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
rock on with your bad self!!
Thanks for this, I feel much the same way. I also tend to have a bit of a attitude about being judged by the same ones who left us this mess.You see it everywhere from people talking about how we parent, use technology, work, handle racial issues,think ,feel ,live…..it gets very tiring.We handle it the way we know forging our own path and I for one will continue to follow my instincts. I am also millennial enough aka arrogant enough to think we are doing a pretty good job all things considered. The world is spinning and changing faster and faster and I think that people do a disservice to their child by limiting their ability to learn technology as they grow.
My daughter is 5 , she has a tv in her room that can play her dvds,stream her Netflix and amazon. She has a kindle fire tablet and more learning games than I could begin to list.She has a old phone of ours that I I have locked against dialing but has more games,she has a 3 handheld gaming systems ( her daddy is gamer for sure) She also has books that talk, maps that are interactive, a child’s laptop I will be upgrading soon and on and on
She also plays outside for hours a day, can spend 4 hours easily engaged in a make believe world with her toys building elaborate cities with the materials she has and adding to them day by day until her whole room is transformed to another world, plays well with others.she is starting to read and loves books.
We do not have to fear technology or listen to those that fear it , we need to present it in a way that teaches them it is but one facet of life. while there is time for watching the lizard hunt bugs, time to watch the ants work, time to run and jump, time for simply playing with what your mind can conjure, time for other people, time for reading quietly…..there is also time for technology. They all teach and all present opportunity’s completely unique from each other.
Thank you for putting this into perspective! Taking one single hour out of the day for ourselves helps us to be better moms for the other 23 hours, and if a little technology helps us do that than so what?! I’ll admit, I do feel lazy when I turn on the tv or hand over the iPad, in hopes that it will give me five minutes to go to the bathroom or pull dinner out of the oven. Thank you for assuring me that it is not!
And how do we get 3pm Mad Men martinis back? Is there a petition I can sign?
If you find that petition, let’s start circulating it immediately!
I also constantly hear from the older generations that we are a lazy and unmotivated. Then they turn around and start using their smartphone to do something or the pull out their key fob to unlock their car. A little ironic both were more than likely designed and implemented by us lazy millennials. Being a software developer it cracks me up how much they complain and how much they rely on the technology I create. If any should complain it should be our generation and my son’s generation. We are now responsible for the mess they left us (global warming, economic debt, and foreign relations to name a few). Getting off my soapbox, the way that I have a little escape time is by turning on my Xbox One and do some online gaming while my son watches me play lying on the living room carpet. My wife will will tun on Netflix and watch a couple episodes of whatever show she is into at the time. My game Titanfall or my wife’s Netflix is our Days of Our Lives. People just need to stop being so judgmental and realize different things work for different people.
I love the comparison to soap operas (which were deemed harmless, as opposed to the “evil” iPad). Funny how times have changed! I really enjoy reading about your perspective on parenting. Great insights! 🙂
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Well written! My mom also took soap opera breaks 🙂 I agree with everything you wrote. As moms today, we have so much pressure to do everything ‘right’. With new medical, nutritional, and scientific knowledge, the pressure is on to diaper, bathe, feed, and clothe our babies a certain way. To keep this and that out of the house. To remain calm and gentle at all times. But why is it so unacceptable to some to give our kids technology? Aren’t we supposed to be keeping up? I’m with you on raising smart & responsible kids 🙂
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I, too, am a millennial. My kids and I have and use technology. I love being able to research a topic in a matter of moments, find my way back home with turn by turn guidance, cheered up by a clip of cute kittens when I’m blue, and accessing any genre of music from anywhere. Love it!
However, what I’ve noticed about my fellow millenials (and I know this does not apply to ALL of them, but definitely many that I personally know) is we seem to have a heightened sense of entitlement. And by observation and professional research, I believe the instant gratification that technology now brings us contributes a lot to that mentality. I see many of my peers believing that because they can get to level 25 of whatever cool video game just came out, they now have “marketable skills” that are “valuable to employers” and skoff at lower paying jobs, even though in reality they only have a year of experience in the field of employment they seek.
