Just so you know, I am not a doctor. Please don't take what I say as a replacement for medical advice. I also may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in my posts. Full affiliate disclosure and disclaimers can be found here.
We already know that it’s rough being a mom these days, but have you thought about it from the kid side? Man, that shit has GOT. TO. SUCK. Sure, it’s easy to think about all the awesome things that come with being a kid today, and all the stuff they DON’T have to do, but what about all the stuff they’ll never get to experience? Or the lessons they’ll have to learn the hard(er) way? Let me explain.
There’s no freedom
This is one of my pet peeves as a mother and if my boys knew what they’re missing, I bet they’d be mad as hell too. They’re still too young to let completely loose, but in my opinion, they are plenty old enough to not have me over their shoulder every second. And yet… here I am. Hovering away. Mainly because I feel like I have to since almost everyone else is doing it. Or I read some horror story about police being called on kids playing outside without an adult physically ON TOP of them.
So I do what I can. I let the leash out as far as I can before someone starts hollering ‘NEGLECT’ and a lynch mob attacks me. But can you imagine being an elementary school kid wanting to go down the street and YOUR MOM has to go with you? UGH. These poor kids. Being a kid today is like ‘Go outside! NO screens!’ But then we make them stay in a 10×10 yard under constant supervision like a prison yard. How is THAT fair?!
Someone is always watching
I got in trouble once as a kid because I wrote swear words on a paper. I was playing ‘school’ with a friend and the bad kid did it and I was the teacher who caught them blah blah blah. When I was done I threw the paper away. I believe it was my dad who found it in the trash and asked me about it. In the end, after I explained myself, nothing came of it. I thought nothing of actually DOING it because there was no one watching my every move!
But can you imagine that today? The kid would get through FU- and be pounced upon! I was alone with my friend for maybe 2 hours without seeing a single adult while we played. That would NEVER happen today! When are our kids supposed to be trying out these questionable topics and discussing social norms with peers? WHEN? Don’t even get me started on why the hell we, the moms, have to physically go with our kids to their friend’s houses now. I mean, it’s cool if I like the other mom. But sometimes…yeesh.
Being a kid today comes with so much shit to do
I purposefully removed my kids from every extracurricular activity this fall. They need a break. There is ALWAYS something to fucking do. Swim lessons, taekwondo, soccer, T-ball, etc. And my kids have it LIGHT. Add in all the OTHER stuff a family might be doing, and homework, and you’ve got one massively overscheduled kid. Being a kid today is BUSY.
My son is always complaining he doesn’t get enough time, and honestly, I kinda get it. He doesn’t get enough time to just BE. Everything is timed, censored, nitpicked, judged, monitored, and assessed. I get it, kid, I get it. Call me a bad mom if you want to, but sometimes I let him stay in his PJ’s all day and do whatever the hell his little heart desires. He’s a KID after all. If not now, then when?
Play is censored
Don’t play with your fingers as guns. Don’t play tag. No wrestling. Don’t get dirty. Don’t climb that. Go play outside, but only in that corner. See my swear word story above. Kids today are not allowed to PLAY without fear of correction or punishment. Man, if some of the moms out there could see me at 8 years old. Think about it! Think back to YOUR childhood. Now imagine some of your craziest play moments and picture your mom jumping in with comments and corrections like we do today. UGH.
I am so guilty of this with my kids. I’m terrified that they are going to say or do something at school that will get them in trouble, so I’m always chiming in when I overhear or see something that might be deemed inappropriate. And every time I do, I die a little inside. I just want to let them PLAY and figure it out. Isn’t that the whole point? If they aren’t punching each other in the face or screaming hate speech can’t they just play!?
Every move you make MEANS ALL THE THINGS
Wet your bed? Slow to talk? Late bloomer? Cough once? Depending on the parent you run the risk of seeing 17 specialists and being hypnotized while inhaling essential oils. (Again; guilty here!) Usually, we just changed the sheets or whatever and moved on. But in our google obsessed culture our poor kids are being analyzed and treated like some bizarre science experiment. And some parents take it a little too far. Imagine how you would feel if your mom was manically googling ‘ normal first period age’ while asking to check your underwear or whatever. That would SUCK.
This goes without saying though that if you think something is off WITHOUT Dr. Google chiming in to convince you… trust your gut. Most of you reading this were raised before instant internet access was a thing and we’re all ok, right? Well, we were… before instant internet access.
Life is a competition from Day 1
Moms are comparing themselves to other moms and their kids to other kids ALL THE TIME. And for the most part, this is totally fine! Comparison has ALWAYS been around. But now, it’s constant. Because we share it on social media! Of course only the good parts, or the funny parts, or the parts we WANT people to see… but it’s available 24/7. And like normal humans, we use it to judge ourselves against others. None of this is an actual problem until it becomes a competition.
Take today for example. I showed my son the pictures I posted (with his permission) for back to school. He asked to see some from other people. Then he saw the ‘likes’. PAY ATTENTION HERE. When he asked me about it, I told him his grandparents, aunts, and uncles had seen it and that was all that mattered. These kids are growing up completely immersed in social media. We already know how much of a struggle it is for us, so imagine what it can do to them. LEAD BY EXAMPLE and LIVE BY YOUR WORD.
And it’s not JUST social media for these kiddos. It’s EVERYTHING. Everything is so dang competitive! There’s all this gobbledegook about participation awards and nobody gets their feelings hurt… but at the same time kids still have to compete to get into schools and onto teams. Looking at High School students today I am flabbergasted by their resumes! I thought I was cool because I had a part-time job and good grades! PSHHH!
How do we make being a kid today better?
Well, that’s up to you as the parent. And I don’t know if we CAN make it better. The point isn’t to go back in time, but to make the best of the present day and try to prepare them for what lies ahead, whatever that may be. But in the meantime can we give our tiny people some grace? Because that’s an INSANE amount of pressure and stress. Can we just let them be kids? Compared to how I grew up I feel just plain BAD for my kids sometimes. And I feel bad for us parents too! Can we give each other some grace as parents as we try and navigate this shit storm that is modern-day parenting? It feels like there are no good solutions!
What I recommend, and what I do personally, is to pick what matters the MOST to you. What are your hard limits for your kids? Is it screen time? food issues? sportsmanship? Can you let the rest be up to them? Can we give them ANYTHING? How about you stop giving a shit what Glenda thinks of your parenting and do what YOU feel is right?
All we can hope for are kids that grow up and look back and say ‘My childhood didn’t suck that bad’. I’ll take that any day.