As I watched dinner that was slowly simmering on the stove while watching Vanderpump Rules while my kid did her homework sitting next to me while my toddler occasionally brought over items of interest from the living room while my husband casually commented on the faults in a famous historic series about the Sultanate of Osman and I agreed or disagreed with him regarding factual accuracy, it became too hard for my mom, a Generation X woman, who likes to do everything with meticulous attention and a panache that is just above any rivalry that my attempt at the same thing would ever threaten it with.
She gave some subtle messages first by suggesting that I should turn off my phone and watch the show some other time or I should focus on the food and my kid’s homework can happen later or that I should put my toddler to bed before I do all of that.
Truth is that for a woman who works, this is my life and I’m acclimated to it in a way which many people find disturbing.
But it’s not because I’m a woman who works that I have multitasking almost as a compulsive habit. This is the millennial generation that has proudly been the career-oriented, family-centered and side gig-championing generation. That’s the problem. It’s not a problem to me but my mother sees it as one.
I have always been tasked to do more, better and faster. It started to happen when my Gen X parents realized that I’d be soon part of a race of humans who will have to fend for themselves instead of their parents fending for them. It started to happen when people realized that our generation had an even higher chance of prolonged adolescence. It started with parental anxiety but most of all, it started with the rat race that we call society.
No one I’m friends with in real life is a person who didn’t go to medical school, business school or engineering school. When I grew up a little more I realized that I couldn’t even stay friends with those cousins who didn’t go to medical school because I didn’t have time to hang out with people who didn’t go to my school or didn’t go to the library at the same hours as me. We became distant. But more than that, we became detached.
But because millennials had to have an epiphany, just in the last ten years or so we took over social media by storm. Millennials and Gen Z have become social media leaders and torch bearers. We have made online friends and we have filled a lot of childhood friend-deprived void with those friends. So in a way, I fell right into the extended and prolonged adolescence that my parents tried to protect me from.
Some people have commented on millennials as the generation that changed the face of the earth for the better and worse. We have had some Zuckerbergs and some Kardashians. We’ve had some Alexandria Cortez’s and some Jacinda Arderns. We’ve done well and sometimes we’ve done poorly.
But just by seeing these examples that I gave above you can see how the first part of this blog is true for a true blue millennial like me. Kim Kardashian started as a closet organizer which wasn’t even a job when she started it and is now a media mogul with her own makeup line. That’s actually a very profound example of the millennial culture and grit. And the messing up that has been intentionally done with our brains. I’m not complaining. Just stating how evolution can really happen at the hands of a species to its own species. I’m also not complaining because I don’t know anything different and have found success and validation in running for the bus to catch it or eating a slightly burnt dinner or wearing sports bras so I won’t have to change into them as I dump my bag in the car after work and go for a run.
I don’t expect my mom to know how I do it all. Many have asked and I know it looks like a lot when you see it or read about it. But to me it’s all in a day’s work and another evening in the life of the millennial that she raised.