Family life itself has changed dramatically thanks to the more than 31 million Millennial parents. It’s critical for marketers and advertisers to understand what matters to modern parents and to accurately reflect this in their messages and campaigns, according to the Engine Group's Cassandra.
"Moms and dads today aren’t blindly following the model of parenting that previous generations set forth; instead they are taking their own unique approaches to raising their children, establishing the family dynamics that work for them," says Melanie Shreffler, senior insights director, Cassandra.
"Both moms and dads realize there’s no such thing as a “perfect parent,” and they’re trusting their gut and figuring out what works best for them, rather than relying on products and brands for aid."
Men and women are dealing with unique challenges as they become parents. For instance, more mothers than fathers feel it is difficult to be a successful professional while being a good parent (59% vs. 40%) and to have a personal identity outside of being a parent (32% vs. 17%).
"Dads are more involved in their kids’ lives than were those of previous generations," says Shreffler. "They’re even more likely than moms to post about their children on social media. Meanwhile, working moms are finding new ways to manage their work/life balance—by prioritizing their kids and families, they’re finding they’re actually better workers when they’re in the office, as we identify in the emerging trend, 'Leaning Out to Lean In.'"
Though mothers and fathers agree on some things about parenting, particularly about not having enough quality time with each other and leaning on their spouse to help out, there are several areas where parents - especially those staying at home - are not aligned as strongly.
Stay-at-home moms are typically more stressed than stay-at-home dads (49% vs. 32%) and stay-at-home moms are two times more likely to be exhausted than their stay-at-home male counterparts (56% vs. 28%). These moms may be more tired, but stay-at-home dads are less likely to feel under-appreciated than moms who stay home (15% vs. 40%).
Parents, regardless of whether they are stay-at-home or working, have the same aspirations and goals for their children. Moms and dads want their children to have imaginations (70%; 59%), attend college (63%; 56%); enjoy the outdoors (79%; 67%) and not to be too materialistic (45% each).
"While Millennial parents are craving traditional forms of togetherness, such as game nights or nightly dinner, they struggle to achieve these regularly due to demands on both parents and kids," says Shreffler. "They’re leveraging technology to fill the gaps, finding ways to feel connected even if they aren’t in the same room. They’re prioritizing micro moments of quality family time, realizing it’s not the quantity of minutes they spend together but rather the quality of the interactions."
The Cassandra team interviewed a representative sample of 1,000 U.S. and 1,000 UK Millennial parents aged 19 to 35 who have a child that is 17 years old or younger. Of the group interviewed, 60% considered themselves working parents while about 40% consider themselves stay-at-home parents.