5 Ways My Kids’ Childhoods Differ From Mine

There are so many ways my kids are having a different childhood than I did.   I’m not bitter, but I am taking notes.  You should too.

Here are the top 5 things my kids do differently than I did:

  1. Birthday parties: For the love of pinatas filled with crapola, when did birthday parties become such a big damn deal? For 3 year olds, no less?  Our big birthday parties were roller skating and that was in third grade.  These days we have our weekends booked with birthday parties at the local jump zones where we pick up strep throat germs and bad habits.  Also? My kids seem to think it’s cool to spend 11.5 months planning their birthday parties.  Literally. Two weeks after a birthday, we start planning the next year’s soiree– Princess cake, Hello Kitty party favors, Spiderman decorations.  When did birthdays get the steroid injection?
  2. Favorite Colors: My kids and their friends are obsessed with their favorite colors.  Sadie’s favorites are pink, purple, brown and white. (Brown? Reallly? M’kaaaay. . .)  They talk about it All. The. Time.  If there is something white in the room, say a table cloth, then it’s Sadie’s because white is one of her favorite colors.  Simon loves orange.  If we see a pumpkin or some construction cones– well, they are his because ORANGE.  We didn’t do that in the good old days.
  3. Mugging For The Camera: By the time I was 7, there were approximately 67 pictures of me in existence.  In most of them I was crying, because I was that kid.  We took 108 pictures of both of our kids within their first hours of life.  We have more pictures of my breasts in their mouths at the hospital than all the pictures of me and my siblings combined from the years 1973 through 1979.  Now of course both of my kids know what to do when someone holds up a phone/camera– smile just long enough so that the picture taker thinks they will have a picture (they won’t) and then dart away like assholes.  We knew to stand still until the picture was snapped, because there might not be another one for 3 months.
  4. Seat belts: I suspect that I might be game for having more children if only we never had to drive anywhere and deal with the damn seat belts.  It feels like I spend hours getting those straps just right– not too tight because they will freak out; not too loose because I am afraid they will die.  It’s a razor-thin line with those seat belts.  We didn’t have to deal with pesky safety issues in the 1970s.  I am not sure OSHA even existed. I do know that our diapers were cloth (because I am that old) and they were fastened with safety pins.  Big, fat, sharp safety pins that could puncture human skin or skulls.  And there was no damn Elmo on my diaper. Oh, the deprivation.
  5. Clothes: My kids pick out their own clothes.  My parents weren’t fanatical about how we dressed, but there were rules of decorum and we followed them.  Maybe it helped that we went to Catholic school and always had to wear uniforms.  I certainly don’t recall exhibiting the flair for fashion that my kids have.  Especially Sadie.

Can you feel me on this?

Headed to Home Depot dressed as Annie Hall

Headed to Home Depot dressed as Annie Hall

How about this?

Elvis day?

Elvis day?

Oh, and this:

Zsa Zsa Gabor?

Zsa Zsa Gabor?

For more on how Sadie’s fashion choices make her look ridiculous creative and stylish, but I grit my teeth and let her out of the house anyway, check out my new post on Mom.me.


60 thoughts on “5 Ways My Kids’ Childhoods Differ From Mine

  1. I never wore a seatbelt growing up. When my mom slammed on the brakes, she’d throw her arm out across the front seat (yes, the death seat) to stop me from crashing into the dashboard. Livin’ the wild life in Texas!

    • I vividly remember rolling off the front seat when a woman in the car in front of my mom stopped suddenly. I also remember my mom getting out of our van to chew. her. out. And she still didn’t make me put on a seat belt.

      • Nope.

        But, she also once drove down the road trying to dislodge a spider. It had built a web between the van door and the side-view mirror. She wanted to see how fast she had to go before the spider would fly off. Good sense returned when she realized we were going too fast for suburban streets and slowed down, and that spider still held on. You think a cop would have taken “I’m teaching my daughter science” as an excuse?

  2. I SO feel you on the birthday parties. Although I distinctly remember having favorite colors (purple and orange – inspired by the set of The Price is Right), but my son has been obsessed with orange and pink to a level I don’t recall. His love for those colors is IN-TENSE. I really love Sadie’s Zsa Zsa get-up.

  3. OMG – those pictures are priceless! I love Zsa Zsa and can’t wait to see her creation this morning! And, “hell yes” to every one of those differences. I just received a thank you note/photo book collage from the most elaborate birthday party I’ve ever been to (complete with candy store and Elton John-worthy decorations for the five year old princess). Save me!

  4. Spot on! My favorite part of our drive to Arkansas up I-30 was riding either in the floorboard or in the back window. If I saw a mom driving down the highway with a kid in the window, I’d give chase and have every state trooper I could reach on the phone and in pursuit! Ahhh, how I miss the 70s. (Your girlie is quite the fashionista! What a doll. Thank God for school uniforms.)

  5. Thos PICTURES! I’m dying over here. Sadie is just like my middle sister Katie. My mom never felt like arguing with her in the morning, so Katie got herself dressed every day. There are about 1,000 pictures from a 2 year period where she wore huge hats with feathers, tie died leggings and striped shirts, and any number of other crazy accessories.

  6. The seatbelt thing! Totally! With the arm of death.

    I still do that to people in the passenger seat and they’re like, “really?” Also, we used to ride standing up in the front seat when we were toddlers. A miracle we aren’t all dead.

    I love her fashion sense. I feel like, why the hell not? but I never got/had to dress a little girl, so don’t listen to me.

