The Evolution of Motherhood: Millennial Mothers Using Social Media, Smartphone Apps & Tech to Ease Parenting
Motherhood is evolving with the times; millennial mothers — broadly defined as those born between 1980 and 1994 — are discovering tips and tactics for mothering using social media, smartphones, and any device with easy Internet access. New technology has clued mothers in to newly creative and entertaining ways to engage children, and it has enabled instantaneous connections to the shared journeys of other mothers through multiple platforms, and allowed access to instructional videos.
Research indicates that 86 percent of new mothers are millennials. However, in spite of the availability of gadgets to distract and service mother and child, the 2014 Baby Center report on millennial mothers revealed that they tend to spend more time with their children than mothers in the past. Also, an additional nine hours per week are spent participating in child-related activities, and mothers spend 13 fewer hours on themselves, spending many of their weekly hours preparing meals. Of the women surveyed, 76 percent rely on electronic devices for parental advice and searching for recipes.
Highly educated and underemployed, many millennial mothers have also opted to stay at home to raise their children. The heavily diverse lot of millennial mothers seems to have arrived at the understanding that it's "acceptable" for them to stay at home or to work.
Thoughts regarding the "right" and "wrong" approaches to parenting are being abandoned; instead, women are borrowing styles and tips from other mothers via the web and applying them to their own unique method of parenting. There's growing acceptance for mothers' choices, according to a number of researchers, who believe this generation will be the one to end the "mommy wars" — "the battle between moms ... to achieve the one 'right' way to mother." Dependent on one another for information, millennial mothers put less faith in "experts."
"Millennials are far more likely than moms of any other generation to be raising their kids near or even in the same house as their extended family. Many of them have their Boomer moms — the grandparents of their kids — living in the same home or living next door," said historian Neil Howe, credited with coining the term "millennial," recognizing how parenting trends borrow from the past and look to the future.
Meredith Parents Network released a report stating that, of 1,103 Millennial mothers surveyed, 83 percent use video-sharing sites; 78 percent use mobile apps and image-sharing sites; 38 percent use Pinterest; and 33 percent use Instagram, helping them to better navigate motherhood.
The Strottman International/C+R Research of Chicago analyzed findings from 2,005 millennial mothers, and conclusively portrayed millennial mothers as having a "strong" identities, and recognized that they're playful, hands-on, and nostalgic for a simpler life that involves do-it-yourself food and toys, and a "team family" approach that relieves mothers from having to be at the helm at all times.
Marketers are desperately seeking the attention of this tech-savvy bunch, particularly Latina mothers, who are a large segment of mothers in the United States. To reach these women, brands such as Kraft and Fisher Price have decided on playful tones and mannerisms to attract interest, though most millennial mothers agree with the statement, "most advertising and marketing is not geared to women like me," compared to 36 percent of all moms who said they thought advertisements were geared toward them.
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