I am a Generation X mother who was raised under the social structure of a two parent middle class family with high ideals, values, traditions and social norms. When I grew up the expectations felt enormous, challenging and sometimes overwhelming. As a child I often felt that I was to be seen and not heard. Because of these feelings I shied away from expressing feelings and definitely would never disagree with my parents. I was responsible and my parents could always rely on me to watch my siblings and follow the family rules. My mothers expectations were to get an education, refrain from acting fast and she would often say I'm your mother and not your friend. My sister and I would not dare even roll our eyes, nor back talk without expecting consequences.
Because my family had so many stated and unstated expectations I would spend a lot of time with my Aunt G, who was much more fun. I would frequently spend the weekend at my aunt's house, until I graduated from high school and enrolled in college. So I went to college at age 17 and became my own person or so I thought. I thought now, I can live up to my own expectations and do exactly as I pleased. I was so introverted, the living up to my own expectations were few and mostly resembled me developing my own rules that were the same as the ones I grew up with. I was a freshman at MSU and I went to church, did not party and didn't have sex although I was pressured regularly by my then boyfriend and even taunted by my roommate.
After marriage and three kids later I realized that some of my parents norms, values, and beliefs are truly ingrained within my personality. My millennial daughter and I are often like two polar opposites. However, I believe that in the end she too will have the same or similar values and beliefs. As a mother I felt I should have protective rules in place, however I was more lenient. But if you ask my daughter she will quickly disagree and say that I was too strict and wanted to prevent her from having fun. I felt her fun might get her into trouble, lead her down the wrong path and prevent her from having a happy future.
As a mother I often wonder what could I have done differently and I reflect back on how I was raised and simply say I did my best with the tools I had. Some millennial'sare sensitive to feedback, criticism, and suggestions which is probably a similar trait to generation x adults. I feel as a generation x parent it is hard for me to be as objective as my daughter. I feel she does not realize that some of my objections are for her own good and that I also felt when I was young that my mother's objections and feedback were too critical. The one thing I was always knew for sure was that my mother loved me and that she really meant no harm even when I thought she was being overbearing. So millennial's please don't think your parents are over protective because the world we grew up in felt a lot safer than the the one we currently experience especially with Internet predators, unsolicited everything, and your free uninhibited spirit that is willing to try new adventures more readily than we generation x mothers.
Generation X mothers communicate very differently, because we did no grow up in a digital age like millennial's and sometimes they find that hard to comprehend. We grew up on the rotary dial and the type writer. So there was no auto correct, Face time, IPhone or any other smart device to help us think and react faster. Generation X mothers believe in simple conversations that help promote relationship building and our daughters believe in text messages and Face time on the go. However as mothers we try to learn and understand how to use all of the modern technology and incorporate it into building relationships. It was much simpler and more authentic, the old fashion way in my opinion, where you look a person in the eye or listened to the sound of their voice and understood exactly what was needed. Millennial Mothers and Generation X Mothers, are building relationships one day at a time.