6 Shitty Truths About Millennial Parenthood

by Ashley Simpo
Millennial parent mom in a black floral dress sitting on grass with her newborn son

If you were born sometime between 1980 and 1999, you are essentially considered a millennial. If you are part of the millennial generation and also a parent, you are essentially (and additionally) considered to be pretty screwed. Here’s why:

1. No One Cares That You Procreated

Seriously, get over yourself. Just because you had a child (or children) does not mean society is going to roll out the red carpet for you. In fact, there are now childless flights available for those who probably already get enough sleep at night but feel the need to nap in silence while they fly. As I get deeper into this parental journey, I realize that having a child is apparently more of an inconvenience to those around me than it has ever been to me. People don’t want to see you give birth or breastfeed in public, and they definitely don’t want to see your kid at a restaurant that doesn’t boast a giant guitar-playing mouse. Also, if you could all stop posting about your kids on social media that would really help out.

2. Your Kid Is Smarter Than You, Period

The latest generation of kids is among the first to study things like coding in elementary school. They have Google, Netflix, Siri, and YouTube keeping them in the know (raise your hand if you remember Blockbuster video). This is also the most enlightened generation to date. Kids as young as 4 and 5 are already choosing gender non-conformity and protesting social inequality alongside their almost-as-informed parents. By the time our kids are in college, we’ll be the generation that ruined the world and they will be the nation’s newest hipsters. Better hug ’em while they still think you’re emotionally competent.

3. Bullying 2.0

I don’t know about you, but when I was in junior high and a girl made fun of my shoes, I clocked her and went to go buy snacks. It was a fairly quick and painless process, and I don’t even think I told my mom about it. But these days bullying has been given a makeover. Thanks to social media, kids can hide behind a profile and harass their targets with everything from memes to video footage. Bullying has even been taken to fatal blows with cases like Amy Joyner-Francis who died while being jumped in a bathroom. As parents try to understand what can possibly be done to prevent such tragedies from hitting home, the answer may be right in front of us.

No, not on Google. Behind the phone. No, put the phone down…now look up. See your kid standing there? Talk to it.

4. Autoplay

You take three hours to choose an age-appropriate, pre-K approved program with a life-affirming message for your child to watch on Netflix or YouTube. You may do this for any number of reasons. Maybe you need to start fixing dinner, or you need to call someone back without being interrupted. Maybe you’d like a moment to cry and drink tequila in the bathroom. Whatever. But as soon as the show is over, before you even have enough time to pick up the remote and turn it off, the next episode is already playing. Now you get to be the asshole who turns off Sarah & Duck 24 seconds into the next tantalizing story plot. Now you get to explain to your child why they just got a millisecond-long teaser for a show they can’t finish watching.

Dear user-experience designers at all video streaming websites: Remove this feature from children’s programming. Autoplay should be reserved for when I’m bing-watching Black Mirror and don’t want to disturb the Cheetos dust on my fingers to advance to the next episode. Enough is enough. You’re torturing my kid.

5. Kindergarten Is Basically College Now

My 4-year-old son is heading into kindergarten next year, and suddenly I find myself neck deep in waiting lists, campus tours, and a school catalog as thick as a math book. I’m wondering at this point if I need to go to Target and buy some stuff for his dorm room. Is that how this works? Am I done now? Is he basically an adult?

That was fast.

6. Shit Is Just Worse All Around

Its no secret that millennials are the first generation to enter adulthood in worse financial shape than their parents. Most of us left college with crippling student debt and a severely smaller batch of jobs to compete for than our generational predecessors. We also have a higher occurrence of depression and anxiety. Thanks to social media we all get to sit around and feel bad about our measly accomplishments as we compare them to the cream of the crop which floats above our timelines, reminding us that we still have so far to go. Add in elements of doom like Donald Trump, the threat against Roe v. Wade, the rise in protests and riots against social injustice and the threat of nuclear war — and it’s pretty easy to understand why today’s generation of parents are drinking so much.

On the bright side? As parents, despite the lack of global appreciation, we are tasked with ensuring the future of human existence. So rest assured that in a room full of well-rested non-parents, you are far more important than they are. Sure, we’re tired, haggard, drunk, and dumber than our children  —  but we’re also more innovative, determined, and empathetic than our parents before us. Our kids will be able to provide video evidence of the impending mental anguish we will undoubtedly cause when they enter therapy in 20 years ,  but they will also have a solid record of all the unconditional praise and love we gave them.

So cheers to my fellow millennial parents . It will be over soon, so enjoy it while you can.