Upon giving birth, my usual list of worries was replaced by a list of grave fears. What was once no big deal suddenly became a huge deal. Like, what if I forget to clean the dryer vent and it starts a fire while we are napping or what if we run out of Organic Baby Shampoo and I am forced to rub my child’s pristine scalp with carcinogens? I often wonder what my daughter will worry about if she has children and think about what my own Mom worried about when we were little. With social media breathing down our necks every second and a sanctimommy lurking around every corner just waiting to judge, motherhood has become something that you MUST excel at, no matter the circumstance. My Mom recently told me that when I was little, kids just played. That’s just what we did. We went outside with our bikes and our friends and came back at lunch or dinner. Parents were not checking in with other parents to make sure they only served organic carrots at a play date. Hell, we were eating raw hot dogs at everyone’s houses all of the time and that was OK! Do we “over-parent” kids now or are times now different with more things to worry about? Let’s take a look at some of the differences.
Packed inside of my Holly Hobby lunch box, (most likely made from a toxic heavy metal) I would find a relatively “healthy” lunch each day consisting of a PB&J sandwich (made with two heels of the bread loaf but with the crust turned in so the outside didn’t look like a heel sandwich) wrapped in plastic wrap, an apple and some carrots (the only available fruit and veggie in the 80s). Rarely, and if I was lucky, there might be some sort of treat included like a Fruit Roll-Up or granola bar. I had a thermos (likely made with asbestos) that was occasionally filled with lukewarm soup. Once in a while I bought lunch at school which meant a greasy, delicious slice of pizza and chocolate milk, all for $1.
At our school, lunches now have to be all organic and preferably GMO free – school rule. I knowingly signed up for this but it has slowly started taking over my life. I am a label reading expert and even scan my grocery items with the Healthy Living app so I can determine how quickly I will kill my family. There is a never ending quest to avoid nuts, high fructose corn syrup, any corn or soy product since they are likely filled with GMO’s and no one needs that! Lunch has to be packed in reusable containers with a cloth napkin and reusable utensils. It’s all good, we got you earth, we got you. My biggest concern is that I don’t want my daughter to have double D’s by the time she is 8, so off to Whole Foods we go to buy raw, locally sourced, unpasteurized goat’s milk. Plus, rumor has it that in kindergarten you can buy a locally sourced and 100% organic lunch for just $20 a day! #Blessed.
My car seat looked like this, except it was a burgundy color. Nothing actually strapped you in or held you securely in place. In fact, I don’t know how my Mom ever got me to stay in it given that at the age of 3, I was able to unsnap the strap between my legs (which also served as the only way to secure the bar in the “down” position) and lift up the bar myself anytime I wanted to freely roam around the car. The car seat was hooked into the car with two metal pieces that went into the seat crack so each time we would slow down, the car seat would rock forward and back. My Mom was once pulled over on the Massachusetts Turnpike for speeding in her 1973 Firebird. The officer gave her a warning to slow down and as an afterthought, mentioned that I should be in my car seat (since I was laying in the rear window at the time of the stop).
The car seat my daughter uses may as well be NASA approved and safe enough to take on a rocket ride to the moon. Once strapped in, there is no getting out. Not only is there a 5-point harness system, it’s seat belted in and tightened to the point that it won’t budge under any circumstance. Installation takes an hour and it’s required that you completely read the manual in order to vaguely understand what the hell you are doing. Wearing work out clothes is highly recommended since you will work up a decent sweat putting it in. The seats weigh about 25lbs, are enormous in size and awkward as f*ck to maneuver. As difficult as it is, I suggest you install it alone (unless you are looking to get a divorce) since a massive argument is guaranteed if you attempt this with a partner. Plus, two adults and a car seat won’t fit into the backseat of any car in existence. In addition to all of this BS, there is an expiration date on the car seat, so it will expire before she outgrows it since she will be in one until she is old enough to drive the car herself anyway.
Today, there are four thousand kid channels to choose from and a bazillion mind-numbing shows available. So, while I try to navigate which unicorn show is ok to watch and which one will have my daughter dancing on a pole at 15, I am also worried because according to our pediatrician, she shouldn’t be watching TV at all. What nobody understands though is that I need a break for 23 minutes to go to the bathroom, scarf down a snack, empty the dishwasher, brush my teeth, squeeze in a shower and worry about the following: Is the iPad too close to my kid? Am I radiating her into oblivion? Should I not download anything around her? Should I stop using Wi-Fi? AM I GIVING MY KID CANCER????
With all of this being said, every Mom out there is doing her best whether you were a Mom in the 70’s or are a Mom now. Motherhood means that you have things to worry about, it’s just part of the job. We all worry about the same basic things even though times are different. My Mom just wanted us to be happy and have friends at school. She worried if we were sad and wanted us to feel safe and loved. These are the most important things anyway. Oh and BTW, love is organic and GMO free.