It’s been a while since I posted, Are Modern Moms Wimpier Than Our Grandma’s Were? In the time since, its been a topic I’ve brought up with fellow moms and when I can ambush a matronly woman three times my age I ask her this question too. Recently I got a response from ‘Grandma Peggy’, that summed up to this, ‘we didn’t have all the roles you moms do now’.
Grandma Peggy expressed with pity how she thinks moms these days have it tough. Grandma’s job was to run a household from basic ingredients, kindling and water toted from the creek. New moms have enough modern luxuries to relieve us of the heavy lifting. This free time, however, has to be filled with something. And this something comes along with the very North American parenting style where our kids should be learning the alphabet, colours and empathetic listening along with their first taste of solid foods.
It is unlikely our own parents’ childhoods were filled with sensory bins, being taxied to play dates, elaborate themed birthday parties and seasonal craft projects. Not that there is anything wrong with doing these things.
It is more likely they remember banging pots and pans on the kitchen floor while their mom made yet another meal. Getting a teaspoon of bourbon to help with their teething. Or playing alone with their older sibling while mom was chain smoking at the table with the neighbour. Maybe they were caring for a younger sibling while mom put the baby down for a nap, or…..ran to the store. Or even taking off into the neighbourhood and coming home when the street lights came on.
Not that I am advocating any of these things (unless the bourbon is for the parents of the teething child). I think as modern moms learn how to navigate the new space we can parent in, we are letting the scale really slide to an all-consuming side of motherhood that can be overwhelming and maybe a bit unnecessary. But we all are finding our own way.
‘You moms have to be with your kids all the time; you have to be watching them, playing with them, teaching them all the time. If you don’t, you are considered a bad mom’ Grandma Peggy went on to describe her parenting as less supervisory. How could she keep track of all her kids when there were so many chores to get done? Everyone was given responsibilities, everyone found a role and life kept rolling on.
So here I am wondering how much I over-think things. Yes I am over-thinking my over-thinking, it’s when I do my best freaking out about crap I don’t need to freak out about. How can I fashion these pipe cleaners into teachable, interactive, entertaining project for my kids? That’s a lot of pressure for pipe cleaners.
What do you think about the expectation on mothers in this day? Do you think we could be a little less hands on, or is that the way of parenting now?
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