August 2nd, 2017, after 20 hours of hard labor, Ezura Girton Sufianto was born intothis world as my husband’s birthday present. Two most important persons in my life now share the same birth day. My whole life has changed ever since I held those tiny fingers.
I never see myself as the ‘motherly’ type. Before Ezura, I’m the kind of woman who chooses puppies over babies. That said, obviously I started with zero parenting skill and had gone through a high learning curve as a new mom. The good thing is I have a good childhood memory on how my parents raised me and my own expectations of what ideal parents should be.
Before I go further, let me explain a bit of my parents’ background. Both my parents work together as entrepreneurs. They never hired a nanny, so my grandma and my aunt took care of me and my little brother every time they are at work. We had an adult-centric family structure where children were part of the family but not the focus of the family. We lived a parallel lives, with my parents mostly interacting with me and my brother for discipline and life lessons.
My mom told me I was the most difficult eater when I was a baby. My grandma and her had to come out with a bag of tricks for every mealtime, including the old-school imaginary plane distraction. When I grew older, she put an enormous emphasize on school work and demanded both her children to be top three in class. She would check all our homework and test scores, send us to ten different tutors and music lessons. As for my dad, he is hard working, honest and a dependable man, but he was rigid. I barely see him on weekdays because he would work late hours. Most of the days, me and my brother would play (and fight) by ourselves.
As a parent now, I find how times have changed the diversity of family structures. Single parents to LGBTQ couples are changing notions of what a traditional family looks like. Social media and the Internet has become a key source of information covering topics from co-sleeping, breastfeeding to parenting tips, while our parents had to rely on experts like Dr Spock for advice beyond their own parents. In this modern age, Millennials can find information from experts in every field of parenting–both virtual and real contacts. Thanks to this extensive community–including forum groups, WhatsApp groups and Instagram hashtags–Millennial parents have many ways to learn about the best way to raise children.
On the contrary, children of Millennial parents are exposed to gadgets and technology way faster than we were. While it is helpful, unrestricted access and over-dependence is daunting and will affect their interpersonal skill and even weakens creative and imaginative skills. I think we owe it to our child(ren), to show them the outside world and how magnificent the sunset looks from the beach. I would want to be remembered as the person who taught them how to swim, ride a bike and hunt a bird, just like how I remember my dad until today.
While it may seems counterintuitive, given 46% of Millennial parents in the 2010’s are both in the workforce, VS. 31% in 1970, but Millennials spend more time than any previous generation with their children, especially fathers. Parents become more involved in their children’s lives, from morning until bedtime than ever before.
Although I work full time, I have a nanny to help me take care of Ezura and often work from home. This flexibility allows me to take him to baby class, cook for him and take him to experience many of his “firsts”, like first swim, first birds sighting and so on.
I find my husband much more involved in taking care of Ezura than my dad ever was with me. In fact, he was the one who taught me how to change his diapers. It’s an ongoing journey to find balance for us (there’s wine for desperate measure ;p), but I know we both are committed to spend the most time together and that’s how we like it.