Millenial Women: The Many Hats That We Wear

Millenials are the generation of children born from 1982-2002 per the Census Bureau. A certain connotation comes along when you hear that word – millenial. There is a bad rap about this group and those of us on the older end of the spectrum get a little offended when we find out that we are a part of this generation. Why is that?

Doing a little digging I found that there are three different sets of millenials. There are those born before the Great Recession, those that graduated during it, and those post-graduate. We were born before computers and cell phones became attached to our hips. We were there when they became life lines.

The defining moment of our generation was 9/11. It’s the point in time where we all know where we were and what we were doing when those planes hit the twin towers. So let’s zoom in…

Millenials – Group 1 – WOMEN

I was asked to write about all of the different hats that we women wear. However, I feel that there is a difference in the hats that we wear as women from generation to generation. I believe that these “hats” that we wear are not one-size-fits-all though the hats are similarly cut. The roles that women that are baby boomers as opposed to those of generation-x and millenials have transformed over time.

We are wives, mothers, best friends, mentors, entrepreneurs, sisters, girlfriends, teachers, constant students…but how different are these hats from one generation to the next? I can only speak to that of the millenial and even with that I can only speak to the first group out of the three.

I read an article that stated that a study concluded that millenial women tend to burn out by the age of thirty. What piqued my interest is that I am in my early thirties and I feel that for myself. I feel like I spent my twenties pushing myself to the limit for my career and now all I want to do is throw in the towel. They say that millenial women hit 30 and want to quit their jobs and though the term millenial is equated to “laziness” and “selfishness” the reason for this mass exodus from Corporate America by the millenial woman is not for self. Millenial women are walking away from their 9 to 5’s because they want the flexibility in their schedules to be able to be a part of their families. They want to be entrepreneurs so that they can manage their own lives and take their piece of the pie.

This resonates with me. I love my career but I aspire to forge something that is just my own. A self-operating business that allows me to spend the necessary time with my children – because as their mother they need me and there are responsibilities to them that trump any corporation – and still be able to provide them with everything that they need. So this hat that we wear that is similar – to provide for our children and to be a working woman – has been tilted. It has changed in it’s design.

Generation X Women, our mothers, taught Millenial Women to be independent. This means that we are career driven. We don’t need a man for validation or to establish who we are as women. What I’ve noted is that a lot of the breakdown of the family structure – mother, father, children all under one roof – began to break down with X. Generation X had to be pro-independence because they had to step up and be everything because the father figures were stepping away. That culture continued on into the millenials and it seems that millenial women are faced with having to be providers not only for their children but also for the men that they end up in romantic relationships with.

— IN NO WAY IS THIS AN ARTICLE TO BASH MEN, BEFORE ANYONE JUMPS ON THAT BANDWAGON. I AM ONLY SPEAKING TO THINGS THAT I HAVE SEEN ALONG MY OWN JOURNEY AND THOSE THAT I HAVE SPOKEN TO IN THEIRS. —

So this hat for career and this hat for family are now skewed…

Friendships. How do you maintain genuine female companionship if so much of your focus is on family and career? I have more distant relationships than close personal relationships. My connections and disconnections have been since childhood with an army-brat lifestyle of moving from place to place, district to district, and in my adulthood from state to state though clearly I was not in a military family. We were just nomads. My internal struggle with being engaged and planning my wedding is who do I have in my bridal party? I form strong friendships quickly but because of the nomadic life I have several sets of “best friends”. Is this an issue that you, yourself, find yourself in?

I have childhood best friends – Nicole, Megan, Tashia, Sherita – Work-Generated best friends – Bree, Katrisa, Sara, Liz, Toniesha, Linda, Lila, Sara A…HOW HOW HOW do you maintain all of that? Bridal party aside? How do you maintain relationships all across the country? It is so touch and go. Some of the closest people to me I may only speak with once or twice a year but they get me. I get them. Then we get back to our lives.

The hat of lover within my circle varies so much. We are all in very different phases of our romantic lives from free-agents, committed dating, engagements, newlyweds, 10+ years of marriage…and there is a struggle and triumph within each story (which I will capture in a later post). How do you maintain your romantic relationship if all you do is work as a provider and come home to then be the educator and nurturer as mother? How do you turn off Destiny’s Child Independent Women long enough to sit down, let him be the man in the relationship, and allow him to love you the way you really deep down in your heart know that you want to be loved?

I see millenial women struggling to assert their independence generated from Generation X but longing for the security of the family structure garnered by the Baby Boomers. So how do we, the new adults on the block, take everything that we have learned from our mothers and grandmothers and turn this all around? How do we find the balance?

Everyone is not struggling. There are a lot of successful millenial women forging their own paths as entrepreneurs, handling the role of mother, keeping in touch with their girlfriends, fostering healthy children with faithful, supportive, and independent husbands. It can be done. It is being done. Seeing this is probably one of the factors driving so many of the millenial women to push through and go for their dreams.

We inspire one another. If my role model can step up and make a complete life change after being a stay at home mother for years, returning to school to get her degree, shoot to the top of the chain, and be able to walk away at the helm of her own business then, hell, why can’t I? This is the new mentality.

How do you juggle your hats? Are you hitting that plateau where you’re ready to throw a few of those responsibilities to the wind like a college graduate in their cap and gown? Have you arrived? Do you wear a trillion different hats and wear them with style and grace?

Women, stand up! Millenials, learn from Generation X and the Baby Boomers. BBs & GX learn from the Millenials that we are strong and independent and homemakers, career women, your children, versions 2.0 of you and our strengths derive from what you have instilled in us. We are your DAUGHTERS, another hat that we wear every day of our lives. We are reflections of you. What are we going to bring to the next generation? Our children? Our children’s children?

 

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