I’m not lazy, I’m a millennial.
I am a millennial. Just barely. In fact, I am one of the first generations of millennial. I got this party started. (Although I’ll probably leave a little sooner than most for an early bedtime.)
I had a computer in my daily life from the time I was 9. I had a cell phone in my life from the time I was 15 . I’ve owned every generation of iPhone and I’ve used them and abused them to the point of replacement. I am a millennial.
Two days ago I wrote a blog about why I choose to use handheld devices with my children. I expected a few hundred views, a few kind comments from my parents, and perhaps a little discussion. Instead I’ve received over 70,000 views, too many comments to keep up with and enough discussion to last me for years.
I have been overwhelmed by the amount of people that have said “why can’t more people say things like this?” So many readers have offered unique perspective and insights I don’t have. I have loved reading every comment, every retweet, every bit of feedback I’ve had time to consume.
However, one word kept popping up over and over again in my feed in response to my blog. Sometimes it was aimed at other people. Sometimes people were saying it about me.
One of the first pieces of parenting advice I received from countless friends and acquaintances was this. “Take time for yourself.” I’m starting to think that what people meant to say was “take time for yourself unless that means using technology.”
I didn’t always have the technology devices that make up my every day life. As I mentioned we didn’t have a computer in my house until I was about 9. My mother stayed home with myself and my sisters when we were little and provided us with a nurturing and engaging environment to grow up in. Each day, like clockwork, from the time I can first remember my mother would take one hour per day to watch Soap Operas. Days of our Lives to be specific. I can still hear the intro in my head like it was yesterday. Like sand through the hourglass, these are the days of our lives.
This was my mother’s time. Her escape from mothering. We were still there, in fact we sat and watched it with her every day holding our breath to see if Bo and Hope would ever just stay together. Even at age 4, we were hooked. It grew to be our thing.
Is this a best practice for child rearing? NO! I saw lots of smut and drama every day. I asked to watch soap operas all the time. But nobody thought my mom was lazy because of this, myself included to this very day. They thought she was a mother. And if my mother gave me love, shelter, food, and endless support for 24 hours a day do you really think I am going to begrudge her a few hours of soap operas ?
Escapism from parenting didn’t start with smart phones. It didn’t start with television. Parents escape through a multitude of ways because parenting is flat out hard. My generation sometimes does it through handing their child a device to play on or playing on a device themselves. Those are the tools we know and are familiar with when we need to escape. Sometimes, we also use those tools for a lot of good.
We are, after all, the most educated generation in American history, we soon will compose 50% of the workforce, and we volunteer more than any other generation. Yes, sometimes we might do these things while looking at our cell phone, but still we manage to get stuff done.
There are certainly people who don’t have a healthy limit of technology use with themselves or their children. With many things in our lives, it is an ongoing struggle to find a healthy balance. No parent is getting everything right. But when will we just accept that sometimes parents need a break. Sometimes they need to socialize through Facebook with other parents. Sometimes they need to play Angry Birds until they forget how angry they are with work. Sometimes they need to furiously type blogs into their phones about how millennials are not lazy!
You might have a story about one lazy millennial. I get it. However I have stories of thousands of millennials who are not. They are making things happen. They are networking. They are connecting. They are tackling the mess we’ve been left with!
Millennials might not be perfect, but no generation has been. We’ve got a lot to learn.
We don’t get cocaine in our Coca Cola. We don’t get Mad Men style martini marathons at 3:00 in the afternoon. Can you just let us have our freakin’ iPhones?
I’m not lazy. I’m a millennial.
Photo credit: The amazing Greg Sims http://tridigitalgroup.com/Greg-Sims/Advertising/1/ Model: Myself