Parenting Then and Now Part 1

Saying “the times have changed” is such a cliché’ but it is also the truth. Every aspect of our society has slowly evolved over the past several decades. Technology has improved much of our daily lives which has in turn brought about it’s own slew of changes in our world. As a parent in today’s world I can’t help but be aware of how different things are from when I was a child. I may not have had a perfect childhood but in many ways it was also easier than the childhood’s my children are experiencing. I wonder how parents back then would have fared in today’s parenting world. We adapt to change over time but what if you plucked an ’80s mom out of her era and threw her into the world of today’s mom. Would she be able to adapt and handle the change? Would she buckle or am I wrong and is everything just as it was then?

As society evolves we have learned more about ourselves as people. We have had to adjust as parents as well. There are so many things that parents now have to endure that were not expected of them even 20 years ago.

I thought I would start at the birth and move forward.

Hospitals play a more prominent role than they once did. At the same time Doctors tend to be less involved. If we look back several decades doctors use to make house visits. I know that is a long time ago but think about it for a second. If you were pregnant your doctor could come to your house and give you a check-up if you couldn’t make it to his office. Can you imagine the ease of not having to rush to an appointment? All you would have to do is make sure that you had some elastic waist banded pjs on and that your hair didn’t look like you had just woken up for your visit. Wouldn’t that be nice? I know at the end of my last pregnancy that it would have been so much easier on me if the doctor made a house visit. There are mid-wives today who make house calls but they are not licensed doctors and in certain medical cases they have to refer you to a doctor. Back to the hospitals, remember when people used to smoke inside the hospitals? Insane, I know but it happened. I know men who have told me that they smoked cigarettes in the room while they were waiting for their wife to give birth.

Hospitals today are corporations. They are money making entities. They process patients in order to raise their revenues. Many people don’t realize that Hospitals are no different than grocery stores. We need a service they provide. Once you find a doctor you like you choose to use them. Your doctor has to be available at the hospital of your choice also. Sort of like buying that bread from the store. If the store doesn’t offer it then you can’t exactly buy it. So you find the doctor and the hospital and you use them for a service and then you pay them for what they have provided you. You are a customer. As such we have the right to either be content with the services we received or find a new provider all together. Whew. That’s pretty black and white when you think about it. Hospitals also have rules and regulations that they must now abide. I know one that I am fully aware of is the fact that if you have a baby they won’t let you take the baby home in a vehicle if you don’t have a car seat. I am the mother but they have the right to withhold me or my child if I don’t adhere to the law. Hmm.

Car seats. I just love car seats. I love that they keep my kids safe in case I were to be in a wreck. I also love that when your child outgrows them you have this heaping plastic chair that you can do absolutely nothing with. Did I mention they also have expiration dates? Yes, your car seat can expire. Don’t worry though it won’t get mold or mildew when it does. In fact it will look exactly the same as it did the month before minus the carrot stains from little boo of course. Car seats are not a cheap expense but they are very important nonetheless. They are necessities and they are important items to have to secure our children. I didn’t have a car seat when I was a child. I remember not even being buckled in with a seat belt. I rode in the bed of a truck. Oh my! I rode in my dad’s lap while he drove down the road. It was fun at the time and I felt like I was actually driving. If I did this with my kids the minute I pulled out of the driveway police would have me facedown on the street. Don’t worry though I am too safety prone to ever do this with any of my kids. The media condemned Britney Spears not long ago for driving with one of her kids in her lap. I too had my say in the matter and then I remembered the days when I was the kid behind the wheel. Aside from the safety (which is their main and only purpose) car seats are not much fun. When the baby is under a year old they are heavy and cumbersome. Going to the store isn’t easy with a car seat. You have a baby who can’t sit at all on their own so they need to stay in the car seat. Where do you put the seat though? You’re not supposed to put it on the shopping cart because if you were to run into something or even hit a pot-hole in the parking lot you could throw the baby seat and all out of the cart. So despite it being for car safety it can in fact be dangerous.

Then there is the sleeping baby conundrum. There are some lucky parents out there who have those, “I can sleep through anything” babies. I was not one of them. If my babies fell asleep in the car and I tried to take them out the first touch of that 5 point harness was doom for me. I can’t tell you how many times I had a baby fall asleep 5 minutes away from home. That is the worst. Some parents choose to take the entire car seat out of the car rather than wake their baby. They take the entire seat (baby included) and put them in the house. Maybe they choose to put the baby in a quiet room or nursery so they can finish out their nap. Well, if this is you then you should know that this can be dangerous. Children can constrict their breathing (their air passage can get constricted by the angle of their head and neck) if left in the seat. If they are unattended then no one will be there to be aware of the danger the baby could be in. Many children have died this way and it is truly horrible that it has happened from a lack of knowledge. Car seats can be dangerous if not used properly. The thing is that just about anything could be used incorrectly. A spoon could cause harm if a person didn’t know the proper way to use it.

Car seats are needed because most people own vehicles. How many cars do you own? It only takes one car on the road to cause bodily harm or even kill a child that is not properly secured in a car. Our society is a vehicular one and because of that we need to create safety measures to combat the possible dangers created by vehicles. Car seats can be a nuisance at times but in the larger picture they are well worth the nuisance.

To feed or not to feed formula. Wow. Well there are a lot of opinions on formula and breast feeding today. Some moms feel they are judged for feeding their children formula and breast feeding mothers also have a daily battle over their method of nutrition. I think that is what people forget though. These are Methods of Nutrition. People look at breast feeding the way they do because it involves body parts that not everyone associates with food. As a society we are completely removed from the way in which we eat though so it is no surprise to me that breast feeding is looked at the way it is.

Do you drink milk? A lot of people drink milk. Most people don’t go out to the farm and drink milk from the tap though. Most people go to the store and pull a jug out of the refrigerated section and go about their business. I don’t know about you but every time I pick out a jug of milk I don’t think of old Betsy on the farm. I think check and move on to the next item on my list. The truly funny thing is that there was a time when mothers were told to feed their babies cows’ milk. Today we are told not to do that because it can create food allergies. Things change over time and are facilitated by ease of access. Sometimes I think that people don’t understand that which isn’t easy and breast-feeding is definitely Not easy in comparison. If grocery stores didn’t exist then people would be more likely to be in touch with the production of their food. We are separated from the purpose of things and because of that there will always be issues among us. There will always be a debate over breast feeding and formula. Neither is incorrect. Both options are created for mothers to provide sustenance for their babies. Formula is no better or worse than breast milk it is simply a different option.


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