Because of the businesses that I own, I find myself surrounded by Moms that are almost half my age. They’ve got babies and toddlers and I’ve got a girl that’s about to get her driver’s license. They “practice” things that I’ve never even heard of until speaking with them. They go to support groups and play places, they tweet and facebook and virtually support each other. Their Mom journey’s are totally different from mine. Totally.
This was all reinforced a few weeks ago when a huge debate broke out on a friends Facebook page. It was fueled by the ever volatile subject of breastfeeding and it’s ability to rile up the emotions of Mama’s everywhere. I’m not even going to touch on that subject but on something else that I noticed in the conversation. There was lots of talk about trusting your doctor as opposed to someone specifically trained in a field. There was mention of seeking out help online or doing more personal research. It quickly became apparent to me that many of the argumentative points were based on differences in where “we” come from. It was definitely an Old Mom vs New Mom situation, with neither person really being wrong, just coming from completely different places.
It started me thinking about how things have changed in the past 16 years, and I thought I would share some of these differences with you. As I write them all down, I really am amazed at how much has changed and can only imagine what our grandmothers are thinking when they watch us with our babies.
Everything you’re about to read is based on MY experiences, not my Mother’s. My youngest is just about to turn 12 … I have not been a Mom for all that long, but the differences are pretty surprising.
Google. Yep, we didn’t have it. We weren’t able to just jump on the internet, search out a topic and get some answers. We had to ask our parents and grandparents, friends and doctors. Truth be told, we didn’t even have the internet at all. I distinctly remember moving into my new house with my 3 and a half year old daughter and being incredibly excited about getting dial-up internet installed. I used to love the little fuzzy beep and crackle sounds that it made as it connected. You wouldn’t stay online for very long because it took forever and a day for a page to even load, and if you wanted to also use the telephone, you couldn’t. It was more of a novelty for fun as opposed to the real help that it is today.
Specialists. You’d probably be surprised to know that lots of us didn’t even have OBGYN’s. When you got pregnant, you went to your normal doctor. When you went into labour, you went to the hospital. Depending on where you lived, you might have had to drive 3 hours to even see a doctor. Specialists definitely existed, but they were few and far between. We just couldn’t pick up the phone and call a clinic somewhere for help. Even if those clinics were actually out there, their phone numbers most certainly weren’t advertised.
Every Good Mom had these items in their diaper bags. These were our go-to products, and pretty much our only options.
Support Mommy Groups. Nope, didn’t have those either. They may have existed, but they most certainly weren’t talked about or recommended by anyone. I wouldn’t even have known where to begin looking for one. Now they’re everywhere and they’re awesome. Our play “places” were found in McDonalds or Ikea. Moms weren’t encouraged to take their babies with them anywhere, and most certainly not to a coffeehouse.
Lactation Consultants. I got help in the hospital. It consisted of a nurse coming into my room, grabbing my boob and the back of my babies head and shoving them together. There latched, now go on home. There was LaLeche league but as far as I knew, they were all about 100 years old and they didn’t seem all that relevant to me. Yes, I was misinformed.
Co-Sleeping. Elimination Communication. Babywearing. Circumcision. Breastfeeding. All topics that were never really even talked about. If you had a boy, you got him circumsized. That was that. We all tried breastfeeding and if it was going well, you kept at it. If it wasn’t, you switched to formula. No big deal at all. Babywearing was a Snugli that you got at your baby shower but it was so obviously uncomfortable for your baby, that you didn’t wear it for more than 11 minutes. Co-Sleeping consisted of a bassinette within arms reach of your bed. Elimination Communication. Say what??
You’ll notice that the baby swing has a hand-crank, perfect for startling your baby from a deep sleep. The chicken wire baby gate that was supposed to stop your babe from riding their walker down to the basement. Yet another fabulous invention.
The lovely bathtub ring that was actually triple the width of your slippery child, and not at all dangerous. Please notice that the Jolly Jumper required you to tie and snap your baby into it and then clamp them to a door frame for fun. Our car seats were basically plastic buckets with a strap to hold our babies in them.
Organic Food, Allergies & No-No’s. The only “organic” things we had, you bought at the farmers market or you had to search high and low to find. Peanut Butter sandwiches were all my kids had in their lunches until a few years ago. You fed your baby rice cereal within weeks of coming home from the hospital. Babies slept on their tummies and we all had bumper pads in our cribs. Gripe water & Tylenol were the first answer for most ailments, and slipping a little bit of brandy into a bottle wasn’t unheard of. It also was still okay to drink a glass of wine everyday while pregnant.
Surprisingly, we got through it all without really knowing much. We’ve raised amazing kids that somehow survived the now banned products that we strapped them into daily. They’re alive, well-developed and well-adjusted. We trusted our gut feelings more than anything else. We were young moms doing the best that we knew how to do with very little outside information. Common Sense truly was our guide, and for that I’m grateful.
I challenge you all as Moms to really listen to the other Mom’s around you without judgement or disrespect. You may just hear something that will change your life. Or make you laugh. Or make you cry. Or make you feel not quite so alone. Just listen and learn from each other. Us Oldies have a lot to teach and share. Be patient with us as we “catch-up” and remember that we have been exactly where you are, we just did things differently. We are Moms, not Opponents. Never forget that.