Written by Elegant Personalized Baby Blankets Blog - August 19 2015
Do you ever long for the “good ole days” when life seemed simpler and more straightforward? Or do you thank your lucky stars you live in a high tech day of modern convenience? Perhaps a review of “then versus now” will cause you either to step back and re-evaluate the life you lead or cause you to breathe a sigh of gratitude that life isn’t as hard as it could be!
Transportation: In the 70s, our family car was singular, so generally unavailable while my father was at work. My mother tells of carting the three of us (all under age five) to the grocery store in a little red wagon, then pulling of wagonload of groceries, three little ones in tow back home. My eyes widen in amazement and I shake my head in wonder as I think about my shopping trips in an SUV with only my daughter along for the ride.
Diapers: The square cotton diapers held together with giant safety pins were the only affordable diapering option my mother knew. Imagine my amazement when I began researching cloth diaper options before my daughter’s birth in 2010 to discover the plethora of fashionable, convenient cloth diaper labels out there! Velcro or snap buttons, inserts or not – the variety of choices danced before my eyes. And frugality is no longer the main reason for cloth diapering; the environmentally-conscious intentionally chose cloth, too! I’m sure the environment was far from my mom’s mind as she washed and hung up square after square of cloth diapers on her backyard clothes line.
Advice: My mother eyes the stacks of parenting books, piles of parenting magazines and related websites in awe (and maybe a twinge of envy?), murmuring, “We just did the best we could back then. These resources were not available to us!” I can only imagine the loneliness, confusion, and frustration that may have consumed her at times. But then, when yet another argument on social media breaks out over sleep training, food choices, disciplining, or vaccines, I wonder if we don’t have too much of a good thing. Perhaps a little more privacy in parenting wouldn’t hurt us after all!
Safety: My siblings and I rode in the back of open pick-up trucks down country lanes. My youngest sister roamed the car freely during long road trips, passed from one set of arms to the next with her baby blanket. Now, my sister tells me that her eight-year-old must still be in a booster seat by law. Car seats have become legal necessities. Playgrounds now are unrecognizable to me. The tall skinny slides have been replace by wide, plastic chutes with taller-than-head-high guard rails. See-saws are non-existent, and monkey bars have been redesigned, as well. I remember riding bikes around my neighborhood ‘til dusk and going to the emergency room as a result of a flip gone wrong on the monkey bars. Such were the dues of hard, free play in my childhood. As a parent now, I admit I breathe easier watching my daughter play on a cushiony, mulched playground. I’m not sure I’ll let her peddle around our neighborhood without an armed guard!
Psychology: In the 70s, Spock and Dobson had just broken onto the scene. Parents started to be more attuned to their children’s emotional well-beings. In my home, I knew better than to disrespect, negotiate with, or disobey my parents. I knew I wasn’t the center of their universe; I had three other sibling with whom to share their time and attention. My parents were neither my peers nor my playmates. I felt secure and loved, but not doted upon. If my long-winded story showed no sign of drawing to a close, I was told “Stop talking and let someone else have a turn.” Now, as an only child, my daughter has our undivided attention most of the time. Large amounts of parental time and energy go into facilitating her comfort and well-being, including her ever present blankie. Conversations with other parent peers reflect similar concerns with their children.
Though time and culture dictate certain changes to us, many choices still remain for us as parents. Will you opt for greater freedom and take on the safety risks inherent in that choice? Or will you choose to be more protective, thankful for the technology and precautions in place in our society? Will you strive for a technology free, hands-off style of parenting? Or will you take advantage of the endless opportunities that our high-tech world offers? We have a smorgasbord of options available to us today. But chose carefully -- with great privilege comes great responsibility.