Monday, January 24, 2011

Happy Family is the new status symbol

My old colleagues at United Minds in Sweden has spotted a "housewife trend", where Gen Y are having children at younger age than previous generations, stopping and turning the trend where people were getting married and becoming parents at older and older age. 'Family' is the new signal of success.

Mats Lindgren at Kairos Future tells Swedish media that high status in Sweden is to have 4 kids, excellent careers, a beautiful garden and domestic bliss overall. To be perfect in ALL areas.

My former boss, the brilliant Marie Söderqvist Tralau from United Minds, says this housewife nostalgica trend can be exhausting - but that is why it has such high status. If you are able to juggle it all, you show the world you are ''über human" - hence better than others. She means this is why the big families in Sweden still resist paying for a nanny, since that would be cheating. YOU are getting judged on what YOU do. At least accepting help or paying for services is something you keep a secret. 

I believe this "housewife on steroids" trend may be stronger in Sweden, where women are more equal and being just a housewife - i.e. skipping the career part - would be seen as odd. But it is interesting that status today is not about job titles, money or having a hot body, nice car or to cook lovely dinners. It is all of the above - with focus on Family!

We often talk about how Gen Y are obsessed about friends, but this is a generation that rather spend time with their partner than their friends. Young people were also asked to rate what activities they would most like to immerse themselves in. From that, 35% of 18-24 year olds rated in a Synnovate survey spending time with their boyfriend/girlfriend as top interest, followed by meeting friends in person (32%).

Gen Y have been brought up in a world where families break apart, where mums and dads get a divorce and where you can have 3 dads and 1 mum and they could all act like they were the ones sitting at the kids table, while the calmer and more responsible Gen Y´s save up to get a mortgage and some order. It´s natural that we see a generation found of getting married. Happily married.

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