Cupids Health

How Do Millennial Moms and Gen X Moms Parent Differently?

If you’re a mom or a mom-to-be, you’ve probably thought a lot about what kind of parent you’re hoping to be. Maybe you’ve always known that you want to breastfeed or maybe you realized once baby was born that bottle-feeding was right for your family. Maybe you want to raise your kids exactly the way your parents raised you — or maybe you can’t wait to do things differently.

In a recent joint survey of mothers from What to Expect and our sister site EverydayHealth*,  we asked over 2,000 moms to answer a few questions about their relationships with their own mothers — how much help they got after baby was born, how close they lived, and how often they talked with their moms (and about what!). The answers might surprise you. Here are just a few interesting things about your fellow moms you might not have known.

Married with kids? Definitely not every mom. There’s about a 9 percent chance you’re doing this solo (unmarried and not in a long-term relationship).

The younger the mom, the closer you live to your mom. Are you a millennial mom? That might impact where you live — our survey found that 53 percent of millennial moms live with or 30 minutes from their parents, compared to 42 percent of Gen X moms.

Younger moms talk to their moms more. Millennial moms are more likely to talk to their moms regularly. 49 percent of millennial moms said they talk to their moms every day, compared to 37 percent of Gen X moms.

Today’s moms get more help. 42 percent of millennial and GenX moms said that their moms stayed with them after their babies were born, while only 34 percent of older GenX and Baby Boomer generation moms report the same.  It’s hard to say exactly what’s caused this shift, but it’s possible that because more women work today than they did in years past that they need support — and are turning to their moms for help.

Today’s moms don’t just turn to their moms for advice. Older moms in our survey — that is, moms in the GenX and Baby Boomer groups — recall talking specifically to their moms about their baby’s health or general baby advice when they had their babies. Millennial moms, by contrast, report that they talk to their moms about a wide variety of topics, including pop culture, entertainment, their careers, relationships and their own health. (This makes sense to me — I think it’s a truth universally acknowledged that for the most part, moms give great advice, and not just about babies.)

Younger moms are more likely to be friends with their moms. While GenX and Boomer moms say they enjoy more of a mentorship relationship with their moms, millennial moms are more likely to say they see their moms as more of a friend.

We all live on our phones. Not surprisingly, technology has changed the way moms of today communicate. 67 percent of What to Expect moms, largely millennials, say they communicate with their moms most often through texting (sounds about right). On the other hand, Boomer moms are more likely to communicate via email. Gen X moms also prefer texting to email.

Young moms say they feel more protective of their kids. Gen X moms in the What to Expect group report being more protective of their own kids than their mothers were with them.

You don’t want to be as good a parent as your mom: You want to be even better. Only 35 percent of What to Expect moms overall plan on raising their children the same way their moms raised them, though that number jumps to 61 percent among What to Expect moms who report that they have a lot in common with their moms.

If reading this makes you want to call your mom (or, more likely, text her) go right ahead. While the survey highlights that motherhood has changed over the years, it’s also a great reminder that we’re all standing on the shoulders of moms who came before us.

*Survey notes:

The survey respondents comprised two groups:

1. 1,369 moms responded from, which included 1,092 millennial moms aged 22-36, and 194 Gen X moms aged 37-52.

2. 652 moms, comprising 146 Gen X moms aged 37-52 and 506 Baby Boomer moms aged 53-71.



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