The introduction of “modern” living, beyond its roots in cultural happenings, is something of a mystery. It appears to be a catchall, a suggestive term, for a lifestyle, a philosophy of living, that is perfectly matched to the times. It’s about technologies disrupting life and building it anew; or living smartly within new freedoms; perhaps it’s a question of identity against a backdrop of change. How does someone become modern? And what is a modern parent? More precisely, what does it mean financially?
Nowadays being ‘modern’ is equivalent to a certain type of attitude, or a kind of present-mindedness. But it also has nuance: modern can refer to fashion, like a style, an aesthetic, or a way of looking at things. It can also occupy us as an outlook, or a way of thinking. Perhaps, then, the concept of modern is best understood, through its leaner definition, as a matter of perspective, an otherwise clever gateway into the present times.
Although nothing new, the idea of being modern has subtly, if playfully, become infused into all nature of things. Some critics have written at length about the newish freedoms that are emerging, such as its infectious sense of optimism, or economic opportunity. Others, meanwhile, have embraced the term in more casual settings, appearing online in think-pieces about parenting, as a response to the new demands placed on mothers and fathers alike.
As a widespread, if popular, model of parenting – defined by intensive parental supervision – recent studies via the likes of the New York Times have discovered that, in surveying a consensus, many consider this the best way to rear their children. Yet, it’s often a case that the resources can seem unobtainable. The New York Times details an “economic anxiety” as a motivator behind the rise of modern parenting, which signals at a new kind of financial philosophy emerging.
Childhood has long been a period of careful cultivation. And parenthood is a labour of love. As an emotionally-gripping, hands-on model of child-care, modern parenting is a difficult job. With a shrunken birth-rate in the UK, and annual spend on a single child (against education and general child-care) soaring, the financial worry of parenting has nevermore been present. Likewise, the absent, if conflicted, aid for working parents has been a recent source of conversation, especially in virtual spaces, the likes of blogs or social media. The other concerns – the values we instil into children, the role of technology – are still relevant, if secondary focuses to the modern parent. But the most daunting, if testing, pressure is the financial fright of childcare, experts suggest.
The worry over economic pain, the possibility for exhausting our financial resources, applies to most households. Traditionally, budgets against childcare are spent either on routines, such as basic nutrition, or sewing prospects, like education or extra-circular opportunities. Of course, for a parent, their resources are not merely financial means, but also emotional ones. Parenting in a way that satisfies this model of modern childcare means being more aware of yourself as your child’s greatest asset. Protecting yourself financially, against economic uncertainty, is near-essential in modern parenthood and is a cornerstone to safe-guarding your family.
Part One: Emotional Resources
Modern, or even parenthood, in the parlance of the web, likely resists any single definition. Rather, a competition of definitions, ever-emerging, are battling out the focus of the modern parent. It’s a rhythm as swift, as changeable, and possibly sporadic, as the news headlines.
EIQ, the handle for emotional intelligence, is something to be desired. Yet, airy and nebulous, could the idea of emotional smarts be sharpened into a resource?
In other spaces, the power of emotional intelligence, like some invisible energy, seems to take hold of parents wanting to instil the good virtues of inner strength on their growing children. Whilst an important project in the nurturing of your child, emotional intelligence is a mutual ground of discovery for you both – to learn, grow, and to become better versions of your roles. Psychology Today, on the “emotional landscape”, shares a vision for parenthood that embraces the everyday missteps and moves toward self-growth: that emotional strength is about resilience and pliability. It confirms the dated metaphor, a compass, inasmuch as being this kind of casual instrument to point us in a better direction.
If EIQ is strength, and is navigational, and our emotional wellbeing is something to continually flex else if atrophies like any other muscle, then perhaps it could be matured into our financial thinking. It would seem, where mental health is on the rise, that something like our emotional wellbeing, equal parts crucial to our inner circuitry, that emotional understandings can shine onto the wider mappings of our financial plans.
Part Two: Finances
Oftentimes EIQ, casually spun as a buzzword, appears on recruitment profiles. Why? Because a there’s a small belief, which itself is growing, that emotional smarts stacks up into the bigger business productivity of a workforce. Michael Page, a recruiter firm, for example, focusses on financial roles that benefit from this kind of thinking, drawing connections, somewhat implicitly, between EIQ and the demands of smart, savvy financial planning.
If, then, the modern workforce of Britain can delight in an outlook that negotiates emotions into its business, why shouldn’t we do the same at home? That is, why shouldn’t home thrive on this dynamic between emotional awareness and firm financial planning? While parenthood isn’t the same as business, it can benefit from similar emotional skills.
There is no easy fix to navigating the anxieties in modern parenthood. Nor can the noisy world around it be muted. How to build a safer, more reassuring, financial philosophy against the pains of modern parenting is, perhaps, more achievable if only to recognise your resources as something worthy of protecting. Perhaps not a remedy entirely, but certainly this approach of caring for our parents, their wellbeing, as well as their children’s, is a step in the right direction.
The parent, itself an essential role, is the asset in the everyday, modern family.
The Modern Parent
Modern parenting is a title in the wider chronicling of mothers and fathers facing new, bubbling anxieties, as much as it speaks to the delights of rearing children in our contemporary moment. It’s column inches sprinting in a marathon of advice for parents. Stylings of parental types, the belief systems that rear our children, are vast and frequently debated. These can detail intense, if safe, fantasies that answer to a shared desire to bring up our children admirably.
Katie Roiphe, writing in The Financial Times, captures the imaginary modern parent, which nobly, if forgivably, portrays parenthood through amusing stories. As if comedy, the awkward chuckle, is that needed relief for mums and dads.
Everyone parents differently.