  7. Exactly!! For birthday parties in my day, kids came to your house, you played, maybe you had pin the tail on the donkey, you ate some cake. And we were fine with that. The End. It’s insane now!!

    I’ve got to give props to a girl who knows how to put an outfit together. I love it! (We had Garanamials to help us back in the day). –Lisa

  8. The photo thing. Yes. There were a lot of photos of me up until my parents second divorce when I was about 6. Then I guess everyone kind of got the feeling life wasn’t worth visually documenting from that point forward. As far as my kids know, I just magically *poofed* into adulthood with no points in between and are somewhat convinced that I have, in fact, always been this old. I hope my oldest doesn’t look back and wonder why there aren’t more pictures of his babyhood, but really, that was before digital was all the rage! So a parent can’t be held accountable for that, right??

    I love your daughter’s fashion sense, by the way. Very hip 🙂

  9. Oh, and just wanted to add, re: birthdays:
    There is a bright side. Think of all the valuable information your children’s immune systems are acquiring. 😀

  10. Remind me to tell you about the van my parents had when I was growing up. Just a preview – my parents had a conversion van and decided to, quite literally, put the conversion in the van themselves. They made seats made of plywood for us kids.

    • That’s “helmets”. They wear helmets for everything now.
      I love Ms. S’s style. And I love that you let them choose it. I think I’m a little more flexible than my mom, but I’m often told “you’re so PICKY!” by my 9 yr old who teaches me a lot about myself.

  11. Clapping over here in response to all points, but especially the birthday parties. How about the gift bags full of junky toys you are expected to hand out at parties these days? Who started that trend? We had my daughter’s 5th bday party last weekend, it was a sea theme (at a pool), so we gave the kids a mini book about sea creatures in an attempt to give something more useful. Several kids grabbed their book and then asked me, “Where’s my gift bag?” Pffff

    • I haven’t done the party favor thing– I refuse. IT’s crap. Why does anyone need more crap and why do I need to waste my money/energy on giving it to people. Honestly.

      • It’s total crap. This was a joint bday party and the other parent wanted to give something so I just went with it to avoid any drama. Which is another reason why I will no longer do joint bday parties. I actually spent more than if I had done it solo! pfff

      • I just got a joint party invitation, which was awesome because now only 1 instead of 3 different parties, but I imagine those parents all have to coordinate and that sounds so HARD!

  12. I think I would honestly die of total cute overload and gleeful happiness if Sadie came into my Home Depot dressed like Annie Hall or Zsa Zsa Gabor. I don’t think I’ve seen a single creatively dressed child in there since I started! Mini-princesses (some as young as THREE) dressed in kiddie heels and skinny jeans to match mommies heels and skinny jeans? Check. Preppy little princes in dockers and sweaters matching daddies dockers and sweater? Check. A million sail suit style outfits for boys and girls? Check. Everything color coordinated to within an inch of everyone’s life and looking just perfect? Check. But creative Annie Hall or Zsa Zsa Gabor kids? NONE. It makes me sad! Let kids dress their darn selves and have fun with it.

    Also, I totally remember wandering around the back seat with no seat belt as a kid. I can’t tell you how many times I got tossed off the seat. Into the front seat a couple of times, even. My biomom was never the best driver, so it was an adventure.

    On the bright side I remember sleeping by laying across the front seat of my Daddy’s bench seat in his car with my head on his leg for a pillow. Yes, his driving leg. From Missouri to Illinois. I also remember riding in the middle of the bench seat in his truck with no seat belt. COOLEST. KID. FEELING. EVER.

    Birthdays were cake and ice cream and a couple presents. I thought I was the coolest kid ever when I got to invite 2 friends to Pizza Hut for a PIZZA DINNER BIRTHDAY in fourth grade. That took all of two weeks to plan and make happen. (Acceptable time frame for their parents to accept or not, you know!)

    Don’t even get me started on pictures. Anyone else remember waiting a whole week to see if they turned out???

    • Sadie and Jeff hit home depot every first saturday of the month for the kid programs. We’ve got cars, bird feeders, and outfits for each project. We love HD so much! And it’s amazing we are alive given the driving standards when we were young. Good lord!

      • I love the kid’s workshops! The kids are so cute about making their stuff! My HD gives out free popcorn (and sometimes water bottles and apples) when we have the KWs. Does yours? (I’m so nosy. I’m sorry!)

        I still maintain that my arm flung across my daughter’s chest when I have to brake suddenly or something is still a valid seat belt, a la my Daddy. THANKS, DADDY.

      • WEIRD. My HD is all about healthy family stuff and healthy eating is a big part of that! Hence the apples and stuff. Give Outlaw Mama and her family food, HD that they frequent!

      • Oh, that sounds GOOD! I’ve got to bring this up to my bosses / corporate ASAP! It makes sense, even! Summer = hot. All natural ice cream = cool and refreshing!

      • I’ll bring that up and see if I can get it going everywhere – starting in Chicago and southern Indiana!

  13. iPhones, staying hydrated, and the constant entertainment. Play dates, adventures, crafts? My parents threw us outside to play with sticks and the garden hose as our only water source. Funny post as usual!

  14. I would have LOVED it if my mom let me dress like Zsa Zsa! I was constantly trying to sneak in some flair on my outfits. And a pinata or bouncy house for a birthday? Forget it. Kids nowadays don’t even know how good they have it…how did things change so fast? Wait, I guess thirty years isn’t fast. Now I feel old.

  15. Dude. Sadie looks both stylish and confident about it. She’s looks COOL. I’m getting a premonition – come high school she’s going to be POPULAR.

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