I have been a parent for over 24 years. My oldest and youngest children are over 11 years apart so I have been continuously parenting someone for all that time. This gives me a unique perspective on the way the challenges of parenting have evolved over time.
Parenting has (for me at least) become much easier. So many of the new tech innovations have revolutionized every aspect of parenting. For starters, television is ubiquitous. It wasn’t always. When my oldest was young, most week nights, the T.V. never came on, whereas with my youngest, it just seems to be on in the background all the time. And he hardly watches it between video games and YouTube. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – I rarely hear the old refrain, “mom I’m bored” that was a part of daily life when my oldest two sons were his age. Also, between apps and email, there are so many connections to the schools nowadays. Khev’s middle school lets you sign up for emailed grade alerts. I signed up for a once a day alert. I know if he misses a single homework assignment the very day it was missed. It makes it super easy to stay on top of him and it takes away any desire for him not to do what is required – I’ll know about it before I get home from work in the evenings.
My oldest would miss a ton of homework and I’d find out about it at parent teacher conferences or if I was lucky, the teacher would call my house and leave a message on my answering machine. Then I would yell at my son, we would argue about what was really missing, the teacher didn’t like him, etc. I can only imagine how much smoother our lives would have been with the teacher a text away and daily email alerts.
Information is at your fingertips for just about everything you may have a question about. And social media allows you to bond and commiserate with like minded parents who are facing the exact same struggles that you are. You can find your village and never have to feel adrift in a sea of uncertainty again. Even articles like this can be searched up on your phone in an instant. When I first became a parent, I waited for parenting magazines that I had bought subscriptions to, to be delivered to my house once a month and had to hope one of them had an article addressing my problem.
Having a problem affording a particular baby need like a high chair or a car seat? No problem. Now you can buy from someone who no longer needs it at a fraction of the original price because social selling sites will connect you with a thousand people around you that you would otherwise never have had any contact with or access to. There are recipe sites with healthy, fast recipes for any weeknight dinner that you maybe hadn’t planned for. There are job boards and event listings and newsletters letting you know all the free and low cost things to do with your kids on weekends. I feel like it literally could not get any easier for the average parent than it is in America today. To all you new moms I say, take advantage of every bit of information that is available to you, it leaves you more time for doing the important things: developing your child’s mind while you enjoy their growth and your relationship.