Wednesday, October 23, 2013

More Stress? Gen X vs Gen Y

While reading my twitter feed and catching up on my news I saw this tweet...

I was born in the earlier 1980s so I'm not sure if I fall into Generation X or Generation Y because they overlap, but my mother is definitely Generation X so I would say I am the Gen Y. In comparing what I believe her situation to have been and experienced as a kid versus my situation now as a mom of two wonderful children, I would say motherhood stress is higher as a Generation Y.

And here's a couple of reasons why I think this.

Family Involvement 
When I was a child my parents lived 30 yards from my great grandma (when I was 5 years of age she was 65) and only about two miles from both of my grandmas. I am very fortunate to still have these grandmas in my life.
I remember being at my great-grandma's house a lot of my life, who didn't want to go to grammy's?! I also remember spending a ton of time at one of my grandma's because my cousin was always there. We are very close in age so we were the best of playmates. Fortunately for most of my life, my mom stayed at home with me but I also remember being with family, whether she was there or not.
Also, we lived in a small town and for better or worse, everyone knew everyone. So kids played outside with the neighbor kids. I was outside and while my mom or dad checked on me, I was not under constant supervision. A certain level of trust comes with familiarity.
My kids have the closest family about two hours away. Yes, my husband and I made the decision to move away for work and to hopefully provide a great life for our kids. But family isn't close, and while they are not halfway across the country like a lot of other families, it's too far to just have my kids drop in for a couple of hours. The time has to be scheduled if they visit.
We live in a very nice neighborhood and our son goes outside to play but there aren't a ton of kids his age around so mommy and daddy play outside too.

Financial Situation 
As I said my mom stayed at home with me as did a lot of other moms at that time and being from a small town the cost of living wasn't as high as other places. We did fun things and sometimes went out to dinner, but it was a treat. And dinner out wasn't all the time, my parents watched what they spent. I do need to tell those reading that my parents didn't talk a lot about anything financial in front of me, they didn't want me to worry or know about their financial situation.
Now more than ever both parents work outside the home, I am blessed and right now get to be a stay at home mom with my two, but a lot of people can't or don't do this. In order to afford expenses both mom and dad get up and go to work while the kids go to school or childcare of some sort. When we first moved away from family, both my husband and I worked so our son went to daycare. The daily drop-offs were stressful. Was the lunch and snacks packed? Did I give the daycare enough diapers, wipes, and clothes? And we hoped our son didn't catch a cold from another kid because mom was taking off work to keep the little one at home. Thousand of moms do this every day, I did too, it's different from when I was little.
And let's not forget - because dad and mom may both work, no one wants to make dinner so let's pick something up or go out. This was me - definitely!

I have never felt I had to go without something growing up, my parents always provided for me, I had toys, clothes, fun things to do, and I never felt deprived but they also knew how to say no. They knew I didn't need everything in sight and they didn't spend like crazy, it always seemed to be in the range of normal.
I have a hard time not getting something for my son. (The baby is just too little to need material anything beyond  warm clothes, diapers, and a couple toys.) We go to the store and he asks for a drink, or a toy, or something to eat, and the list goes on. I am working on saying no more often but I want to get him something. If I get a drink at the gas station, I feel like I should get him one too. I know that's a simple example but it's true and my husband, while not as bad as me at this, likes to pick up something for him too.
Our son now and then will come home and tell us a kid at preschool has this or that, and then asks if we can get him the same toy or whatever the item is. Some kids at school have iPads and he wanted one. (Both my husband and I quickly said NO). While I don't want him being the only one to not have something, I refuse to always get him something just because everyone else has it, especially at five years old!
I feel like competition to keep up with the latest thing is more present now than when I was a kid which causes a lot more stress.

I've given a couple reasons why I think it's more stressful now but I'm interested to read your thoughts. How do you feel about the tweet? Please respond in the comments. Thanks!

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