally sophisticated than I was at their age. With that comes the added pressure of having to stay on top of the latest trends, challenges, and advancements in technology.
Being a Millennial mom means that I don’t have the luxury of being dismissive of new technology; it’s not a fad, it’s a fact of life. It’s how I stay connected and vigilant. I have eyes in the back of my head and on all devices.