I’m driven. I’m passionate. I’m ambitious.
Correction: I’m “mombitous.”
And given the 49 percent of working women with children – who also serve as the primary breadwinner – I would say I am not alone in my “mombition.”
According to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, the perception of women working while raising children has changed drastically as well. From 46 percent of Americans seeing it as a positive development in 2000, to a majority 78 percent of Americans in 2018 seeing mom as the boss of the boardroom and the PTO a positive step in our culture.
As millennial American women, we are the most educated group of females in history, with the most amount of opportunity at our fingertips. From the increasing number of “momtrepreneurs” starting and growing a business from the ground up, to the number of mothers who own a title in senior management, it’s easy to see why the future is female. And it’s here to stay.
However, I have found that it is this very same “mombition” that serves as my virtual Achilles’ heel when trying to find my place in society as both the successful breadwinner for my family and the nurturing caregiver. The duality of these roles keeps my head on a constant swivel.
As a millennial mother, we’ve had resources at our disposal that previous generations could only dream of – the ability to have fifteen conversations at once (thank you text messages, emails, group chats and so on), community and networks of support (thank you social media) and endless access to any question that pops into our heads (Is that REALLY what hand, foot and mouth disease is supposed to look like?) to any question our children ask us (How DOES gravity work?).
As a result, millennial mothers quickly fell into the role of being everything to everyone at once. We are supposed to be strong but nurturing, cautious but carefree, outspoken but polite, ambitious but facile. All seemingly without effort and a smile on our face.
Society has evolved past the 1950s definition of motherhood where our grandmothers vacuumed in heels and pearls while smiling politely, and we heard the roar of our feminists sisters in the 1970s and 80s as they shattered glass ceilings and gender discrimination for future generations of determined, intelligent and passionate females.
What we forgot to do is figure out how to take care of ourselves once we finally reached our destination as working mothers. More often than not, I’ve had to stop and make myself hit a hard reset on all the plates I am spinning – otherwise it leads to one epic burnout.
In reality as a millennial mother, I find myself with a bra in one hand and a casserole in the other, and I’m not sure whether the matches at my feet should be used to burn my bra or bake the all-organic, gluten-free dish for teacher’s appreciation week.
One thing I am disinclined to do that generations of mothers have done before. What I will not do is apologize for my ambition and my success as a woman and a mother.
Because our children are looking up to us to see what they are capable of – they will push past boundaries and make discoveries we can only aspire to and the only way they will learn to do that is through example.
The choices that we are all making as millennial mothers now will have a direct effect on the world our children will inherit as adults, and I’m not sure about you, but I want it to be a world where my daughters have a choice to whether they will bring home the bacon, cook it, or order it on their private jet while en route to their own private island. I want them to inherit a world where happiness and success can happen at once, as long as they are willing to believe in themselves and put the work in.