The blog world, newspaper columns, magazine articles. . . folks giving advice to young moms on how to raise their kids. The advisers are usually young moms, too; there appears to be a dearth of tips from my generation. I’ve been pondering why that might be and here’s what I’ve concluded:
For one thing, we have the crystal ball already in hand. . . we know how ours turned out. They’re in education… medicine… military… ministry… business. They’re also in jail… therapy… closets… coffins… unemployment lines. And sometimes a family can have some from List A as well as from List B. Whether we gave it our our best efforts or not, some kids had problems and handled them, some kids had no problems, and some kids WERE problems.
We didn’t have the array of equipment that the industry now parades before young moms as “necessary.” We had a crib, of course, a swing, and oh yes, the playpen. When and why did they go into extinction? Set that sucker up wherever we needed it, plunk in the baby and a few toys, and we could walk and chew gum at the same time. We could go to the bathroom, talk on the phone. More children made it trickier, but the playpen still made the odds fairer.
Was there a memo about banning playpens that I missed? Did Dr. Phil say playpens may cause pent-up desires when they got older? Is that why we need to build more penitentiaries?
I love that young moms are bringing breast feeding back to its proper importance. Their attempt to give their little ones proper infant nutrition is not without great personal sacrifice. Look at the clothes out there…not exactly mom-friendly! Breast feeding leaves its mark. Can you say tube boobs? Welcome to the industrial-strength swimwear counter and the underwire bra section, Girlfriends.
Baby mamas, your mothers didn’t have to deal with an assortment of car seats. (We just hung yours on the back of the seat.) You have to read labels since the whole world seems intent on poisoning kids to save a few cents. And much of the time, you’re alone. Husbands travel, get transferred to another state (goodbye, extended family!) or your kids’ grandparents move out to some golf community condo in Arizona. That leaves you to find a sitter or nanny every time you need a breather. No wonder e-mail and Internet thrive. You get a chance to talk to someone over two feet tall.
Good luck, Little Mamas. Give yourself a break. . . find a playpen. And yes, sometimes you’ll feel like crawling in there yourself.
I think I can speak for my mistakes-were-made, accept-no-blame generation when I tell you: Those kids of ours up there on the B List? It was their grandparents’ fault!