From being nicknamed the "Me, Me, Me" generation, to earning the superlative of "Most Narcissistic," millennials have garnered an abundance of criticism for their self-above-all-else mentality. Whether this prevailing belief is an accurate depiction of the generation is a debate for another day.
The eldest members of the millennial generation are approximately 36 years old. Many have already embarked on the great adventure of starting a family. What happens when these aforementioned, self-involved millennials become mothers? Does the millennial mom’s innate selfishness melt away upon the first glance at her baby’s sunshiny smile?
The answer is complicated. I, myself, am a baby of the 1980s, a member of the inaugural internet generation. We millennials are fluent and confident in social media, our children having the dubious honor of an internet presence since before their birth. Being narcissistic, we feel compelled to share every cute picture and milestone with our friends and followers. There is pressure to keep up with the virtual Joneses and it mounts with every lavish Pinterest birthday party, organic farm-raised Instagrammed lunch, and proud Facebook post.
Though we know that these lives have been edited with social media’s patented rose-colored lenses, we buck all reason and ogle at the constant barrage of “perfect” parenting.
Who could have imagined that Hollywood, land of unattainable beauty and contrived fairytale endings, would provide respite for the pressured millennial mom?
Doin' You Like A Mother
When you are a mother, keeping up with the Joneses isn't simply coveting material luxuries. Sure, you can get sucked into the vortex of gorgeous Tory Burch diaper bags and Burberry baby duds, but the contest goes so much deeper than that. As a mother, the imagined or existent competition doesn't come from the tangible. To keep up with the Joneses you need to prove that you are striving to be or have already reached "perfect" mother status. We all know perfection is a farce, right? Well, we know it until we are raising a little human and our post-partum brains twist us into believing that perfection is requisite.
Luckily, Bravo introduced us to our new best friend when they brought the brilliant Jill Kargman's, Odd Mom Out to our television screen. Kargman portrays Jill Weber, a snarky, sassy Upper East Side mom who doesn't fit in with other mothers that live in her swanky neighborhood. Jill's world is inhabited by the 1 percent, and she is 99 percent different. She is the opposing view in a room full of "sanctimommies," always willing to keep it real about parenting, even when her truth bombs get her side eyes and snarls.
Though Jill's level of privilege is not relatable to most, the challenges she faces in parenting are commonplace. She tries to do her best while under the the watchful eye of criticism. Sometimes she messes up, but you know what, her kids are just fine.
Catch up on Bravo's Odd Mom Out Season 2 on BravoTV.com
Body Bangin' Like A Mother
Even the most body confident woman can be challenged by what she sees in the mirror after giving birth. Back in dark days, when Mark Zuckerberg and Myspace Tom were just a gleam in their mothers' eyes, a woman was limited to television, movies and magazines for her self-inflicted body comparison torture. Now, with the world at her fingertips, the millennial mom can travel down an endless rabbit hole of mommy bloggers, Paleo devotees, and Soul Cycle worshipers. The barrage of images has created a culture obsessed with "getting your body back after baby."
This fall ABC's new sitcom, American Housewife, is giving mothers overwhelmed by the fitness mommy explosion a comrade in the body image battle. Meet Katie Otto (played by Katy Mixon of Mike and Molly fame) mother of three, wife, and new girl in town. Her family moved to Westport, Connecticut due to the caliber of the public schools and their ability to meet the needs of her daughter who has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Katie refers to herself as the "second fattest housewife in Westport" demonstrating her sharp, self-deprecating humor. Katie doesn't feel she fits in with the typical Westport mommies who have "flat stomachs, tight high asses, and those stupid green drinks." Though much of the comedy focuses on body image, this clever outsider tale also explores parenting, fitting in, and standing out.
ABC's American Housewife premiers on Tuesday, October 11 at 8:30pm.
Gettin' Money like A Mother
Hollywood has caught on to the increased pressures millennial mothers are facing. Productions featuring mothers not striving in pursuit of perfection have paid off handsomely.
One of this summer's biggest blockbusters, Bad Moms, earned $158 million at the box office to date. The STX Entertainment jaunt stars Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn as mothers who find that "in this day in age it is impossible to be a good mom.” Instead of falling into line with what the "sanctimommies" expect, the ladies decide they can make their kids' lives great without sacrificing a fulfilling life of their own.
The message resonated with women who came out in droves to catch the flick. When Mila Kunis's character Amy brought regular old store bought donuts to the PTO's "No BPA, MSG, BHA, BHT, sesame, soy, nuts, eggs, milk, butter, salt, sugar or wheat" bake sale, millennial mothers knew that this movie grasped the insanity of it all.
Shuttin' It Down Like A Mother
By shining a light on the first world problems millennial mothers harp on, Hollywood is raking in ratings and padding their pockets. The "Me, Me, Me" generation is living up to our name by supporting a genre that focuses on us. When it comes down to it, has our self-absorption ever dissipated? Or do we just seek to find entertainment by looking in the mirror? Discuss below!