Mum skills from the 70’s
Sometimes I dream about being a Mum of the Seventies, but I’d get arrested.
If I was living in the 1970’s (according to my very limited family research) my baby would spend most of the day in the pram in the garden. When I wanted to go out, (out out), baby would come with me to the pub and wait in the car or sit “behind the bar”.
Can you imagine how we would be judged these days? Lucky my siblings and I are still alive, and my parents; pillars of the community!
Most of my babyhood was spent out in the garden in the pram; if it rained, under the hood of the garage. The fresh air was good for us and we liked to watch the clouds and listen to the birds (or so I was told!).
I slept in the pram, went for walks in the pram, sat and played in the pram.
Sounds like a dream compared to my day-to-day; now that I am the mother and not the baby! However, I just can’t bring myself to put the baby in the garden all day. She won’t sleep in her pram anyway. (It’s not a Silver Cross, Balmoral).
Besides, what would people say?
Today, some of this Seventies stuff would get your baby taken into care, or your parents arrested.
I used to travel in the boot of the car in the ‘carry cot’. No car seats back then! You didn’t even have seat belts in the back of the car.
Then the good bit! My parents have many-a-time told me the story of how it was normal to drive to the pub, park outside the window of the pub, leave the baby asleep in the cot, in the car, and go and have a jolly nice drink and maybe a spot of scampi and chips. Then drive home, obviously.
If you couldn’t park where you could see the car, or it was a bit cold, you would bring the baby in to the pub and the lovely landlord / lady would put your baby “behind the bar” (out the back) so baby could sleep, while parents had a night out!
I’m actually a bit jealous of that one.
Outside of pram life, there was the play pen: a small wooden cage, with death-trap corners. You would happily play with your toys or stand up against the bars like a prisoner practicing your escape plan. This was so Mother could get on with some jobs or go to the loo. Luxury indeed.
Jealous enough that I am thinking about getting some kind of play pen, despite the guilt. But more of a plastic activity station that ‘pretends’ it is not a cage for children so I feel better about it. It has been created to “stimulate” and “amuse” helping develop “motor skills” and whatever, whatever, I just need to pee alone and make the fricking dinner.
Growing up, the beautiful Silver Cross pram came into its own when I was running about with my big brother, cousins and friends. It converted (A-Team style) into a home-made Go-Kart! Games consisted of Karting down a very steep road in the village (so dangerous) or towing each other on skate boards using a bike and a dog lead. There was a home-made obstacle course of jumps and turns (hazards-as they are called today).
I think come the late 80’s to 1990’s we had knee and elbow pads for skateboards, but no helmets; and no obligation to wear them.
(Trying to visualise Marty McFly as we speak… Yup, no helmet)
We could leave the house on our bikes, and as long as we were home by tea time, all was well. No phones.
Child safety was governed by the word “No” or “be careful”. The Seventies didn’t have special contraptions to Toddler proof the plug sockets or clips to hold cupboards shut.
I’m not one for dicing with death, so I do have the safety things that go in the sockets. They were a good invention. (I still plan to use the word, “NO”).
Life was less complicated back then. There was much less pressure on parents. It felt safer: despite the lack of seat belts.
Computer games weren’t around to corrupt young minds, the internet didn’t exist. You didn’t have to worry about who children might meet online or what they might learn about the dark side of humanity.
There was usually a community, “a village to raise a child”, consisting of friends, neighbours and family. Making parenthood much more manageable. Although I think that still exists in pockets, it is much less common now.
Some days, while stacking cups on the floor, I think it would be nice to be able to put the baby in the garden on her own and have a bit of peace.
I’d like to pee alone while baby is ‘safe’ in the play pen.
I’d like to not feel judged or pressured via the media, or be told to parent a certain way by an ‘expert’.
And of course, it would be nice to go to the pub, (even with the baby).
But mostly I’d like to feel it was safe to let my daughter play outside all day and have a close community of support to watch over her (and me). Like I had growing up.
However, I won’t be letting her speed a Go-Kart down a very steep hill, not unless my big brother is there!
So I might take a few lessons from the 1970’s (the legal ones) and try and feel less guilty about the best way to parent.
But I might need to move to a village. Because from what I gather: it takes a village to raise a child; and a silver cross pram.
*Please do get in touch if you actually still live in 70’s style community, I might want to move there.
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*Picture Silver Cross Vintage Advert, source wikipedia