Technology is great. I agree that you will get left behind if you cannot grasp at least the very basics of technology. However, technology does not (fully) replace experience, skill, personality, and/or a willingness to exceed expectations. *end rant*
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I respect what you are trying to say, however, there is no way millenials are the most educated generation in American History. I have done quite a bit of reading on this, perhaps our definitions of educated are different? The NY Times articles linked to that phrase did not confirm this at all.
I love this post. If I’m supposed to ban technology from my kids, why does her school have 3 online programs to help aide in learning?! I want my children to be “in the know” of technology because that’s what our world is based on. We also live in the PNW, I can’t send them outside to play in the rain every day, I would be berated for that too 🙂 However, we won’t be inside the entire summer. At all.
“Today’s young adults born after 1980, known as Generation Y or the millennial generation, are the most educated generation in American history ”
This is a quote straight from the NY Times article.
A friend shared the post that youre replying to on Facebook.
Its so nice to see that other moms my age see technology as learning tools.
And clearly youre not lazy.
Jealousy is a nasty perfume ladies! Quit hating on a young mother who is clearly doing a better job than you. Cyber bullies.
Seeing as how you had a cell phone at the age of 15, I can imagine you are quite a young mother. Not that age plays a card over maturity, however I feel like there is still much life experience that should be gained before you can really be certain of these claims and points about children and technology.
Actually, she’s probably very qualified to make such claims. I don’t know Meg’s age, but I’m a few months shy of 30 and I had a cell phone at 15. I’m also a librarian, and I know that we have a lot of training in children’s media, including technology (for example, all of my graduate coursework in children and technology). When I think about getting advice about raising my future children in the world of iPads and smartphones, it will be the mom raising kids in the past 10 years who I will turn to for advice
I’m 37 years old, and I had a cell phone at 15. You would be correct if you were to assume that I was a young mother. I have an 18 year old graduating high school this year (with honors) and a 15 year old that excels at everything she does. The younger one is considered a “cool nerd.” I was a “lazy” parent. We watched cartoons all the time when they were little. They’ve had computers in their lives since they were born. They’ve played on cell phones and owned them for years. They play the Sims on their laptops religiously. AND I don’t give a rat’s rear end what anyone thinks of my parenting! Despite their lazy mother they have excelled every step of the way. Oldest daughter wants to develop video games. Youngest plans to be an orthopedic surgeon. I suppose my point is that everyone needs to get off their high horse, and quit worrying about how other people raise their children. Whether you’re a good parent or not, some kids are going to end up being shining stars and some real stinkers.
PS. From middle through high school, the kids don’t even have textbooks anymore. They are issued a Macbook for all of their school work. You better believe that kids need to be subjected to technology early and hardcore. Technology, like it or not, is the future. Get used to it, or get left behind.
why say “young mother” as though it’s a bad thing and assume that because of someone’s age they are incapable of making smart, responsible, well thought out choices? before premarital sex became the norm many people git married straight out of high school and began families, at the turn of the last century and before most girls were wedded and bedded around age 14 or 15. also, if you had read the article that caused this reaction and provoked her response you would know she is 32 years old.
Cell phones have clearly been around longer than you realize.
Also, young mother? As opposed to generations before us, who wed and had children before they turned 18? Yes, 32 is so young to have children… *rolls eyes*
I love all of these posts and agree completely. I got an iPod touch not long after my first was born 4 years ago, and honestly it kept me sane while up all night, especially with my second. From connections with friends, to looking up information, to reading lots of books, it is the best tool I had with newborns.
