When the toddler at the table next to you at your local hotspot has an iPad in hand, it’s safe to say that parenting is going to look a lot different for us than it did for our parents.
Whether you’re hoping for a positive pregnancy test before the ground thaws, or you’re too much of a kid yourself to handle offspring for at least a decade, you’ll need to be prepared.
This is how “the next stage” is going to look for today’s millennials.
The traditional, archaic nuclear family will further become a thing of the past.
So, you may have grown up with the white picket fence and the heterosexual nuclear family, complete with a station wagon and a stay-at-home mom. And though you may opt for that route for yourself, know that family life is going to look a lot different for your kids than it did for you. Your kids will know that same-sex parents are totally normal, thanks to the half-dozen kids (at least) in their class with them.
Your kids will have genderless classmates (or may be so themselves).
As we advance further into our culture of gender fluidity and the deconstruction of traditional gender roles, a growing number of couples are raising gender-neutral children, allowing them to decide their own gender identities. Many modern parents are also embracing their child’s shift to another gender. This is reflected in everything from kid-targeted advertisements (like this one for Barbie, which features a boy), to how gender-neutral toys, clothes and bicycles are becoming the norm.
More kids will grow up in condos and apartments.
With sky-high real estate prices in cities like Vancouver and Toronto (coupled with the country’s new mortgage rules), the reality is that places like Toronto are going to go by the way of New York City, with elevators replacing backyards as staples in the lives of the kids of the future. Home ownership will become increasingly uncommon for millennial parents (so no, you won’t be the only one).
It won’t matter if you can’t cook.
Gone are the days when knowing how to cook was an essential life skill (so, ahem, don’t let anyone tell you that it is). Not only are there more pre-made and home delivered meal options available than ever, robotic chefs could soon become a kitchen staple (for those with digital wallets full enough, that is), fully-connected smart kitchens will eliminate the leg work and – before our kids become teens – printing your food at home could even become a reality. Oh, it’s happening.
You’ll spend less time at the office.
With the rise in entrepreneurship, the emergence of a growing freelance economy, and flexible workplaces, the eight hours clocked at the office each day is going by the way of the landline. This means you could potentially spend less on daycare if you’re in charge of how you spend the hours of the day (or night). As long as the work gets done, right? Thanks to things like dwindling pension plans, however, it looks like we’ll make up for the flexibility by working later in life (just sayin’).
The minivan will get a millennial makeover.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is redefining the future if the family car with the Chrysler Portal, an all-electric, autonomous concept that was just unveiled at the 2017 CES tech expo. Designed by millennials for millennials, the “minivan of the future” is designed to be eco-friendly, spacious enough for families and loaded with tech, including an in-car wireless network.
The toys will more high-tech than your smartphone may be.
The toys will continue to be infused with technology. But that’s ok; your baby will be aptly familiar with the tech world by his or her’s second birthday, thanks to things like digital bouncers (and, of course, the iPad babysitter). Think: Mario and Luigi video games in virtual reality, robots that respond to voice commands and virtual playrooms. So long, Cabbage Patch kids (tear).
You’ll need to make an effort to stay on top of tech.
Remember rolling your eyes at your parents when they didn’t understand how your Tamagotchi or first MP3 player worked? As much as you should be able to disconnect (and doing so will be more essential than ever by then), you also need to keep with the tech times to be a cool parent… because if not, your child will outsmart you in the tech department by his or her 5th birthday. You’ll also need to know how to work your data-driven baby mobile and digital bouncer.
You’ll soon realize that the village it takes is available at your fingertips.
Whereas our parents may have had to book-mark baby books for reference at each trial and tribulation you faced, online resources, social media and chat rooms mean that the modern parent has a wealth of knowledge available with just a few clicks. More than ever, fellow parents are available online to offer wisdom, support and tips. It’s up to you to be smart about dissecting it (and, of course, passing that wisdom onto your kid).
You’ll discard a one-size-fits all approach to parenting.
Thanks to things like this online village and its wealth of knowledge, changing gender roles and ideals, and new books that focus on progressive parenting techniques, millennial parents will be increasingly open-minded when it comes to parenting and raising their kids. With so many diverse opinions and perspectives, you’ll soon realize that, these days, there’s no “right” way to play the parent game (which is great, because – let’s be honest – we’re all going to enter with no real clue what we’re doing).