10 reasons parenting was so much easier in the 80s
1. You didn’t have to worry about car seats
Yes, I know that they are very important and save lives and that is immeasurable, but just imagine a time when they didn’t exist and you didn’t have to spend 15 minutes strapping everyone into their respective seats.
You wouldn’t have to lay awake googling when does my child change to a front facing seat. Nor would you obsessively weigh/ measure them to see if they are using the appropriate seats or grapple a winter coat off a freezing and shocked child. I grew up in a time where the only restriction was the front seat which was allowed on the most precious of occasions (when there were 8 kids squeezed in the back on each other’s knees) and my Mam would say “don’t let the police see you.” I’m sure the police would have been more concerned with the asphyxiation and blood circulation cut-offs occurring in the back;
I was lucky as no one ever wanted me on their knee as my bum was too bony... not an issue I contend with today, unfortunately.
2. Dinners were simpler
Meat and veg, day after day (apart from the occasional Summer salad). I would be oblivious to 5 a day, antioxidants and superfoods. I could also put any oul shite in their lunch box without fear of copious passive aggressive notes home.
3. You could throw the kids out on the street
And let them play till dark without fear of abduction. We used to spend the Summer as if we were extras in the Goonies, exploring building sites on our bikes and visiting the industrial school in Artane, to see could we see the specter of the blue boy. We would knock into each other's house without *gasp* any pre-arranged playdates. I now spend my Summer standing at the front door shouting look when you cross the road and no climbing. I’m stressed because the house is falling to rack and ruin but I’m convinced that if I take my eye off my little men that they’ll be snatched by the boogeyman.
4. TV watching was a family affair
How I miss the Saturday night TV from my childhood; Noel’s House Party, all the Paul Daniels/ Michael Barrymore game shows. I can’t imagine these things holding my kid's attention like they did mine, although they have dodged the Late Late bullet.
5. You knew what your kids were exposed to
It is extremely difficult to police what kids today are watching. My 8-year-old has figured out how to remove the kid settings from his Netflix profile and informed me that he watched Friday the 13th on his tablet while he stayed in my parents. I dread to think what’s to come as they get older. I can’t keep Grand Theft Auto at bay forever. In the '80s, the most salacious thing I could get my hands on was a copy of Just Seventeen or my Mam’s Jilly Cooper books (actually the latter would probably do more damage to a pre-teen's mind than Jason Voorhees could ).
6. No social media distractions
I find myself procrastinating dinner, parenting, cleaning, sleeping, sex etc in favour of an android screen and I imagine that without this technology I would exceed in all of the above. Although, in reality, I’d probably sit on that little hall table thingy for hours on the phone.. that or watch a lot of Dallas/ Dynasty.
7. We weren't all hypochondriacs
We may be less likely to rush our kids or ourselves to the doctor if we didn’t have google to diagnose a cold as TB. We'd probably suffer from fewer sniffles also as we wouldn’t be compelled to go mad the with antibacterial wipes/ gels/ sprays etc.
8. We didn’t judge each other as mothers
At least I don’t think we did. Our mothers didn’t have as much pressure to raise outstanding, well-adjusted citizens... the bar was lower. Times were simpler and we were left to our own devices a lot to get on with the business of being kids. My mother certainly didn’t do craft or baking stuff with me (way too messy for Liz) and I’m not likely to pick off strangers with a rifle from a tall building… no matter how strong the urge once a month or working retail at Christmas.
9. Day trips and holidays were extremely rare
Nowadays, I’m aghast and guilty at the amount of fun activities I see people do with their kids on Facebook. We would have a Sunday drive as kids, usually to look at the big houses in Howth and Malahide which ended up as a trip to the pub and a bag of King and a bottle of TK as our parents had a grand oul time. My days pass in a blur of homework, dinners and stress and I don’t see how I could face hauling the 3 of them off to the zoo or a museum and the thoughts of the '80s, smoky pub would ashamedly be a bit of a fantasy.
10. Kids respected authority
I know I sound like a mammy, my mammy actually, but we were terrified of our teachers, a bit of our parents (remember THAT look in mass when you got the giggles) and definitely of the police. My children like their teachers but wouldn't be so terrified that they'd pee on the floor when they realised they'd forgotten their knitting (*ahem* hypothetically speaking). I can roar till I'm the proverbial blue in the face before they'll listen and I feel like I can't threaten police because I've been told off that I'll instill fear in them, thereby they'll never ask for help from police if needed... it's a quandry. Is it ok to say "the man'll get you
" like most parents did in the '80s?... No? Right then".
A friend wanted me to add that another bonus to raising kids in the '80s was... no Kardashians. So I'll just leave that there.
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