EJ turns five in three months and raising a five year old is far more complicated than I ever anticipated. I was five in 1984. It seemed like an easier time to parent. I don’t think motherhood, in any generation, was ever easy, but now we have many things that make it so much harder. I realized lately that I am somewhat jealous of our mothers and the simplicity of 1984. Mostly, I am jealous that they didn’t have the internet, which appears to be the root of all my motherhood anxieties.
1. Netflix. When we started streaming Netflix a few months ago, I thought it couldn’t get any better. Now I am somewhat convinced that Netflix is run by the devil. EJ is Netflix obsessed. “Mommy, just get it on Netflix. Isn’t it on Netflix? Can I watch it now? On your phone? On my Nook? On the TV?” The instant nature of it, makes an impatient 4-year-old even more impatient. “Why isn’t it loading? Is there no WiFi?” The other night, EJ came into my bedroom as I was watching TV.”Mommy you watching Netflx?””Nope.”
“What are you watching?”
Try explaining why certain shows are on Netflix while certain shows and episodes are not. Not fun. I had two choices at 5; watch whatever was currently on TV (90% of the time not something I was interested in, usually MASH) or play. Much easier choice back then.
Also, Netflix has led to the rediscovery of Caillou. Our mothers never dealt with Caillou…
2. Facebook. This is truly the worst thing to ever happen to mothers. Facebook can be used as a comparison tool. Sally posts pics of her kid doing Montessori inspired projects and I have to run out and buy sensory table. Mary takes pictures of her kid at the zoo while I am at work, and I am suddenly trying to remember the last time EJ went to the zoo. Now I feel like a jerk for not taking my kid to the zoo in months and am certain he will be scarred from missing it. I renew our membership promptly, vowing to go all the time, only to remember the next time Mary posts.
There are pictures of deliciously cooked, healthy dinner and I just fed my kid pizza for the third night in a row. Pictures of moms working out while I can barely get lunch made at night.
Then there are the “informational” posts from other moms on what you shouldn’t be doing and should be doing.
“Don’t feed your kid this.”
“My kid would never watch….”
“Great article on why Such and Such is bad.” (when you are currently eating and/or doing such and such)
It can be overwhelming, especially for new moms. Our moms never had to “watch” other moms and their lives so closely. They never had a front row seat, updated daily, as to how other kids/families/moms are stacking up. And they never had to struggle with the idea of remaining connected while disconnecting and enjoying the moment. Facebook can be an amazing way to build a community of people you care about, see cute pictures, stay connected with friends, and get a laugh but it can also be a struggle to weed out the overwhelming information and stay in reality. Our mothers only had reality…what was right there in front of them.
3. Pinterest. There have been endless blog posts about Pinterest. Our mothers didn’t have to see Johnny’s mom pin all the crafts she does with him, or endless printables to use for your kindergartener, or how your house could be far more organized and stylish if you had any time or ability. They didn’t have to pin and re-pin hundreds of recipes, crafts, books, and DIY projects that would never happen and only haunt you. Thereby making you feel like an inadequate mother, spouse and cook. I will never make cookies into reindeer, but at least in 1984 I wouldn’t have realized that was an option.
4. Google. Google has made mothers everywhere panic, paranoid and armed with false information. I GTS (Google That Shit) everything and as a result, I freak out. I know I am not alone. Google makes a small red rash a sign of the bubonic plague. It has allowed mothers to inaccuracy diagnose our kids based on one small symptom and call the pediatrician in a panic. EJ’s pedi said to me just last week, “Just don’t Google. Call me but don’t Google.” I then spoke to my sister yesterday who had a very similar conversation with her own doctor. Google makes us neurotic and provides a level of anxiety our own moms where not tutored with.
5. _____ Free- I spend 50% of my time thinking about if things are non-toxic, BPA Free, hormone free, dye free, and whatever the else free people tell me it needs to be. I analyze creams, toys, foods, juice, water and even placements. I ask more questions about what things are made from and of that I am pretty sure Mike just buys a product if it says FREE on it. While this is a healthy, positive change over the past 30 years, it is enough to drive you nuts. And people love to weigh in.
“Are you gluten free?”
“I have no idea…maybe? Should I be?”
I get rid of and add products depending on who I have talked to and what I have read and I honestly can’t keep up. I am not sure I can eat anything anymore and pretty sure everything in my house is going to kill me. Last week I actually texted Mike, “I saw the juice you bought was from China. We don’t eat or drink anything from China.”
When pressed for a reason, I realized that I am not entirely sure why.
“We just don’t!”
Our parents didn’t read this stuff. The only craze we experienced was “fat-free”! I have no memory of my father ever reading a label and I am almost positive everything in my house growing up was toxic. The man cleaned everything with a Brillo pad. And I am still alive to talk about it.