|Me, aged 8 in 1972 - first day of Grade 3|
One thing about being an older Mum of young children is that I'm about 10 to 15 years older than other Mums who have children the same age as mine. That's nearly a whole generation's difference and the way those Mums lived compared to me was quite a bit different I'm finding out. One thing that I've got to try and stop doing is living in the past and wishing my kids the same upbringing I had. Things have definitely changed from when I was 8 years old in 1972. I've got to move with the times but its hard. It's the only way I know. Here's 5 things that are different from when I was 8.
The only time I ever had a sleepover growing up was when I was 4 years old. My younger sister, who was 3, and I went to the Sunshine Coast to stay with my grandparents for 2 weeks while my youngest sister was born. I can remember vividly returning home to see a little baby and my Nanna made us two oldest girls a doll each.
Now, my daughter's friends all have sleepovers and even my 6 year old son is asking if he can have his mates over for a sleepover. My daughter has slept over at someone's place once and she had a little girl here and she said it was okay but didn't think much of it. I'm still trying to work out what the big attraction is. My daughter said she's not too keen on it but we'll go with the flow and see what happens.
2. Play Dates
I love when my kids are invited to the park or over to people's homes for play dates. I get to talk to the parents, have a cup of coffee and catch up on all the latest goings on at school, with teachers etc etc. I always seem to be out of the loop but use this time to get caught up on all the info. Its also a great environment for the kids to interact with their school friends and form solid friendships.
I don't remember having one play date when we were growing up. We had a whole street full of kids to choose to play with. We got home from school, had afternoon tea, did our homework and were outside playing until dark with the kids in the street. Even if we didn't go away on vacation and another family in the street did, there was always someone else in the street to play with. Mum would always have these Mums come over, I guess while we were at school and caught up for coffee or a cup of tea. Of all the families in our street now, most of the kids go to different schools and we don't see anyone playing outside. I think my kids are still a bit too young to be playing out in the street. We don't live on a busy road but the cars still travel way too fast for my liking.
3. Fast Food
The only fast food option in 1972 in my area was fish and chips from the local Greek family's shop or very, very basic Chinese food but that was quite radical for the time. I can remember going to a proper restaurant when we were young. It was called the "Top of the State" restaurant at the top of the SGIO Building (now Suncorp) in Brisbane city and it was a 'smorgasbord'. Another style of eating that was unfamiliar to most Australian families. I can remember seeing a huge bowl of cream and Mum said we could help ourselves to any desserts we liked. I just remember having cream on everything.
Now, fast food restaurants are a way of life. There's no denying I don't like them but as a matter of convenience, they've saved my sanity in more ways than one. At least I can get my son eating a wrap of some sort with a tiny bit of lettuce compared to my fussy daughter who only eats the chicken nuggets. I guess convenience outweighs nutrition when you're rushing to get from 'A' to 'B' either side of meal times and the starving children must be fed. Its not like they get it every day but its definitely become a way of life for a lot of us. We'd only occasionally get fish and chips on a Friday night when I was 8 and I'm glad because I secretly preferred Mum's homemade version.
By the time I was 8, I was ironing hankies and tea towels, my sister and I took turns washing and drying the dishes, we helped every evening with dinner, cooking cakes, biscuits and toffees on weekends. Before we started playing competitive sport, we had Saturday morning chores like vacuuming, dusting, washing floors, washing and hanging out clothes, yard work, cleaning window screens and windows. My mother was a bit of a hard task master but it taught me some great life skills.
Now, my daughter begrudgingly tidies her room every night (so far, so good for 2 weeks now - if you let it slide it becomes out of hand and a disaster zone is imminent). She washes up our dinner plates and cutlery and that's about it. I haven't pushed it just yet like my Mother did. I did come to resent having to do it when I wished I could've been playing but I'd like a happy medium. Eight years old is still a little young in my book. My daughter does help me when I ask and they'll help wash walls or weed in the garden if I ask.
If you've made it this far, you'll probably already assume that in 1972 there wasn't much in the line of entertainment other than the fun you made yourself. We had toys albeit basic and not very many (compared to today's standards) but we thought we had heaps. We only had a black and white television up until I was about 11 years of age. Not that Mum and Dad didn't want one. There just wasn't any need to upgrade if there wasn't anything wrong with the one you had. We only got a video recorder after the colour TV. No hand held games. There may have been a pinball machine at the local corner shop but that was it. We just played sports in the street or some made up game from a TV show or super hero. Occasionally, Mum would take us to the cinema during school holidays to see something like "Lady & the Tramp" or similar.
We only just succumbed to pressure to keep up with technology and bought our kids a Wii this last Christmas. Prior to that they shared an iPod their Dad bought them 6 months prior. There's a DVD player, pay TV (cable), the computer etc etc let alone what else is out there that we haven't even considered. Give it another year and my daughter will probably have her own computer for school, they'll each have an iPod or DS or whatever else is popular at the time. One thing I do love about my kids is they get bored with sitting for too long. They were running around the house like lunatics one night and I asked what they were doing. One said he was Mario and the other Luigi. They were actually racing each other like the Mario Kart game. I can't complain too much about that.
|My daughter aged 8 at her birthday party last November|
There'll probably be more differences as the time goes on. I hope I can keep up with times but its hard when things were so different when I was young. Its all I know. Hanging out with the younger Mums has educated me a lot so thank you to all those wonderful younger Mums I have met in my journey of motherhood. Oh, and cameras were only brought out for marriages, christenings, the first day of school and holy communions.
I'm linking up here: