12 Ways '70s Moms Were Outta Sight!

by Laura Hanby Hudgens
Originally Published: 
Mom, dad, and kids sitting on a field in the 70s

I love being a mom. I can honestly say that it is the best job on the planet. I just hope that my kids can see how much I love it. I had a good teacher in that regard. My own mother always made being a mom seem easy and fun. Of course, she had an advantage. She got to be a mother in a much more carefree time—unencumbered by pesky worries about things like GMOs or UV rays or seat belts. It must have been a great time to be a parent. I know it was a great time to be a kid. Here are 12 reason my mom, and other ’70s moms, were awesome:

1. She encouraged us to be Free to Be…You and Me. It’s all right to cry. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Mommies are people. Everyone hates house work. Don’t dress your horse in galoshes. These were important life lessons.

2. She smoked. Of course, we know now that smoking isn’t cool. But at the time, not only did it look cool, our moms’ smoking also inspired us to make some funky ash trays in art class.

3. She bought us candy cigarettes. So we could “smoke” too.

4. She quit smoking. Kudos, Mom. And I thought it was a bitch to give up Diet Coke.

5. She wore turquoise rings that tapped in perfect time against the plastic steering wheel of her station wagon—while she sang along to “I Am Woman” by Helen Reddy on her 8-track tape player.

6. She played bridge. In the afternoon whilst smoking and drinking strawberry daiquiris.

7. She embroidered denim shirts for the entire family. And our cousins. And the babysitter. And her bridge club. That’s right! This masterpiece is still hanging in my closet. A butterfly, a dragonfly, a partridge, a heart and a field of flowers all on one shirt. Be jealous.

8. She taught us The Hustle. I remember learning this at Vacation Bible school—right after Kool-Aid and Little Debbies but before we made a God’s Eye out of yarn and Popsicle sticks.

9. She took us to see Grease. Of course, she was horrified when she realized it was about teenage s-e-x, but we had no idea—not even after listening to the album 47,000 times.

10. She could bring home the bacon and fry it up in the pan!

11. She took belly dancing lessons. And tole painting lessons. And calligraphy lessons. And Parent Effectiveness Training. Of course, we may or may not have been left in the care of an 85-year-old woman who fed us butter and sugar sandwiches for lunch, but we survived.

12. She read Erma Bombeck. Whose writings are just as applicable and funny today as they were 35 years ago.

Of course, my mom was cool in the ’80s too—with her Jane Fonda workout tape and her Julia Sugarbaker shoulder pads, running around with her Color Me Beautiful swatches in her purse. I wonder what things about me will stand out for my kids someday. The way I wear yoga pants all the time? My spinach brownies? My blog? Hmmmmm? Maybe I should learn to embroider.

Disclaimer (because my mother will read this): My mom actually quit smoking shortly after she had me, but my grandparents still smoked, so I got to make ash trays for them. Also, her bridge club met in the evenings, not the afternoons. Afternoons were for taking us to the pool where our unprotected skin soaked in hours of UV rays. But she never let us go in the water for at least an hour after eating.

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