Being a parent is hard. Really, really hard. I am sure it has been this way for thousands of years. It takes a lot of work to keep a tiny human alive. Add in society’s pressure to be a perfect parent, you have a recipe for a lot of stress.
Mothers, young and old, know this to be true. What I find strange however, is that the older generation of mothers are the most judgmental of the bunch. They seem to have forgotten just how hard having kids can be.
“Well, back when my kids were little, we didn’t…”
Guess what Susan? Things are different now. We can’t parent the same way you used to. And I’ve met your offspring. I don’t think I will be taking my parenting advice from you.
Seeing as you haven’t been in the parenting game for the last 30 years, let me explain to you how things are different now. As much as I’d love to be the mom you were back in the 80s, things just don’t work the same as it did then.
Having grown up in the 80s and 90s, I see a huge difference in parenting techniques. That’s not to say my parents were doing it wrong and I have all the answers. No, things are just done differently now. There is more pressure to get it “right”.
If you are someone that tends to scoff at the younger generation of mothers, you might want to realize just how different things are now.
Did you make your kids go outside all day while you sat and talked on the phone with your girlfriends?
I remember going outside to play and not coming home until dinner. I was outside with the neighbor kids pretty much from sun up until sun down. If I dared go back in the house, my mom would shoo me right back out.
What was she doing? I really couldn’t tell you. I do recall her being on the phone a lot. This was before the internet and cell phones so she would sit by the phone attached to the wall and talk to her sisters all day.
Not that I think my mom was neglecting us or anything. She took care of our needs, cooked, cleaned, and ran the household. We just weren’t around to see it and she could get it all done without us under foot.
But guess what? These days we can’t send our kids out without the fear of CPS being called on us. Nosy people get so up in arms about kids being outside alone with no supervision, even if they are just playing in the own yards.
So, we either kick our kids out of the house to go play and worry about who’s going to call the cops on us or we have to keep them inside all day if we don’t have time to supervise their play time.
But then you judge us for keeping our kids inside all day. Damned if we do, damned if we don’t.
Did you leave your kid in the car while you went into the grocery store?
This was done all the time in the 80s and 90s. My mom would run to the store and say, “You girls stay in the car while I run in and shop.” And we would. As nice as that would be to do these days, I can’t even consider it.
That’s not allowed now. People will call the police if they see a kid in a car alone. Even if you are just going in to pay for gas and even if the kid is old enough to be sitting alone.
So if you see my unruly children in the grocery store and wonder why I don’t have better control over them, remember you used to be able to do your shopping alone while your kids were in the car.
Did you spank your kids when they were misbehaving?
Again, CPS would be coming for us if we tried that. Not that I would spank my kids anyway. There are better forms of punishment than smacking them.
I did get spanked as a kid and don’t feel like my parents took it too far. However, not every kid can say this. Beating your kid has long term consequences that I would rather not deal with.
But then you judge a mom because her kids don’t “respect her”. If by “respect” you mean “scared of” then, no they don’t.
Did you have a job outside of the home that your family depended on for its survival?
Most moms today HAVE to work. Most homes need 2 incomes to survive in today’s economy. Yet, most moms are still expected to carry the load of housework along with that demanding job. There is literally not enough time in the day to do it all. There just isn’t.
But then you want to brag about how you were always caught up on laundry and your house was spotless. Well, that’s because you had an extra 40 hour a week to work with there.
Did you have every “expert” on the internet telling you how you should be raising your child and how you’re doing it all wrong?
No, you did your best and you didn’t feel guilty because you couldn’t be a Pinterest worthy mom.
Let me tell you, the internet can be a wonderful resource for mothers. There are a lot of support groups where you can ask questions and get answers such as how to get your kid to sleep through the night.
I have found these resources invaluable as a mother. But you know what else you open yourself up to online? A lot of judgement and criticism. There is so much comparison going on, it’s enough to drive you to the loony bin.
I remember BEFORE my first baby was even born, I posted a picture of his crib bedding. I had many people messaging me about how you can’t have crib bumpers and OMG your baby can’t sleep like that. Chill, I know this.
That’s just one example. These days with social media, it seems like the Mommy Wars are in full force. Who can do it best? How much did you spend on McMaddysnlyn’s birthday party? Only $1000? You must not love your child. Sad face.
Just be glad you didn’t have to put up with this. Your Mommy Wars were probably confined to the monthly PTA meeting and not the whole world.
It’s A Different World Now
This isn’t the 1980s anymore. Things are different for moms now. You could send your little darlings out to play and then forget about them. You weren’t expected to entertain them all day long.
You didn’t have to worry about someone calling the cops on you because you left them alone in the car. You didn’t have the pressure to be the perfect mother AND work a full time job.
We are overwhelmed and over worked. We are trying our best. Your judgment isn’t helpful. You weren’t a perfect mother and your children weren’t perfect. You’re just forgetting how hard it really is.
So, the next time you feel like judging a young mother, try to put yourself in her shoes. Think of the challenges you faced when you had kids and then try to think of doing them with the pressure that society puts on us now.
We’re all just trying our best. We could do without your input.