According to a decade’s worth of headlines, millennials' greatest loves are ourselves and avocados. True as the latter may be, a new survey shows we love our kids even more: 91% of respondents said they value “raising successful children” more than living up to their own highest levels of potential. And that isn’t because we’re a bunch of martyrs—but rather because 99% percent of the millennials surveyed by parenting app Winnie say they truly love parenting.
The finding isn’t surprising to us. Unlike previous generations, millennials have more choice when it comes to when and how to make a family. This means that, in many cases, those who become parents do so intentionally and with full respect for the highs and lows of the journey.
Bottom line: Along with our kids, we’re also embracing the ways parenthood helps us grow up.
When asked to explain how life changed when they became parents, survey respondents shared these comments:
- “It was no longer all about me.”
- “I’ve become a lot less selfish.”
- “The focus of every decision was on my boys.”
It’s true, everything changes when a baby enters the picture—or selfie, if you believe the millennial cliches. And it’s pretty heartening to see how willing fellow millennials are to seize the opportunity for personal growth that is parenting.
That doesn’t mean we got here on our own, though. Millennials are unique in many ways, but we are shaped by incredible generations before us.
Here are a few more ways millennials are getting parenting right—and why credit is also due to those who taught us:
We are (rightfully) confident
We don’t just want to have kids, we pretty much rock parenting when we do. Pew Research Center found that when moms of all ages were surveyed about their level of confidence in raising their kids, only about half were impressed with their own mom skills. When the age range was narrowed to moms between 18 and 30, the percentage of confident moms who figured they’re doing “a very good job” grew to 57%.
That could be because we believe we truly had good role models: According to a 2015 Fusion survey of more than 1,000 millennials, half counted their parents among their best friends. (With 61% of female millennials saying mom or dad is a BFF.)
With that kind of relationship, it’s easy to see why we’re confident about following in our parents’ footsteps when it comes to raising kids.
We know where to get the support we need
The self-confidence seen in millennial moms may be due to coming of age with the internet. We know where we can go (or what we can Google) to get what we need to solve a parenting problem, and can quickly connect to so many more resources and fellow parents than our counterparts even a generation ago could.
A survey from the consulting firm Barklet found 71% of millennial moms and dads say parenting websites, online forums, parenting blogs and social networks influence their parenting.
Even then, nothing trumps knowledge from trusted experts—those nearest and dearest to us. And, in that field, millennials and their parents have better lines of communication than previous generations. As one AARP survey found, 31% of millennials talk to their parents daily; only 13% of Boomers with living parents said the same.
We're raising awesome kids
Growing up with immediate access to information and communities may also be one reason why millennials are proudly calling parenting a key part of our identities. The stats suggest that this generation is on the way to seeing the kind of parenting success every generation dreams of: Our kids may be better off than we are.
The Barkley survey predicts that given the millennial focus on identity and equality, the kids of today will grow up with an unprecedented sense of individual tolerance, inclusivity and social responsibility. We have every right to take pride in that—while also using this as a reminder to say “thanks” to the generations who helped shape us. ?