Last week I found out that I’m anemic. Not a big deal, Easy to fix. I’m actually relieved because I was beginning to worry about my sluggishness and complete disinterest in my children and their needs. There’s been a lot of “Mommy’s just resting her eyes.” Sadly, discovering the cause of my complete lack of energy does not actually give me anything more than an excuse. So, while lying on the couch watching my littlest ones destroy the house, I started thinking about how parenting 30 years ago, even with anemia, would have been better for me. So here is my list, so far, of reasons I should have been a (middle-class, urban, North American) mom 30 years ago.
1. Snacks – Part A. Thirty years ago children didn’t have “snacks” that were held in traps. Thirty years ago children hardly had “snacks” at all. Snack Traps are special containers that have a flexible rubber lid with slits so that small children can stick their hands in and pull out a snack without spilling the itty bitty crap all over the stroller/car seat/ couch or whatever ridiculous place kids insist on eating. Unfortunately the flexible rubber lid with slits is annoying as all hell to most children so they either shake the container like maniacs spilling the snack everywhere or they ask you to remove the lid – usually while you are driving. (Don’t even get me started on “emergency” requests I get from my children while I am driving and the subsequent cry fest when I explain that I can’t actually address their request.)
3. Car seats. Remember when kids didn’t have car seats? I love safety. I really, really do. “Safety First!” I always say. BUT I do not like being responsible for my children’s safety. Children don’t care about being safe. They care about asserting their feelings and strength – usually when you are trying to get them into their car seats. Children who need to be put into any kind of restraint are freakishly strong. The only way to deal with this is to be freakishly stronger. I have wedged my knee between my kids’ legs and used my forearm to bend them into their seats. I am not proud of this. That’s not true. I am totally proud of this, because I win...which brings me to my next point…
4. Children’s Rights. I am all about the rights of the child. I really am. I am not joking here. That stuff’s for realz. BUT when I was a kid, adults were adults and kids were kids. My parents didn’t offer me choices, they gave me directions. I followed them or I didn’t follow them. If I didn’t follow them, there was hell to pay. I knew that going in, and I generally did what I had to do to avoid negative consequences. “Because I said so” was an acceptable reason and when I protested a parental decision, my mother would say, “The good Lord gave you parents for a reason! Until you can make good decisions, I’ll make them for you!” I have said these things to my children. The difference is, 30 years ago, I would not have received the same looks that I get today when people over hear me.
5. Parenting books/blogs/websites/social media. This topic requires an entire post. Let’s just say that if a parent is looking for a way to feel bad about themselves or question much of what they are doing as parents OR if they are looking for a whole lot of other parents who subscribe to their particular parenting approach, they just need to hop online. I realize that I am now writing about parenting on this blog, so I’m either contributing to the problem, or providing validity for others by sharing my particular brand of crazy! Thirty years ago, you chatted with your neighbours about parenting, not a whole bunch of people you’ve never laid eyes on.
Look, I’m happy to be parenting with all the conveniences and all the information about kiddos at my fingertips, but I’m pretty sure that things are more complicated than they need to be. I would have totally rocked parenting 30 years ago. I just know it. No snacks, no car seats, and no on-line parenting advice…think of all the time I’d have! Just sayin’!