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In the last seven days, 15 desperate millennial moms typed these words into a Google search bar and landed here:
why am i so tired mom of 3
dinner idea for tired mom
too tired to look after baby
single mother to 3 kids and a newborn baby and i am tired
not talking to my baby because so tired
i am very tired in the morning i am a mother of 4 small babies
how did you cope as a pregnant working mother and raising a 2 year old
getting sick of motherhood
is it bad to get tired with my baby
baby 11 months cranky irritable overwhelmed exhausted
attachment parenting leaving me exhausted
tired stressed working mammy
do people really have to chase toddlers around all day?
exhausted looking after my three kids
single mom no energy to play after work
I suppose that a time will come when I no longer have anything left to say to encourage tired, young moms. But until they stop coming to me, I don’t see how I can stay quiet.
Because of these 15 real moms. Real moms turning to the internet for answers.
I’ve started asking myself why? What is it about this generation of millennial moms that makes us so desperately tired? Tired enough to think that Google will give us the answers?
I have some theories. Mostly because I am a tired millennial mom and so are my best friends. And we have spent some serious time talking about this topic.
Millennial moms are overwhelmed with too much information
Social media is so integrated into our lives, that for most of us, it would be unrealistic for us to function without it. This doesn’t mean we have an addiction problem. It means that the internet is a necessity to our lives just as much as a microwave became a necessity to the moms of the 50s, 60s, and 70s.
But, it’s both a blessing and a curse. Google is great when you have a 4-week-old with swollen nipples and you wonder OH MY GOSH DOES HE HAVE TUMORS and you can ease your worries with a simple search that reveals this is completely normal.
But when the same tool you use to talk to your friends, cook your meals, plan your craft projects, look up directions, follow news, and stay connected with family is also the place that could also be renamed 101 WAYS YOU ARE KILLING, MAIMING, DAMAGING, OR EMOTIONALLY DESTROYING YOUR CHILD TODAY, it becomes overwhelming.
Even if you try to avoid it, the information comes looking for you
Recently, my two best friends and I were talking and all three of us have posted photos on social media of our children in the car, only to have well-meaning friends or acquaintances call us out on the nuances of carseat safety that we have broken and the ways our children’s lives are in danger.
Millennial moms live in a fear-based culture
It’s all around us. Everywhere we look, we are reminded of the dire consequences of EVERY parenting choice. We are scared of cancer, autism, SIDS, leaky gut syndrome, secondary drowning, accidental death, child molestation, kidnapping, heavy metal poisoning, our kids being bullied, not bonding with our babies, our kids growing up too entitled, and the list goes on and on.
A few weeks ago, someone on my Facebook friend’s list posted an article about how often babies die when being propped up by Boppy pillows.
This is the all-day, every-day battle millennial moms face.
Millennial moms are expected to be experts and make the right choices
The internet tells us we can’t trust our doctors, and we must “do our own research.” We are expected to be experts on every parenting topic – from vaccines to carseat safety to birth to the chemicals in our food and cosmetic products. And yet none of us are trained to truly understand and assess risk. Memes and fear-mongering internet articles prey on our motherly sensitivities. We are told to “trust our instincts” at the distrust of all else, yet can barely hear our own thoughts above all the noise.
We are afraid of doing it all wrong, and that fear makes us vulnerable at best, gullible at worst.
And so we “research” everything. Most of this “research” isn’t truly research. It’s hopping from blog to blog of self-proclaimed experts on the topics in question where both information and misinformation is regurgitated over and over – as always, colored by intense emotion and opinion. And we are expected to wade through it all and find truth.
No matter what choice we make, there’s someone out there who will say we made the wrong one.
Millennial moms are expected to be jack-of-all-trades, master of more.
Maybe this isn’t true. But it feels true.
I’m able to be a stay-at-home mom. But many moms aren’t (see the Google searchers above). And so we are supposed to hold down careers while still caring for the health and well-being of our family, making the BEST choices for them.
I avoid Pinterest (other than for sharing my posts), but occasionally I log on just to be reminded why I stay off of it.
I could be causing my toddler to misbehave
Toddlers need a structured day
Gifts should be DIY
I should be doing squats
My SAHM morning should probably have more routine
I should be teaching my children to WANT to obey
And there are at least 3 things that I definitely SHOULDN’T say to my children
It doesn’t matter than I know that it’s ridiculous; that what I expect of myself and what the internet expects of me doesn’t have to be the same; that it’s okay if I don’t do it all.
But the reality exists that this is what I am bombarded by daily.
Millennial moms need the village, but the village doesn’t get us
We are lectured about being too attached to our smartphones.
My grandmother looks at me as though I have four eyes when I tell her I don’t make my bed or dust and only buy clothes I don’t have to iron. She pulls out her atlas, worrying when I want to drive 35 minutes to meet a friend for coffee who I met online. She goes on and on about how she can’t believe I can navigate renting a car and going through airport security with an infant on my own.
There is a disconnect.
Older moms tell me to “just be consistent” with my special needs child and what I hear is this: “You simply aren’t doing enough…if you just did this one easy thing, everything would be better for you.”
We are encouraged to enjoy every moment and that the time goes so quickly.
They want to help, I truly believe this – but their help too often just sounds condescending.
It just makes more sense to turn to my peers, which only increases the disconnect. The older moms feel as though their advice isn’t valued and that they are pushed aside. The younger moms feel alone and misunderstood.
And so, we have millennial moms asking Google why they are tired. Because Google gets it when no one else seems to. Google leads them here where they find out that there’s another young mom out there who lets her kids watch too much Netflix, says no to Pinterest expectations, and that it’s okay to not be okay sometimes.