10 Lessons Helicopter Moms Should Take From '70s Parents
by Lisa Fogarty
There's no way this helicopter parenting trend can last. As the mom of a toddler with another on the way, it's been only two years and I'm already exhausted trying to plan my child's daily social and academic activities while also working and, you know, attempting to lead my own life once in a while, too.
So I propose we all just give up. No, I'm not suggesting we abandon our kids and hop a plane to the Caribbean, though that would be nice. I'm inviting you to join me on a little trek back to the 1970s when parenting was, comparatively, a piece of cake and -- though I have no scientific proof to back this up and just memories of my own mom -- I am pretty sure women were a lot less stressed out. Here are 10 reasons why the emergence of a 1970s parenting trend would be so very refreshing.
1. You didn't rush your child to the doctor or hospital because of a sniffle. You took minor and even some major health matters into your own hands, and as a result, your child didn't grow up believing he or she had to stay knocked down after every minor blow. When I swallowed a penny, there was no trip to the ER. My mom just waited for it to come out the other side. And life went on.
2. Your first thought after your child fell on the neighbor's slightly cracked front sidewalk wasn't to call a lawyer and sue him for big bucks. You patched up the injury and moved on, thus teaching your child not to pass the buck on everything. You might have even said something to him like, "Next time look where you're going." Valuable advice.
3. You attended yoga or exercise classes when it was convenient for you. This one probably applies to moms in the early '80s who, in my memories, wore legwarmers everywhere. Without giving it a second thought, my mom dropped me off at her gym's babysitting service with a bag of Cheerios. She never questioned why the room contained three toys, two of which were always broken.
4. Only a select group of kids got trophies for showing superior skill in a sport. As a result, I didn't grow up believing I could do anything I put my mind to -- because that's a BS belief and, no, I can't. I simply can't make it to the Olympics as a figure skater, no matter how hard I practice. And knowing that didn't break me. It allowed me to discover my actual talents.
5. Kids were left alone. A lot. I don't think I saw my parents on Saturday morning until at least noon. I was too busy watching cartoons and creating imaginary worlds where I was a superhero who could fly off the couch. Then, when my parents were busy entertaining friends in the evening, I was busy writing stories about my superheroes. Being alone taught me that I am okay alone and can be my own cruise director, thank you very much.
6. You could formula feed or breastfeed and no one felt they had to comment on your choice. You weren't a better parent because you nursed and you weren't bombarded with constant messages about how you were harming your child if you gave him or her formula. You just fed your child to the best of your ability and that was good enough.
7. You didn't have to track where they were going on their phones. Obviously, kids didn't have cellphones back then. But the point is this: kids are going to find a way to lie to you no matter how stellar the technology. Why do we have to stress ourselves even more by trying to track their every move?
8. On occasion, other people would try and discipline your kids. And you'd let them. As a child, I was constantly told by teachers, neighbors, aunts, my mom's friends, and even little old ladies down the block when I was being a jerk. Instead of yelling at them for scolding me, my parents nodded their head and said, "Yup, listen to what ___ has to say to you."
9. When my mom and I went to the grocery store, she stuck me in the grocery cart and that was that. These days, there are toys for kids everywhere you go. I have to battle with my daughter over why I'm not going to put her in this stupid car that attaches to the grocery cart and takes up 50 percent more of the aisle. Why do kids have to be entertained everywhere they go now?
10. I don't remember parents bringing anything with them on trips with kids. With the exception of a drink box or two, we had NOTHING. These days, I have a holy fit if I discover I've left the house for a six-block walk without sunscreen, bug spray, extra juice, two snacks, a stroller cover, paper towels, a toy or three, and rain boots.
Seriously, it's time to end the madness.
Would you prefer being a parent in the '70s?