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Tuesday, January 21st, 2014
3 years, 2 months.
While we were in Alabama last weekend celebrating your Auntie Dana’s 30th birthday, I heard her say something clever.
It was an interesting, parenting-related spin on a very popular catch-phrase of 2013: “YOLO,” which stands for “you only live once.”
In reference to raising your 2 and a half year-old cousin, Calla, your Auntie Dana’s motto is “you’re only little once.”
As a parent, this new twist on “YOLO” is a simple phrase to remind me that however enjoyable, or frustrating, a particular moment in parenting may be, it’s a fleeting event to be appreciated either way.
One of my favorite TV shows ever, The Office, ended last May. In the final episode, Andy Bernard had one of the best lines in the entire series, in my opinion:
“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.”
I have always been a very nostalgic guy; yearning for the past.
Nineteen eighty-something and Nineteen ninety-something are definitely warmer, safer, easier places for me to escape to, in my mind.
I graduated high school in 1999, nearly 15 years ago. So for me, anything that has happened in the year 2000 or beyond has taken place in my adult life.
My childhood (1981-1999) ended right before the 2000s began, which is why I am the very oldest of Generation Y. (We Millennials began adulthood once the Nineties were over.)
But as for you, from 2010 to 2028 is the span of years designated for your childhood; your warmest, safest, easiest place to be alive.
For you, it’s not a collection of old memories. Instead, you’re living it right now.
And I feel like I’m your host.
I feel like the Ryan Seacrest of your childhood.
You’re only little once. You’re only this young once- when things are still so obviously magical and mysterious.
When animals can talk. When getting a new Hot Wheel car is a big deal. When just running around the room in your pajamas in front of Mommy and Daddy is the highlight of your day.
These are the good ole days. You’re far from leaving them.
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Sunday, December 2nd, 2012
You are the product of two Millennial (or Generation Y) parents.
Both Mommy and I were born a few months apart in 1981, the year that began our generation. The way we will parent you will be different as compared to how it would have been if we were part of the generation that ended just a few months before we were born; Generation X was born roughly between 1964 to 1980.
As the sort of first-born of my generation, I am constantly trying to figure out what makes us different from previous generations. After all, people say that Millennials were the first children not to rebel against their parents. That’s pretty weird…
An article published about a year ago in The New York Times referenced your parents’ generation as the “post-emotion generation… no anger, no edge, no ego.”
On the surface, it may appear that we are sheltered, narcissistic, jaded by the polar extremes of American politics, motivated by recognition more than money, obsessed with green living, and easily inspired by social justice issues.
I’ll be honest- it wouldn’t be a stretch for someone to describe me in any of those ways. Actually, I wonder how else I appear as a stereotype to other generations of parents.
In fact, I’m so curious about the traits of my generation, especially as they relate to being parents, I have decided to pinpoint 5 token traits of Generation Y parents:
1. They give their own kids either extremely classic or extremely original names. For every Jack there is now a Brody and for every Sarah there is now a Hadley. Millennial parents tend not to name their kids the popular names of their own generation, like Chris and Matt for boys, and Amanda and Jennifer for girls.
2. They want their kids to be, or at least seem, unique. That’s part of the explanation for some of the bizarre baby names popping up these days. Millennials were raised to believe they were special; evidently more special than every other child of The Eighties who was told that. Now, Generation Y parents subconsciously still wish this extra dose of uniqueness on their own kids.
3. Millennial parents are overly self-aware of their parenting style. Everybody’s watching, all the time, thanks the social media outlets and blogs we plug into on a daily basis. We make sure no one can ever question if we’re involved enough in our kids’ lives. To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? To spank or not to spank? To helicopter parent or not to helicopter parent? Those are the questions.
4. Facebook replaces the necessary phone call update and proud wallet pictures of our kids. There’s no real need for us as parents to pick up the phone and update our friends and family on what our kids are doing, nor is there reason those people should be desperately curious to see new pictures of our kids: There’s a constantly updated flow of that on Facebook every day.
5. They are really into what their kids eat. Back in the 1980s, processed food was king. Now, the awareness of disease, cancer, and obesity has caused parents to actually question what “natural and artificial flavor” means. Trust me on this, you don’t want to know. There’s a reason food companies keep those ingredients a mystery.
So there you have it, son. Hopefully I’ve taught you a thing or two about why your parents and your friends’ parents are so quirky…I mean, “special and unique.”
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Thursday, September 20th, 2012
Like many Millennials, I grew up with this unrealistic belief that if I simply had a 4 year college degree, I would be all set.
Instead, I entered a work force where too many people, just like me, already had a college degree. So I wasn’t that special after all.
Now I’ve come to terms with the fact I need to become more special to actually be special.
Right now, we live in a 2 bedroom townhouse. Simply put, I’m not going to be in the right mindset to even think about planning to try to have another child in home with only 2 bedrooms.
I’m just now.
Also, the part of Nashville we live in wouldn’t put our son in the school district we would want him in.
Maybe what I’m saying right now sounds a bit on the superficial side, but I’m just being honest.
I don’t care about driving a nice car or living in a big house, but I recognize the socioeconomic pressures of parenthood prodding me to climb the corporate ladder.
This is me planning my way out of “townhouse life” into “small house with a small yard in a decent school district life.”
If I was still single, I just don’t know that I would be so inspired to try this hard to “move up” in the world.
But now I’ve got two people depending on me. That sort of makes me a bit more motivated.
I have had this re-occurring dream where it’s my final semester of college and I have just realized there was this one class I forgot about.
Then the terror sets in as I realize I won’t be able to graduate on time.
Whenever I have this dream, I wake up in relief, telling myself:
“That’s funny. You graduated college a long time ago. You don’t have to worry about classes anymore. Those days are long gone.”
With that being said, last night, in real life, I started taking a course at Lipscomb University.
I will be spending 3 hours every Wednesday night, through December, in a class that will be preparing me to become HR certified.
Then I still have to pay a couple hundred dollars and spend 3 hours taking the certification test, getting at least 70% of the questions right.
All to become an official HR guy.
Yeah, like Toby and Holly on The Office.
It was only a couple of months ago that I figured this out, but since graduating college, the field I have been working in has been Human Resources; not Sales as I thought. So I’ve decided to make something of it.
Turns out, HR is one of the (few) things in life I’m actually really good at.
It involves mediating between different departments, reading people, and knowing how to motivate them in order to bring productivity up- all that fun stuff.
I have a natural talent of playing the role of a middle child; the ultimate mediator.
Interestingly, most of the responsibilities of Human Resources seem to translate pretty well in to my role at home, especially as the dad:
Educating, training, empowering, and rewarding.
I’m always in the middle of stuff, trying to help everyone communicate better and always looking for new strategies and protocols to improve efficiency in the long run.
So whether in the office and in my home, I guess I’m pretty much the Human Resources department. But I’m cooler than Toby Flenderson.
Top image: Career, via Shutterstock.
Bottom image: Personnel manager writing, via Shutterstock.
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