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Being a Mother Is Hard Work. Is It Actually Harder on Millennial Moms?

Being a Mother Is Hard Work. Is It Actually Harder on Millennial Moms?

Call it the millennial mother midlife crisis, or M.M.M.C. The hallmark of an M.M.M.C. isn’t going off the grid, à la Rachel Fleishman, the strung-out mother in the novel (and hit streaming TV series) “Fleishman Is in Trouble,” or meeting up with other moms to release primal screams.

After all, rage and angst are out, and wellness, equanimity and mental health are in. For lots of moms, the M.M.M.C. is about maintaining a chipper facade, the appearance of having it together while quietly imploding. If the M.M.M.C. had a mascot, it would be a swan, an animal gliding easily on the surface while paddling furiously beneath the water.

Jean M. Twenge, the author of “Generations: The Real Differences Between Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers and Silents — and What They Mean for America’s Future,” said there was more of a bait-and-switch for millennial mothers than for Gen X mothers.

“Women are graduating at much higher rates, young women are accomplishing so many things, and then who is the one who still has to work when they aren’t feeling well during their first trimester?” said Dr. Twenge, 52, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University and the mother of three preteen and teenage children. “There is still this gender expectation.”

This is just one of the stinging realizations that can plant the seeds for an M.M.M.C. While millennial women might have expected a more equitable home life, they still, in most cases, do a larger share of the domestic work and household worryingWhat camp will the kids go to this summer? Do we need dish soap? — than men.

The expectations for modern parenting have grown alongside the pressure on women to have careers, Dr. Twenge said, making the standards for achievement in every arena feel stratospheric for millennial moms.

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