I am a part of what society has coined "The Millennials." I am a member of the group of Generation Y "kids" who are cited as being entitled and having too-high expectations, both in the work place and in all aspects of life. In his upcoming book The War on Millennials, author Pete Seat makes the observation that "[M]illennials field a lot of flak for taking Woody Allen's '80 percent of success is showing up,' quote to heart, albeit in a different context than it was originally intended. We think that just showing up is enough for reward, recognition and praise."
We have been deemed "trophy kids" based on the fact that many of us (not all) expect a trophy based solely on participation, not merit. It has been said that we, as a generation, often job hop, always looking for the "next big thing," and are eager to earn a salary based on what we think we deserve, rather than a salary based in reality. I am not dogging my peers, but I can't exactly say that I disagree with most stereotypes that I have read regarding myself and my generation. A friend of mine recently asked if I had ever truly failed at something. And the truth is, I couldn't think of one thing. I couldn't think of one time that I had to return home, tail between my legs, knowing that I had put myself out there and failed. I couldn't think of one time when I truly felt what I had done was perfect, only to find out it didn't measure up to someone else's standards.
Until I became a mother.
Before my daughter's birth, I just knew I would be the perfect parent. I had planned on making her baby food myself. I was sure that by reading books and talking to others, I would know exactly what to do. I would have all the right answers to whatever life threw at me. I was going to be Supermom. I wasn't intimidated at all by the shiny, bright Pinterest Moms and DIY pros. I was about to take the parenting world by storm.
Well, fellow Millennials, let me tell you something. When things aren't as easy as you've planned, the road hasn't been smoothly paved for you to follow and the spoons you are shoveling in your children's mouths are made of plastic instead of silver, you'll get a real glimpse of reality. And "reality" just stained that beautiful white rug from Restoration Hardware that everyone warned you not to put in the baby's nursery.
Without going any farther, I must confess.
I have made exactly zero batches of homemade baby food in the 17 months my daughter has been alive. The other night, she devoured Stouffer's spaghetti with meat sauce, and I praised myself for "cooking" her dinner. Typically, I would have just opened a pouch or a jar of pre-made baby food, took her out to dinner or brought in take-out. Becoming a whiz in the kitchen? Fail.
I cried alone in the dark for the first several weeks she was alive, not knowing what to do with my colicky baby. I was too stubborn to admit I needed help, and too distraught to realize how much my stress was affecting my daughter's life.
Having all the answers? Fail.
I have yet to even peruse Pinterest for DIY projects my daughter might enjoy. In fact, there are days when I come home from work and, too tired to keep up with my daughter, hand her the iPad while she curiously scrolls through and selects which apps she wants to play. At restaurants, it has become a life saver.
Taking the parenting world by storm? Fail.
I could probably go on and on confessing all of the less-than-perfect decisions I have made for my daughter, but one thing is for sure: The decisions I have made have been done with her best interest in mind. She needs a happy mom, and I need to do whatever it takes to maintain my sanity. And thus far, maintaining my sanity has involved staying far away from the kitchen and even father away from Pinterest.
So here I am, a proud Millennial, a Generation Y baby who was raised to think the world owed me something, admitting I am not perfect. I am not even close to it. I had dreams and aspirations of being the perfect mother, but I have failed.
At this point, I can finally accept my imperfections and failures proudly. Because, truth be told, the smiles and giggles I see on my baby's face are better than any trophy I could've ever been handed or any stamp of approval and/or perfection I may have been seeking.