04/01/2014 04:53 pm ET Updated Jun 01, 2014

Are Millennial Moms Happier Than You?

Hey, GenX-er, remember when we were the Slacker Generation -- and how annoying it was? Today, we're more like the Triage Generation, juggling everything thrown our way by our kids, our careers, the economy and whatever else you think of.

These days I'd love to do a little slacking.

Millennials, by contrast, seem a whole lot happier. In our latest Working Mother Research Institute survey of 2,163 Boomers, Generation X and Millennial parents, Millennials are more likely to say they have a secure and stable job (65 percent agree) and that their responsibilities match their interests well (63 percent agree). They are upbeat about their family finances (64 percent are upbeat) and pleased with their relationship with their spouse (71 percent positive).


Commissioned to mark the 35th anniversary of Working Mother magazine, Mothers and Daughters: The Working Mother Generations Report, sponsored by SC Johnson, found the biggest attitude gaps between Millennials and their parents, the Baby Boomers. For example, more than half of all Millennials surveyed say flexibility can cause work to interfere with family time versus only a quarter of Boomers. And while all three generations report working the same average hours--7.8 daily--roughly half the Millennials surveyed say they "cannot get away from work."

Still, more than the other two generations we surveyed, Millennial working moms describe themselves as career-oriented. This is a powerful finding: Previous WMRI research has shown that a "career orientation" correlates with greater engagement on the job and satisfaction at home -- regardless of income. And yet, Millennial moms also seem conflicted about child care. They are the group most likely to agree that one parent should be home to care for children (60 percent agree) and to be home when a child gets home from school (83 percent agree).

I'm Gen X all the way -- ambitious, highly educated, half of a dual-income family -- but I'm also skeptical, stressed and stretched farther in every direction than I ever expected. Even so, I'm intrigued by the positive take on work life issues emanating from my younger peers. Their influence already is rippling throughout the workforce as they seek new ways to work and parent -- and I would say, after reading our findings, rightfully so.

Thirty-five years ago, Working Mother launched with the mission to serve the millions of working moms entering the work force for the first time. That generation started a conversation on child care, paid leave and equal pay (among others) that Gen X has pushed far forward to include flexibility and women's advancement. As any working mom of any generation will tell you, there's still a lot to be said. To that end, I welcome the newest generation of working moms to the table and look forward to helping them take our story in a whole new direction.