I can totally relate. I was born in 1981 and have also had technology in my life since elementary school. My dad is a computer technician for goodness sakes. I too have a smartphone and use it quite often to unwind but also to do daily tasks, like balance the checkbook. Even with this I am probably the least lazy person you will meet. I get up at 6:30 in the morning and wake my kindergartner up for school. I then get his clothes out so he can start changing while I get ready for work. As I am getting ready I wake up my husband so he can start getting ready and tell my son at least 2 or 3 times to get dressed. I then take my son to school at 7:10 so he can eat a breakfast, which they provide for free. After I drop him off I go to the office where I work an 8-5 job. I then go home and work on dinner while making sure my 5-year-old does not kill my 2-year-old. After dinner we try to take 1 hour to watch a show while the boys play with our phone or play outside for a little bit. Once the boys are in bed, it is time for me to start on my own homework because I am currently enrolled full time in online college classes working toward my associates. I work on that for a couple of hours and then take a shower and go to bed so I can get up and do it all over again the next day.
Haha! I did the same thing with my mom growing up! Days of our lives. Every day. I loved your original post and loved this too! Great job!
I’m not considered a millenial, I’m at the tail end of the Gen X kids. However, like many millenials, I’ve owned an iPhone since their release. I’m on my phone checking in with others and doing random web searches. The reason I decided to write is to comment on when you had a computer in your home. Every summer, my mom put my brother and me in an enrichment course. The one that always sticks in my mind is 1984 and my exposure to an Apple IIe, learning to operate the computer which meant writing code. Today, I’m appalled when my students have difficulty using Google Drive, attaching a document to an e-mail and in general not being able to really function on basic operations. Researching is also a struggle for them. But, I digress, I just wanted to let you know you’re not the only one with a device addiction, the great thing is that you know how to moderate it.
After reading these posts and thinking about them, my only thought is that I’m SO glad I grew up before everyone had to have computers, cell phones, iPads and the like. It sounds like a lot of unnecessary time spent trying to have the latest and greatest thing and who wants to waste all that time and money on it? I have a laptop. It’s a couple of years old and not the best. I use it all the time for work. I also use it to play on occasion (or waste my time reading blogs like I am right now). I am quite facile with technology, but I don’t have a smartphone and have no interest in getting one. I only have a cell phone of necessity. I hate the concept of people being able to reach me 24/7. I do have a tablet although I don’t use it much. I don’t like reading on a screen unless I have to.
Maybe that means I’ll get left behind, but you know what? I’m okay with that. I don’t care about getting left behind. The job I am seeking right now doesn’t require using iPads and iPhones and whatever other device is around. I do have to know how to use computers, which I do. But it requires ability to think, to teach and to (hopefully) publish. Perhaps that means I have no ambition, but I think I’m happier that way. All I want is a job that will allow me to support myself.
I’m definitely not hip. Never have been. And I’m fine with that, too. I never wanted to be.
(Oh, and soap operas are evil…according to my grandmother and a waste of time according to my mother. None of us ever watched them, but I did get to watch ST:TNG after school before doing my homework. My mom did not join me. She hates scifi.)
I do not think that the author is suggesting you will get left behind. The article is about kids and technology. While I balked at it, it quickly became apparent to me, while having my grandson in my custody, that if he did not have access to technology, if he did not learn to navigate in the computerized world, he would be left behind. No doubt about it. He’s had a handheld device since the age of 6. He can navigate youtube (as this author’s girls do, to learn how something works, or how to learn a particular skill), he games (which I noticed completely improved his perserverance) – there’s something about being in the middle of a game that kids will. not. give. up. I grew up before all the computerized thingies as well. And I love now having access to academic research, current mainstream research, history, anything at all, at my fingertips. I have a smartphone, but no cell reception where I live. Thus, I am unplugged when at home, which is both good and bad. But, when I’m going somewhere I’ve never been, the first thing I do when I get to a place where I get reception is fire up my gps, on my phone, which tells me when I need to turn, how many miles until the next change in route, and if there is roadwork. No pulling over to fumble with the atlas, no printing out of directions and the dangerous reading-while-driving. I am so very grateful to the developers of all the nifty tools I have in my life! And, as this author also notes, schools are moving toward laptops rather than textbooks, which I am all for! Absolutely current information, not something that was written 5 years ago, published 3 years ago, approved by the school board 2 years ago, ordered from the publisher last year… you get my point. Current. Today. Now.
