Why I’m Glad I’m Not Raising a Family in 1950, Even if it was a “Simpler Time”

“Why did women ever have to start complaining about all this gender stuff?

Why couldn’t they just be happy chilling at the house?”

It was another mom who said these words to me, as we complained about all of the pressure we’d been feeling to contribute financially while raising our families–

and it instantly made me think about all of the things I’d heard about “the good ole days,” how raising a family was ideal in those “simple times.”

And I start to think, yeah. Wouldn’t that be nice?

I hear the slow voice of an elderly lady at church talk about how the pace of the old days was just right

and in comparison, our fast-pace, racing world isn’t doing us justice.

Think about a world where we don’t have so many things on our plate and our only worry is our own home!

Imagine a time in which our path is laid out clearly before us, where we don’t have to deal with all that guessing work!

But the thought makes me pause. But wait.

Is that perfect path you speak of really God’s path for us women? Or is that what you’re trying to convince me?

That if I don’t resort to this mentality, then I’m not living biblically?

You see, that’s the thing about looking back on a different time with rose-colored glasses.

We make these jokes about how women just had to open their big mouths about wanting to be treated like men, how they essentially dug a hole in the ground for themselves.

As if somehow women wanting equal rights contributed to the downfall of our economy that makes it harder to survive with only one parent working. And just like women do, we blame ourselves for everything.

Mamas, in the 1950’s, we would have had it made, right?

We wouldn’t think twice about throwing two cups of sugar into a pie. We wouldn’t be judged for not eating organic.

We’d probably eat more dinners at the family table and less in the car or from a ballpark concession stand.

Our kids’ only screen time would be Saturday morning cartoons; there’d be no MoMo, no child molesters in online chatrooms.

When your husband’s home, he’s home. There’s no expectation to answer a phone call or email at 8 p.m.

And it seems to me the expectation is, that when you’re living so simply, there’s less room for sin.

But you see, these rose-colored glasses come with some very big blinders.

Want to smoke in your car full of kids? Go ahead! Simple times.

No carseats? No problem.

Want to do grown up stuff today? Lock the kids out of the house. YOLO.

Did you happen to see your neighbor beating his wife next door? Don’t worry, you don’t have to say ANYTHING. She won’t either.

I mean, what is she going to do? Where is she going to go?

Good times.

I know, I know. We have more than our fair share of issues as we near 2020. I’m hit in the face with it every time I log onto Facebook and I’m reminded of another new horrible law passed or another awful revelation with the #metoo hashtag.

But just like those that relish in the simplicity of the 1950s, I’ll proudly defend the time in which I’m raising my family.

I’m glad that I live in a world where I can live stream a sermon on Sundays when I’m at home with a sick little one and not feel judged because my spot on the pew is empty. And when I am in said pew, I’ll happily be sporting my best pair of jeans.

I’m glad that I live in a world where it’s perfectly normal for a stepdad to step in and raise kids, and I’m glad that the world recognizes his relationship with those kids is more important than the biology behind it.

I will be the first person to champion marriage. I will cheer you on as you work through your struggles and arguments and addiction and infidelity or whatever it may be,

but I’m happy that I live in an age where if a man or woman have an I’m-never-changing-and-you-have-to-deal-with-it attitude for decades, then you have the ability to choose a healthier life for you and your kids much more easily than it was back then.

Please stop with the “I came from a generation where if something was broken, you fixed it,”

making the assumption that every person who’s walked through divorce is one of the “non-fixers”.

Will some give up too easily? No doubt.

Do you know what goes on behind closed doors? Definitely not.

I LIKE being able to stay at home with my kids and still have one foot in the working world due to the internet.

I like having a college degree.

I like knowing the ingredients of what I put in my body.

And just because you couldn’t creep on your teenagers’ social media, and just because they may have been too scared to tell you their mistakes, doesn’t mean they didn’t go through it,

because let me tell you, my grandparents have some stories!

You can pretend like the 1950s weren’t filled with alcoholism and gambling.

You can pretend that hippies didn’t indecently expose themselves in front of children in the 60s.

You can pretend that there were no dangers of growing up in the 70s but I’ve seen ‘Abducted in Plain Sight’ and that claim is just garbage.

I don’t identify as a feminist. In fact, I feel as if I’m pretty stereotypically “old-school”.

I’m a stay-at-home mom. I love having kids. Being at my own home makes my heart happy. My husband and I share a joint bank account. I may have even fared pretty well in the 1950s.

In an ideal world, all husbands and wives would be good ones; they’d all seek the Lord to guide their marriage.

In an ideal world, spouses forced to stay in marriage would eventually strengthen their bond and improve together.

In an ideal world, all babies would be born at just the right gestation, not needing updated technology to survive in an unforgiving society.

The bad news is–we don’t live in an ideal world.

The good news is–there is an ideal place within our reach,

but it’s not here and it’s not in the 1950s.

And if anyone brags about their era of simplicity, they must also accept that time period’s resistance towards racial and gender equality.

Please don’t tell me that owning a smartphone makes me a distracted mom, I’ll remind you that willpower is as old as time and it allows me to set it down and turn it off.

Please don’t make general statements about millennial women dressing promiscuously, coming from a woman who chooses to dress modestly.

I truly value advice from the women who’ve been before me. I actually prefer to surround myself with women who are older. I will be the first to thank you for your helpful advice, for your compliment, for your kind statement,

but I can’t help but dismiss any ugliness that’s disguised as helpfulness, when it comes to backhanded comments.

This isn’t targeted toward every woman living in a certain space in time, but rather the ones who voice opinions about my parenting but haven’t walked a day in my having-children-in-the-second-millennium shoes.

In my best Regina George voice,

“Stop trying to make the 1950s happen again, Karen. It’s not going to happen.”

Ignorance may be bliss, but in this fallen world in which we live, sometimes knowledge IS power.

When we know better, we do better.

So I’ll continue to navigate parenting in this foreign world without listening to complaints of how entitled and distracted and misbehaving our kids will turn out because of our resistance to old-and-proven ways and our “participation trophy” mentality.

I’ll continue to raise my young boys and reach young girls and build a godly home while the world reminds me that I’m just “chilling at the house”.

I’ll refuse to waste mental space worrying about what moms did before me in a society much different from mine.

I’ll do the best with the hand that I’m dealt and I’ll shamelessly find joy in my present.

I’m a parent in the 2000s and I’m just not mad about it.

I won’t entertain the toxicity and instead enjoy my own version of mental simplicity.

 

 

 

 

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