Over the past few years we’ve seen some elaborate parenting trends, from over-the-top cake smash parties to the rise of the helicopter parent. But like most aspects of society, parenting trends and values are constantly evolving. 2019 seems to be the year of minimalism where “less is more”. This means less stress, less on the social calendar and a move towards simplicity.
Here are some of the emerging parenting trends for 2019:
Based on a steady increase in popular searches and categories on Pinterest, the company revealed that one of its top trends is minimal parties.
With many South Africans still feeling the financial pinch, there just isn’t room in the budget for elaborate get-togethers and celebrations. When it comes to baby showers, birth announcements, gender reveal parties, as well as kids’ birthday parties, the new mantra is “Less is more”. Couples are generally scaling down and focusing on quality, not quantity.
Instead of over-the-top centre pieces and expensive décor, money is being spent on good food and the right location. The focus has shifted to experiences rather than expensive props and items. For instance, 10 women might get together to spoil and pamper the mom-to-be at a luxurious spa, rather than spend thousands of Rands on an elaborate baby shower with 50 guests. And although gender reveal ‘moments’ are still popular on Instagram, families are keeping it small and simple with just a few friends and family members to share the moment.
While themed birthday parties for kids are still a thing, (think unicorn parties, Peppa Pig or Paw Patrol) it’s more about having fun rather than what the birthday table looks like. For instance, cooking or baking parties are gaining popularity as are good old fashion parties including games like musical chairs and pass the parcel. In fact, traditional scavenger hunt searches jumped by over 300% in 2018, according to Pinterest searches.
With ever-increasing to-do lists and more demands placed on young, growing families than ever before, studies show that moms are taking more time out for themselves to de-stress and regroup. In fact, according to a 2015 study by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, mothers need to have time out to improve their mental health. Even though many moms still feel guilty for doing so, research shows that there’s a rise in the number of women carving out time in their busy schedules for themselves.
Results from the study showed that when moms took time for themselves, they:
- 57% went shopping on their own
- 47% went out with their partner for a date night or morning
- 42% had a long bath or shower
- 37% went to the hairdresser
- 36% put their feet up and watched TV.
Falling fertility rates
According to a report by health and science correspondent for BBC News, James Gallagher, there’s been a massive decline in fertility rates and the number of children women are having across the globe. Gallagher based his report on a 2017 study in Lancet which followed trends in every country from 1950 to 2017. Results showed that:
- In 1950, women were having an average of 4.7 children in their lifetime. The fertility rate all but halved to 2.4 children per woman by last year.
- But there are huge variations between nations, says Gallagher. The fertility rate in Niger, West Africa, is 7.1, but in the Mediterranean island of Cyprus women are having one child, on average. In the UK, the rate is 1.7, like most Western European countries.
Why is the fertility rate declining?
Gallagher believes it’s not necessarily due to infertility issues. Instead it’s being put down to:
- Fewer deaths in childhood meaning women have fewer babies
- Greater access to contraception
- More women in education and work
A recent Pew Research Center Report revealed that there’s a sharp increase in the number of unmarried couples living together and raising their children as a unit. Although the number of people getting hitched is plummeting, many South Africans are choosing to co-parent whether they’re married or not, because it relieves the financial strain of single parenting.
“Fed up” parenting
The ‘partnered parenting’ trend goes hand-in-hand with yet another parenting trend that’s become more prominent recently – “fed up” parenting. Author and journalist Gemma Hartley predicted this trend in her book Fed Up. Emotional Labor. Women, And The Way Forward where she explains the many burdens women have to carry nowadays, with the resounding truth being that women are simply fed up.
From the mental load required to run a home and take care of the kids, to the pressure to perform at work, women today are facing pressures from all sides. With this, comes the need to have more discussions about the roles and responsibilities of each partner in the home. Hartley believes that parents need to be open and honest about expectations and this “invisible division of labour”.