So you’re “lazy” because you need time for yourself that you spend using technology, and you let your children use it as well. Hmmm, wondering here why I was never accused of being lazy on those (admittedly not so rare) occasions that I parked the kids in front of Sesame Street, 321 Contact, Reading Rainbow, etc. Seems that I was “guilty” of the same thing you are — it’s just a different generation of technology.
I didn’t read the letter that evoked your response.
I am not a millennial…however my life contains assorted devices and I know how to use them. I am also an educator and have been one for 30 years. I am an early childhood specialist, actually. I have used computers in my classroom since Mac Classics were born.
I don’t agree that the world is based on technology and knowing how to work it. These things are tools.
I don’t think that schools having tablets in class translates to this is how we can know things are educational. There are some pretty sorry teachers in school as well as textbooks that keep people in the dark about how the world actually works.
I agree that some folks get a little over zealous about banning things or not allowing them. I also think that there is scientific evidence that informs us about early brain development needing three dimensional world feedback and stimulus to grow well.
I think that people can figure things out-how to use these devices as tools to use creatively, as resources, or to assist daily efficiency…. and not as if the whole world is based on them. It would be bad to live inside of these virtual worlds.
Further..Millennials have been labeled wrong. I have worked in the classroom as mentor to assorted millennials. This is a smart, caring, involved and hardworking generation who have much to deal with and much to offer. I am delighted to meet you, and so glad you have come.
Thank you! My 7 year old daughter is in second grade, in the Highly Capable (gifted) program, and a lot of what they do is online. I have apps to help her practice fractions and customizable flash card drills. She’s also FINALLY gotten the reading bug, thanks to the Kindle Fire I handed down to her and her little brother. She went from reading her required daily homework amount to being a voracious, engaged reader, LITERALLY overnight. Now she reads anytime she has free time.
My four year old son is high functioning autistic, and handhelds are a godsend for us. He is either utterly indifferent to an item/activity, or he’s enthralled. One of the things that keeps his attention AND stimulated his brilliant little mind is that Kindle Fire. He has his own set of flash card drills, some early reader books that he’s sounding out with very little help, and games like Angry Birds and Cut the Rope, which give him an outlet for his need to tinker with things when he won’t sit still to build with blocks.
We still play plenty of family games, play outside, go for walks and read lots of books, but our technology is a valuable tool for them, and for me.
I’m a good Mom, and I love you for this topic, blog and candor!
I can not agree more! My toddler learned to count with the help of an iPad. She was counting to 20 by the time she was two with the help of an interactive caterpillar. Yes I was with her, helping her learn, but it’s amazing. She figured out how to tap and would count along. I am an advocate for technology. I admit that there are “lazy” parent who might abuse technology, but when used in an educational, interactive way it can produce awesome results.
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I don’t know you, but I like you.
“I’m a millennial” Gag me.
I’m a Gen Xer who didn’t get email until I graduated from college (gasp), but I have proudly been consuming technology like a Millennial (if only to stay ahead of my kids). Great post—you NOT lazy momma 😉
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I AM a millennial!! As a kid I was told that I wasn’t going to be “good with computers” and not to bother with that field. We can’t scare our kids away from technology of they won’t be able to get a job. You’re so right!!
It’s not lazy… It’s preventing your 3 year old from eating all the m&ms at the check out counter at Walgreens or from running away while you go through security at the airport… Or just to keep them from trying to hurt their sibling long enough for you to go to the bathroom.
We live In a culture that expects that kids act like adults: quite and still. Looking around at most adults sitting in waiting rooms, lines, etc… They’re all looking at their phones too
I nominate one