Imperfect is the New Perfect

The impact of the mommy-blog on the new generation of parents

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last five-ish years, you’ve probably caught wind of the trend people call “Mommy-blogging.” Even if you aren’t parenting currently, it’s hard to imagine a week without your Facebook feed featuring one of these homespun blogs written from the trenches of motherhood about the very real challenge that is parenting. Some are inspirational, others are tearjerkers and many are downright hilarious.

Now struggling with parenting is not exclusive to the Millennial generation. All you Boomer and Xer parents out there, trust me, I completely understand that you also had to frantically wipe spit-up off of your freshly dry-cleaned suit only minutes before the pitch of your life. I know that you also stubbed your toes on sharp Legos while stumbling over to the refrigerator only to stand in front of it, scarfing down a few bites of last night’s leftovers before heading out to soccer practice. Those universal experiences are what connect all moms (heck…all parents) across every generation.

So, what is different about this new trend? What can be gleaned from a generational perspective out of the mom-blog culture?

As a Millennial mom, here’s what I’ve gotten so far: Imperfect is the new perfect.

Some of it is in the messaging.
Traditionalist and Boomer moms were bombarded with these images:
Pic 1

(If you are looking for a good laugh, Google image search for 1950s or 1960s mom.)

Even Xers were fed some pretty idealistic views of parenting in their day.

And sure, Millennials have had their share of unrealistic parenting images (just search ‘birthday cupcakes’ or ‘organic baby food’ on Pinterest and your head might explode). But here’s the difference: for every image of “parenting perfection” there is a barrage of comments, articles, and conversations around why this is not only completely unrealistic but not even the ideal.

To give you an idea, here are a few of today’s popular mommy blogs:
Peanut Butter Hair
The Anti-June Cleaver
A Spoonful of Spit Up
Scary Mommy

But it’s not just the message itself, but where that messaging is coming from. Most moms aren’t getting their information from Dr. Spock or Ferber anymore. Nope. The new expert for moms—is other moms. We aren’t turning to the media to show us what it looks like to be a mom. Half the time, we don’t even want to hear it from our own pediatricians! Most Millennial moms trust other moms above all others. The Millennial collaborative nature has stretched far beyond the boardroom and into baby-raising.

I know Boomer and Xer moms commiserated on the benches of playgrounds and in front of water coolers in the office, but they weren’t given the luxury of seeing the true images of parenting imperfection everywhere they turned that more closely resembled the three-ring circus they were coordinating at home. To be really honest, as a Millennial mom, I do not know how you did it.

As I write this blog, I am looking at a pile of unopened mail and sitting next to a high chair crusted with dried cheese and fruit from breakfast. If the only images I ever saw were of gleaming kitchens with freshly baked pies and the only sources of information was pristine, untouchable doctors, I probably would have just given up by now. Bravo to Boomers and Xers who paved the way for less-than-perfect moms like me, and bravo to my generation for embracing the relief of imperfection.

There is comfort in this online mom sorority we have built. Sure it’s not perfect. There can be underlying competition and moms pushing their own agendas. But for the most part, for young Millennial parents who are struggling to do it all, it’s nice not to have to “look up” to anyone but instead, look sideways at another parent and just say “I know. Me too.”