BabyCenter released its Millennial Mom Report, which reveals the profile of today’s newest and youngest mothers, ages 18 to 32, with insights surrounding their parenting, technology usage, and overall ambitions as both parents and individuals.
“The Millennial Mom is more than you think she is,” says Mike Fogarty, SVP and Global Publisher at BabyCenter. “She represents a cultural and economic force that’s creating lasting change. Remember, this generation entered adulthood in the late 1990s with a tailwind of economic growth and global stability, only to see their future thrown into question. Millennial Moms are also bucking convention – in the way they raise their kids and the way they live their own lives.”
Fogarty adds, “The media’s coverage of this generation as self-centered and entitled misses the point. Millennials are a study in contrasts. They’re underemployed but entrepreneurial, educated but in debt, digital natives fluent with technology and new media – but back to basics with a strong focus on the environment, health, and nutrition.”
She’s Not Her Mother
Millennial Moms are the product of helicopter parenting and opt to parent their own children differently by adopting a more relaxed approach. Despite parenting pressures, Millennial Moms say their parenting style is loving (96%), encouraging (92%), supportive (90%), and involved (87%). When asked about their own upbringing, Millennial Moms are more likely than Gen X moms to say that their parents were protective (63% vs. 49%), worried (38% vs. 26%), and enabling (34% vs. 25%). However, when asked about their own parenting style, Millennial Moms say they are fun (88% vs. 82% of Gen X moms), forgiving (87% vs. 77%), relaxed (59% vs 48%), and aspirational (49% vs. 39%).
“Millennial Moms are clearly reacting to the way they were raised,” says Fogarty. “They’re creating an environment for their kids that’s more laid back and less structured, and they feel more relaxed and happy as parents. They reject the pressure they grew up with.”
A closer look at family dynamics shows that Millennial Moms place greater emphasis on being a good parent and less emphasis on having a successful marriage. A Pew Research Center report on Millennials overall found that 52% say being a good parent is “one of the most important things” in life (24% higher than Gen X) while only 30% say the same about having a successful marriage (14% lower than Gen X).
“Millennial Moms – and dads too, for that matter – are placing a higher importance on parenting than previous generations,” says Fogarty. “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 time.'”
She’s Digitally Connected
Millennial Moms spend an average of 8.3 hours daily consuming media – about an hour more per day than Gen X moms – with most of that extra time spent streaming video or going online using a smartphone or tablet. According to the study, the Millennial Mom toolkit includes laptops (83%), smartphones (81%), and streaming TV subscriptions (53%). Additionally, Millennial Moms have a preference for all portable devices compared to Gen Xers.
The report also uncovered that although Millennial and Gen X moms use both smartphones and tablets, Millennial Moms are simply using them more. Compared to Gen X, Millennial Moms are 5% more likely to use social media on their mobile devices on a daily basis. In addition, they are 20% more likely to take/share photos or video, 37% more likely to listen to music, and 145% more likely to watch online videos and movies on their mobile device daily.
As digital natives, Millennial Moms are very comfortable using technology, including apps, to manage their lives and get more accomplished in less time. These moms turn to their mobile devices to look up recipes (76%), manage finances (69%), and search for parenting advice (76%) monthly. The study found that Millennial Moms’ top five favorite apps are Facebook, Instagram, BabyCenter, Pinterest, and Pandora.
Millennial Moms are also socially nimble: They over-index against Gen X moms across all social media platforms and are more likely to experiment with emerging social networks. Compared to Gen X, Millennial Moms are 30% more likely to have used Tumblr, 167% more likely to have used Vine, and over three times as likely to have used Snapchat.
She’s Socially Selective
Despite increased social media activity, Millennial Moms are less concerned about posting pictures of themselves or their children to social networks. This may be due to the fact that they are more tech-savvy and know how to take security precautions. Four out of five Millennial Moms don’t settle for Facebook’s default privacy settings and three out of five turn off location services for photos and/or social media sites.
Millennial Moms are also happy to communicate with others digitally. Compared to Gen X moms, Millennial Moms are twice as likely to prefer communicating with their parents via text, and twice as likely to use social media to send birthday party invitations. In addition, Millennial Moms are 21% less likely to send a thank-you note via postal mail.
“Social norms change over time,” says Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist and BabyCenter contributor. “While older generations may interpret some newer communication methods as impersonal, younger generations see them as a natural progression of how we communicate in the digital era.”
She’s an Entrepreneur
The average Millennial Mom entered adulthood after Apple released the iPhone and after the introduction of social media, eBay, and Etsy. She is fearless, creative, and ambitious with radically different career expectations.
According to Entrepreneur, more than half report wanting to start their own business. BabyCenter found that compared to Gen X moms, Millennial Moms are 17% more likely to freelance, and one in five have started a blog with substantial followers. Thirty-nine percent of Millennial Moms have used social media to sell items they’ve made (63% higher than Gen X moms). Millennial Moms are also 67% more likely than Gen X moms to have received payment for running errands or helping others, using apps like TaskRabbit and GigWalk.
“Despite the unstable economy and high unemployment rates, Millennial Moms have a can-do attitude,” says Fogarty. “It’s clear from our research that these moms feel confident in their ability to make ends meet, but what is surprising is how much technology plays into this. From getting paid for making store visits and posting reviews, to leveraging social media to promote freelance work or a home business, Millennials are using the new digital tools at their disposal to deliver in very new ways for their family. A few years ago, we saw moms embrace the online couponing trend, but now we’re seeing a dramatic shift. Moms aren’t just saving money; they’re finding creative ways to earn it.”
For more information on the 2014 Millennial Mom Report, please visit http://www.babycentersolutions.com