Oh, to be Our Children…

Lisa writes: So we didn’t have the depression or World War II, like our parents, and we missed huge swaths of the Vietnam War.  Any credibility on how tough life was in the 1970s might be hard to come by.  But just because we didn’t have it bad, doesn’t mean that we don’t think our kids have it better, much, much better.  Here are some of the reasons we wish we could be our children:

Empty Nest, Facebook, SAT, spoiled children, privileged children,

1. Facebook

We may have  Facebook pages but our friends never seem to post embarrassing and deeply compromising photos of what they do when they are drunk. When we look on Facebook we see family photos, sunsets and graduations and find that we have little to ridicule our friends with the next morning. (At first we thought that maybe our friends don’t get tipsy often enough, but now we realize it is more likely that when they have been badly over served they can no longer operate or perhaps even remember that there is a camera on their cell phones.)

2. SAT tutoring

While it doesn’t look like fun, it sure beats going into the test cold and realizing that you do not even understand the first question.

3. Unpaid summer internships

We would have liked to help research the cure for cancer or shadow a CEO that our parents knew, jobs that no one in their right mind would pay us for.  We had boring summer jobs – we babysat, we waited tables, we folded and refolded clothes at local department stores that no longer exist.  You worked, you got paid.  No one ever considered giving you a job for which you were patently unqualified.

4. Us, at their fingertips

They had us at birth and nothing they have ever said or done has changed that. We acted like they were the greatest thing that had ever happened, and who were they to question us?  We call, we text, we send money.  We act like their in-house permanent cheer squad that they can call on at a moments notice.  And they can always reach us. Unless we are driving a busload of children, in the middle of performing an operation or conducting a symphony, we jump when they call and none of our colleagues or friends thinks there is anything strange about our behavior.

5. Fluoride

Trips to the dentist for painful shots of novocaine- “just a little pinch”- and the sound, smell and taste of the dentist drills still fill our nightmares.  Regardless of the mountains of candy they’ve ingested, they have been largely spared that childhood ordeal.

6. Around the world

We took trips to see our grandparents twice a year and that was the extent of our childhood travel. It was by car, not plane, and we bunked with our family. They had frequent flyer numbers before they could walk and passports filled with the stamps of countries in multiple continents.  For our kids, Walt Disney nailed it – it is a small world after all.

7. Whole Foods

Just think of the copious amounts of preservatives, red dye #2, pesticides, high fructose corn syrup, white flour, white sugar, white everything! Its no wonder our kids were taller than we are, by the time they were twelve.

8. First day of school

The first day of kindergarten was a rude awakening. It might have been nice to have five years of nursery school to help prepare us.

9. Friends of the opposite sex

When Harry met Sally had a point about this, not a popular idea before 1995.  Most male friends were exs.  Our kids’ friendships have permanently altered the relationships between the sexes—all for the better.

10. Facebook, again

The Internet is a game changer and our kids know how to exploit it to the fullest.  Not just ipods, ipads, laptops, smart phones, Facebook and Twitter, but all of the yet to be identified Facebooks and iphones of the future. Remember pen pals? Our kids’ friends number close to 1000 and there are no signs of stopping. Maybe they will even even friend their parents, someday.

Please add to the list of ways our kids have it MUCH better than we did!



  1. says

    You forgot cell phones! I am older enough to remember when we had to stretch the phone cord ten feet and hide in the closet to talk to our friends! And if a boy ever dared to call, it was always my dad who answered and had to holler through the house, “Some kid named Jack wants to talk to you for some reason! Get out of the bathroom and take the phone!”

    • says

      Wow – how could cellphones not have made our top ten list??? Thanks for filling in this gaping hole. How creepy was it, too, to use a pay phone – think of the germs???

  2. mompalooza says

    Variety of new fab children’s lit for kids , Tweens, and teens. Magic tree house, Allie Finkle rules for girls, Charlie bone, vampirates,bite me series, hunger games, twilight ,Harry potter, lightening thief…. All I can rem having is nancy drew, but maybe because my mom didn’t take weekly trips to Barnes noble for books and Starbucks :)

    • says

      You are bringing back such sweet memories of both reading to our kids and seeing them develop favorite writers, too! Thanks for the addition to the list.

  3. Barbara Elfman says

    Vaccinations. Our kids for the most part never had to deal with mumps, measles and depending on their age…chicken pox. Remember the oatmeal baths, wearing mittens so you wouldn’t scratch! With vaccinations, our kids never had to deal with these unpleasant childhood illnesses.

    • says

      So true – what a difference the chicken pox vaccine made between the lives of our oldest (when it wasn’t available) and our youngest who never had to suffer all that you describe. Thanks!