The older my kid gets, the more I realize her childhood will never be like mine. It doesn't matter that I'm raising her a mere 16 miles from my childhood home. It doesn't matter that I have pretty much the same values as my parents before me. There are some things that are just never coming back.
And when it comes to the mullet, that's a good thing (seriously, Mom, that third grade picture ... really?). But it's no wonder parents today are neurotic .. life is so different. Just take a look:
Childhood Then: Mom taught you to avoid that empty house down the street.
Childhood Now: We teach them to avoid high fructose corn syrup.
Then: When you complained about your food, your mom told you about the starving kids in Ethiopia.
Now: If they really think they have it rough, they could try living under Joseph Kony.
Then: Ernie & Bert were our favorite babysitters.
Now: The only babysitter we trust speaks three languages and has a PhD in child development.
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Then: Mom worried we'd get in trouble for trading Garbage Pail Kids cards on the playground.
Now: Our kids would get suspended if they brought a peanut butter sandwich into the cafeteria.
Then: You couldn't wait until your pictures came back from the developer and Mom picked them up.
Now: They wish we'd stop sharing every single thing they do on Facebook.
Then: We came back inside from playing when the street lights came on.
Now: What do you mean "go outside?"
Then: The lucky kids got Wonder Bread with Goober.
Now: The lucky kids don't have to eat kale chips.
Then: Casey Kasem provided the soundtrack for the lives of everyone in the family.
Now: Radio? We only let them listen to Kidz Bop.
Then: Mom magically paid for toys by writing out a check at the department store.
Now: BPA-free, wooden toys magically appear on the front porch after we order them online.
Then: Movies were a Saturday afternoon day out at the theater, paired with popcorn that was absolutely soaking in butter.
Now: Movies are popped in the DVD player, Pirates Booty is poured into a bowl and plopped in front of them, and we vamoose out of the room as fast as we can.
Then: Itchy bug bites were coated in Calamine lotion, and we were sent back out the door.
Now: We take their clothes off and send them straight into an organic oatmeal bath.
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Then: Friday meant family game night with pizza.
Now: Friday means dad's on the Xbox, mom's on Facebook, and the kids are playing Angry Birds on their iPads.
Then: You fought with your brother over who had shotgun.
Now: They won't be riding in the front seat until they're in college!
Then: You had to wait until Mom had time to take you to the library to do research for your school project.
Now: They can look up whatever thy need on their laptops.
Then: Visiting with Grandma and Grandpa meant making cookies and staying up late for snuggles on the couch.
Now: We set them up on Skype so they can talk to our parents.
Then: Three words: raw cookie dough.
Now: You just found a recipe on Pinterest for carob brownies made with free-range eggs and zucchini hidden inside that looks fabulous.
Then: Kool-Aid stained our teeth.
Now: Organic Honest Tea is a rare treat. Otherwise it's a stainless steel bottle full of water.
Then: You brown-bagged your lunch to school.
Now: They have a monogrammed, insulated bag made from sustainable fabrics.
Then: You had to sell candy door-to-door for the PTA.
Now: You take an order form to work because the school has forbidden the kids from actually selling to a real, live person in case they're pedophiles.
Then: There wasn't enough room in the car for all your friends, but the squished in anyway.
Now: Your only child can move their booster seat to any of a variety of seats in the minivan.
What is the biggest difference between the childhood your kid is having and yours?
Image by Jeanne Sager