Moms and Dads today have it much harder than my generation did.
I’M IN AWE OF TODAY’S MOMS. And special kudos to today’s dads, too, because they don’t just bring home the bacon, as the husbands of my generation did. Today, for many men, family is their highest priority.
Maybe I’m impressed by the new family unit because my generation did it so differently. It never occurred to us to be ‘friends’ with our kids. Our role was to be parents and the emphasis was on teaching and setting an example.
Today’s concerns about children’s safety have had an interesting fallout. The downside is that the streets, once teeming with kids at play, are virtually empty. The upside is a closer connection between kids and parents. They play games and sports and take day jaunts together. They do almost everything as a family. Oh sure, my generation’s parents made jams and jellies. We cooked from scratch. We checked the report cards and did our stint at home and school meetings. We drove the kids to their ballet lessons and hockey practices. We were on their backs about table manners, correcting their language, insisting on appropriate behaviour and punishing them when they misbehaved. Raising them was about making them responsible and socially
acceptable adults. We moms got together for morning coffee, took night school courses and looked for ways to have a life beyond the wife/mom role.
But I marvel when I watch today’s moms who often hold down full-time jobs. Right out of the gate, they have a heavier load than I had. Somehow they go home and, often with the help of Dad, supervise homework, meet with teachers and drive the kids to some activity once or twice a week. One of my daughters has set up daily email communication with her kids’ teachers so
that she’s always connected. Stay-at-home moms do all of the above and also the cooking, baking, gardening, cleaning and volunteer work. And they know everything about the school system. But first, they spend time communicating with their children.
My mothering was probably okay for that era. But we didn’t play enough with our kids. Most of all, we didn’t listen enough. Does it really matter? Yes. When I talk with my grandchildren, I’m astonished at the comfort level of the kids as they tell me their most private opinions and feelings. I just can’t stop admiring, and even envying, the emotional and intellectual sharing that
parents today have with their children.
My generation read Dr. Spock and did it by the book. Today’s moms and dads also do it by the heart.
Published in October 2010.