#MillennialMoms in SM take on motherhood in the new age

Quennie Cua (center) with kids Kaitlyn (11), husband Patrick, Josh (13), and Nigel (9)

In this generation, there is a new breed of moms emerging—the so-called “millennial moms” or “moms of millennials” that have taken on motherhood in this exciting age of digital disruption. They are moms who have taken the lessons of the previous generations and have fully or partially welcomed and adapted to the dramatic changes of the new era.

Wikipedia aptly defines millennials or Gen Y as those born in the early 1980s and the mid-1990s to the early 2000s. They are known to be frequent and heavy users of communications, media, and digital technology.

Quennielyn Cua, 40, Vice President for Marketing at SM Retail and a mother of three kids, some of whom are millennials themselves at 11 and 13 years old, finds herself on the borderline of the millennial generation, identifying with some of their traits.

“I find myself half-classified as a millennial mom and half-not. I classify with being shaped by technology, always finding creative ways to engage with people, and bonding through shared experiences,” Cua said.

Cua said that one of the biggest challenges in raising a millennial is how to get better, quality connections with the younger generation in the age of 24/7 connectedness. “We are all connected somehow but not necessarily with each other. That’s the irony,” Cua quipped.

At THE SM STORE where she works, millennial customers are known to be heavily reliant on social media influencers, following what they see others are doing or wearing. Since they are born on the cusp of an economic crunch in the 1980s, millennials tend to be value seekers who would research extensively, given that access to technology is right at their fingertips, and would tend to seek feedback or compare prices to get the best bang for their buck, Cua observed.

To cater to this market, SM STORE has intensified its use of online or social media promotions and has tapped social media influencers to showcase its offerings. With the SM STORE introducing the eCommerce concept a few years back, it is integrating its estore into its digital content sites.

Eva Tanglao with her son Pablo

Eva Tanglao, 41, SM Supermalls Group Marketing Manager for the South 1 Region, is a mom to a millennial, Pablo, 17. She observed that restlessness is a common trait of millennials which she has seen Pablo display on occasion. “The good side of that is you aspire and seek for more. The bad side is, well, they are bothered. They see the world as a huge playground and they always want to do more things sometimes even rushing into it and not understanding that they should respect the process behind it.” Tanglao said.

As a borderline millennial-Gen Xer, Tanglao said that “millennial moms” are witnesses to how everything has evolved. They were there when getting lyrics of songs meant going through cassette tapes, listening to your Walkmans, and tediously writing down words as you hear them or scouring through volumes of encyclopedias to get information. These same moms have evolved through the times and are now well connected to the world wide web and various social media. This meant moms of that age experienced the transition from how life was inconvenient before and how easy it is now.

On the flip side, being born in a time when information is at your fingertips in the era of Google and Wikis has its disadvantages as there is a tendency for millennials to take things for granted. “They don’t work hard enough to get things. Things that are more difficult to obtain are the ones we value most,” she observed.

Just from her observation in the malls where she works, Tanglao said that millennials put a premium on imagery, experience, and that “value-added factor” when they visit any establishment.

“Millennials are all about the experience. The game is no longer just about retail but about the experience you get. They need more than just a coffee shop. They want a place where they can take selfies and post on Instagram, checking every minute for likes. There always has to be that “value-added factor”. SM is keenly looking at this market. An example is the evolving tenant mix, international brands coming in and mounting activations and launching events that are experiential to cater to this market,” Tanglao said.

One of her biggest challenges as a mom is keeping that balance between being a mom versus being a ‘barkada’ to her son.

Rachel Anne Mallari with her daughter Rien

Rachel Anne Mallari, 29, an interior designer and owner of several units of SM Development Corporation projects also relates to this with her 10-year-old daughter Rien. “As a mom, hindi ako masyadong mahigpit sa anak ko. (I’m not very strict with my daughter). I supported her when she wanted to take up ballet lessons, or badminton, or soccer. She really knows what she wants. When I was growing up, it was different. You weren’t allowed to be so inquisitive or to do whatever you wanted,” she said.

Despite being open-minded, Mallari said she values and prioritizes safety and security for her family. “I’d like to think I’m a millennial mom who also sets limitations. I don’t allow sleepovers yet and I still make it a habit to bring her to school,” Mallari added.

Safety and security were also the primary concerns when she looked for a new home for her family. This helped her decide to buy a unit at Sea Residences and several other units of SMDC projects such as in Shell Residences which are near the Mall of Asia (MOA) Complex, a favorite hangout for her family during weekends. Living within the MOA Complex was a big improvement from the daily commute she experiences in Caloocan where she first resided. “The location is strategic and it is accessible to the mall and offices in the Makati area. Security is 24 hours which is very important to me,” Mallari said.

With modern designs, five-star amenities, and hotel-like lobbies at affordable rates, SMDC projects have appealed to young professionals like Mallari.

With great comfort and accessibility to a lot of things, millennials are quite fortunate in this day and age that life has been made more convenient by technology and innovation. And “moms of millennials” or “millennial moms” like Quennie, Eva, and Rachel know that in these fast-paced and evolving times, they, along with their children, have still so much to learn.