Have you ever thought to yourself “parenting did not seem this difficult back in the day!” In a way, you’re right. Sure we have luxuries that our retro role models didn’t have (disposable diapers anyone??). But, there are a lot of things that our retro mamas NEVER did, that I think we should stop doing, at least to make our lives a bit easier and a children a bit better.
- Retro mamas never let their children be rude. You would have never heard a retro mama say “of course he’s not saying please and thank you yet. He’s only two!” Or, “she’s just not in the mood to say hi to guests today.” No way. Children were expected to mind their manners, greet guests (even if it’s “just” the neighbor or some of mom and dad’s friends), and not interrupt adults when they’re talking.
2. Retro mamas never let their children make every decision for themselves. Our generation loves to “not crush children’s spirits” by letting them decide everything for themselves: what they wear, what they eat, how they behave. But, children actually don’t need, or want for that matter, to make every decision for themselves. Children need to learn how to be human beings, how to live in our society, and what is and isn’t acceptable. Parents teach them this. Retro mamas dressed their children, made their food, and had expectations about their behavior. Not dictatorship style…loving, learning style.
3. Retro mamas never tried to entertain their children constantly. Play dates, sports, lessons, TV, computers, iPads, phones, toys with batteries that do all the play for you…we are TERRIFIED of our children being bored. They’re playing by themselves?? What if they aren’t learning?? Here’s the thing…play is learning. End of story. Any kind of play, especially play that children come up with on their own, without an adult intervening. Retro mamas let their children be children and let them play, or let them be bored. Either way, they definitely didn’t make sure their children were entertained every second of every day.
4. Retro mamas never let their houses go. This goes along with #3. So often I hear “my house is a wreck, because I’m so busy at home with the children.” I get it. Believe me, I get it. But, if you took some advice from our retro moms, and let your children play on their own, you’d have time in the day for various chores. 30 minutes of coloring = 30 minutes of dishes. 1 hour of free play on their own = 1 hour of getting through a whole load of laundry. Leaving kids to use their imagination means leaving you to have some free time to get things done! However it got done, it got done. A retro mama would not be caught dead with a filthy home.
5. Retro mamas never let themselves go. Things I hear constantly from women: “I’m just too tired to care what I look like” or “I’m too busy with the children to care what my husband thinks about how I look.” These sentences make my skin crawl, even though I understand where they’re coming from. Having children is not an excuse to wear yoga pants every day, never shave, and neglect your husband. Retro mamas were never caught looking shabby, hairy, or un-makeup-ed. Just didn’t happen! Even the children looked nice for the day! We’re all busy, but it takes 5 minutes to do makeup in the morning. And it takes an even shorter amount of time to throw on an outfit. You can do it! When you do, your whole day will feel better and run smoother!
6. Retro mamas never let themselves become short-order cooks. Retro mamas meal-planned like bosses! They knew what their families liked and what was healthy. Not only that, meals were prepared fresh and usually from scratch. Retro mamas made dinner, and that’s what everyone ate. They didn’t make separate meals for a child that didn’t want what was for dinner that night. “Eat it or don’t, this is what’s for dinner.” Don’t tire yourself out more than already happens. Don’t waste food and groceries. It feels so good to know what your family likes, prepare that meal with love, and watch them enjoy it…at the table…together. It can happen!! 🙂
7. Retro mamas never used TV as a babysitter. I’ll go ahead and state the obvious: most retro homes didn’t have a TV, so this wasn’t an issue. But, into the 50’s, homes started getting TV’s. But, they were only turned on when certain programs were on. Usually, the family enjoyed one program in the evenings together. TV’s weren’t left on throughout the day for kids to veg out in front of. Children were expected to play, read, and be outside. A retro mama would never think of turning on the TV simply to entertain her child all day long. If you’re used to having the TV on throughout the day, try having music on instead. Your children may fuss at first, but soon they’ll start entertaining themselves! ::Gasp::
8. Retro mamas never let their children become entitled. Back in the day, things were earned…even for children. Children never assumed they got something just for being children. Even when they received gifts, they were grateful and thankful and they showed it! When they had birthday parties, they opened their gifts and thanked the givers. Recently, I heard of a friend taking her child to a birthday party where the birthday girl didn’t open her gifts…so the other kids didn’t get jealous…::insert cuss words and cringe face here:: This never ever would have happened back in the day. Children learned to celebrate with others!
9. Retro mamas never let their children grow up with zero chores. I never had chores growing up. Not-a-one. Now, I hate cleaning my house, my car, whatever. So, I used to not. Things were messy. It wasn’t just that I hated cleaning, I didn’t feel a need to, since someone always did it for me. “Adulting” was not easy for me, but has become increasingly more fulfilling through my retro lifestyle. Retro mamas gave their children chores. Simple chores: make your bed, put your dishes in the sink, put up your toys. Things children can do quickly and easily. For these chores, they received an allowance. Getting kids ready for the real world…who woulda thunk it??
10. Retro mamas didn’t love their children any less than moms today! If I’m being completely honest, it can be argued that retro mamas loved their children more, because they thought of the whole child, including the child as an adult, when raising their children. They knew that discipline, responsibility, nourishment, rules, play, and love would turn wonderful children into wonderful adults!
What retro mama habits do you already practice? Any you plan on adopting? Let’s talk!