You know the saying “keep calm and call your mom”? Well that’s pretty much my motto in life. From discipline advice, to newborn diaper interpretation, and everything in between — she’s my go-to gal. She’ll often times say, “well when you guys were little…” or “back then we…” but I realized recently that I haven’t asked my mom much about what her life was like when we were growing up. So with Mother’s Day upon us, I sat down with my role model to find out what being a mom was all about back in the day.
What was the biggest adjustment for you in becoming a mom?
I think my biggest adjustment as a first time mom was that I felt very isolated. I didn’t live close to family and therefore didn’t have a lot of hands-on support. My mom came to stay for a week when I came home from the hospital and I remember the feeling of complete despair when she left to go home. I felt totally inadequate in taking care of a newborn.
Since we lived in Texas, I remember feeling the same way when you left. Lucky for me though, I could FaceTime you every 15 minutes!
What was your favorite stage of motherhood?
I enjoyed all the stages of motherhood. As I look back 40 years later, I wish I had taken more time to really “enjoy” watching you guys grow up. That would be my one piece of advice to you… enjoy more, worry less.
Noted. I have to say though, I love how much you enjoy watching your grandkids grow up!
Which stage had the most challenges?
I think the teenage years were definitely the most challenging. Enough said about that!
Since I was perfectly angelic, I know you can’t be referring to my teenage years.
Did you know many people that struggled with infertility?
As I think back, I don’t really recall anyone with fertility issues. We had only one couple in our extended group of friends that had two adopted children. Infertility wasn’t something that was openly discussed so I don’t know if they even attempted fertility treatments. It’s really strange that it seems to be such a widespread problem today.
As someone who has struggled with infertility, that’s crazy to me, too! I’m thankful for the medical technology and knowledge we have today, but I wish so many of us didn’t have to use it.
What did a normal day look like for you when I was little? Did play dates happen back then?
As a new mom in a new city, I didn’t have a lot of activities. We didn’t go out much and we spent many long days waiting for Dad to get home to have some adult interaction. It certainly wasn’t like today when you can plan an outing for every day of the week. There are just so many opportunities now to meet new moms and build lasting friendships. When we moved to Kansas City, I joined a babysitting co-op. It was really a nice way to meet new people and was so helpful as we had no grandparents (or money!) for babysitting.
I’m intrigued. Have you heard the rates babysitters are charging these days?!?
What did you and Dad do for fun?
Our fun life was always centered around kids activities. We have met so many great people through our children. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful group of friends, most all of whom we met through our kids.
So are you considering those vacations we took to historic battlefields FUN kids activities? Because, umm…
What was your biggest fashion mistake in those years?
My biggest fashion mistake, as I look back at pictures, definitely the hair!
I was going to say the collection of pastel windbreakers you had, but hey, my kids will probably be saying that about my yoga pants someday!
What do you look back at and think “I can’t believe we did that”?
There’s so much! Definitely car seats and seat belts. Our first car seat was a GM bucket that sat in the front seat. You would need to hold onto it to keep it from tipping as you went around a corner. Probably my biggest unbelievable would be that we didn’t pull over and stop the car when the baby would need to nurse. We just took them out of the car seat and fed them, whether it was the short drive to church or the 4 hour drive to Grandma’s house.
Who does that? I don’t know, Mom. I really don’t know.
What’s something we have today that you wish you would’ve had back then?
No question…the Internet. There is just so much information available to moms now. If we had a sick child, we would worry for a week until they could get in to see the pediatrician. Now you can type their symptoms in online and find some piece of mind knowing that your child isn’t the only one with that terrible rash. The opportunity to communicate with other moms who are having the same problems as you is just invaluable. You can join support groups, learn from and develop friendships with people you will never meet. We couldn’t do that back in the olden days. I’m all about technology!
I couldn’t agree more. If you aren’t available for advice, Dr. Google is always my next step.
What are you glad you didn’t have?
I’m glad we didn’t have the security issues that moms face today. We could let our kids outside to play and tell them to be home for lunch. Not today. They could ride their bike or walk to a friend’s house with no worries. Not today. The world is changing. I do love technology, but I wish we could go back 40 years to a safer place for our grandchildren to grow up.
Amen to that.
Happy Mother’s Day week to my best friend and biggest cheerleader. And to all the other moms out there (now, then, and always): thank you for all that you do!