I had my kids back in the dark ages (1993). I’m both jealous of the modern mom’s life and nostalgic for the past.
Every time I see a modern stroller I want one. Seriously, the strollers of the ‘90s were terrible. An expensive stroller cost $65 and they were made of 95% cheap puffy quilted pastel blue fabric and 5% plastic wheels that dug into dirt. They rarely went straight, the wheels didn’t pivot(!). Each turn involved lifting the handle and spinning the entire stroller. They did not have cup holders, cell phone pockets or rain shields.
Maybe you wait at ballet or soccer practice. Believe me when I say, you have NO IDEA what waiting was like in 1993. We did not have cell phones. Waiting to hear if you can get an “appointment for a sick child today” as my pediatrician puts it, meant being in the house waiting. Repairmen, the bank, your husband, you name it if you were waiting for a call you had to be within hearing distance of the phone. Oh, and the phone was attached to the wall. An entire 8 hour day would have to be coordinated around waiting for that phone to ring.
I’m not sure when Al Gore invented the internet but I do know my kids were in jr high before Mark Zuckerberg brought us facebook. With no internet we had no facebook, email or pinterest. We didn’t have laptops either so no solitaire, Spider or otherwise. The daily snail mail delivery was a highlight so it probably isn’t so surprising that we knew our mailman’s name.
What did we do all day? As you know, motherhood is a test to see how long you can survive boredom. We walked a lot. My neighbor, Patience and I walked with our subpar strollers every morning at 8am. Rain, shine or below freezing. And again just before the dads came home. We had playgroups. If playgroup means play with the kids on your street while the moms drink tea.
My Bible study group was a lifesaver. Every week I knew I would get 3 hours of free childcare, coffee and time to talk to a group of women. For the next 11 years that Wednesday was a sacred time that no child dare ruin with sickness. I realize now it was like the online forums of today where you meet people and discuss issues only we were actually inside the same room and not a chat room.
Moms had a lot of time to plan and execute the 90’s version of nutritious meals. We didn’t know about kale chips, flaxseed and edamame. But we did bake a lot of bread and make sure our husbands left for work each morning with a great lunch including home baked desserts.
We read a ton of books, children’s and otherwise. Our town children’s librarian knew to expect us several times a week. We did a lot of crafts. Mostly at my house where my oldest had an insatiable appetite for crafting while her daughter was always packing a bag for some imagined adventure.
We had a great communication system in our neighborhood. If your door was open then your house was open, the kids were awake and ready to play. If it was closed then it was naptime or something was going on.
There was so much more. The best thing about those days may have been that we shared our lives with our neighbors. We had so much time and no electronic distractions. We knew each other’s children well. Just today Patience called (we have both moved to new houses but still live in the same teeny New England town) and shared news of her oldest. We laughed and remembered her daughter at 4 years old doing just the same things, making plans and dreaming big dreams, going on adventures.
Just like you young moms of today, my van smelled like mold. Some days a fig newton and milk in the car seat had to be lunch. Some mornings I lost my Schmidt by 9am. Sometimes we only survived the day by turning on the shower until the tantrum was over (I did the same for the kids on their bad days as well.) In the midst of the Blur and in reality it wasn’t as tranquil and idyllic as it sounds looking back. But I wouldn’t have changed it for the most deluxe Vista stroller on the market.