Back in my day…

Tomorrow is my 34th birthday and I thought that now is as good a time as any to start acting like an old lady and list a few things that my kids will either laugh at or not believe from my childhood. Girls if you’re reading this, this is for you!

Back in my day kids would walk to school

Yep. They really did. From the age of 5, many kids would walk to school without adult supervision. No pepper spray. No gps tracking watch. Just a school bag and some friends. I knew of kids who would even carry a set of house keys because when they walked back home after school, there wasn’t anyone waiting for them. So they would go inside, make a snack and hang out for a bit until their parents got home from work.

Back in my day lift clubs were very different

Nowadays kids have to travel in a car seat, by law, until they are a certain weight. With the size of car seats that means a max of 3 kids per car though it’s usually 2. When I was little, there was a lady that would fetch me and SEVEN other kids to take us to and from school. How did 8 kids fit in one tiny hatchback you ask? Well, we were skinny and would squish together or sit on top of one another with six in the back and two in the front passenger seat (which was the favourite seat). And it was fun! Dangerous as anything now that I think about it but fun.

Back in my day there was always a ‘Sweet Aunty’ outside school

There was always a lady outside the entrance of the school who would sell the best stuff. Sweets, sherbet, no name brand chips, chocolate, bubblegum, popsicles and…if you stayed in a predominantly Indian area…she would sell mango pickle or figs and bor in a plastic packet. And it was AMAZING! Spicy, vinegary, sugary goodness. And even though our folks would tell us not to buy it because that stuff really isn’t good for a brand new and still developing digestive system..everyone bought it! Eating mango pickle as you walked in or out of school was perfectly normal.

Back in my day getting an allowance wasn’t a guaranteed thing

Believe it or not, parents didn’t feel obligated to give their kids ‘spending money’ when they provided everything that their child would need. If you had lunch to take to school then why would you need to buy anything? Sounds logical right? Not to mention that it meant children weren’t eating as much processed or junk food as they do now because they simply could not buy any. When I finished school (Grade 12) my allowance was R50 (about $4) and there were many times when I would have money left over from the previous month. I just didn’t need/want that much.

Back in my day we didn’t have cellphones

I got my first cellphone when I started University. I actually can’t remember if I got it as soon as I started or for my 18th birthday that year. But yeah, my parents thought cell phones were the devil until very recently. Now that I have kids I have to say that I see where they were coming from. No cellphones meant…

Back in my day we didn’t have social media

Yep. There was literally no way to know what your friends were up to unless you spoke to them face to face or over the landline. Everyone lived their lives with relative privacy and only shared information about their lives when they were asked. This is probably why I remember having so much of free time when I was in school. I didn’t have updates to check or statuses to post.

Back in my day we didn’t have TV shows on demand

If we liked a series we would literally have to wait an entire week between episodes. A whole 7 days. Binge watching was not a thing. Not to mention that TV shows were usually only aired once so unless you set up your VCR (google it) to record the episode then you missed it and that was that. Yet again I realize why I had so much of free time in my youth. We didn’t watch that much tv.

Back in my day we didn’t have play dates

My mum didn’t feel the pressure to constantly entertain me on school holidays. If my parents friends had kids then we would play when we got together but meeting just for the sake of us kids to play was not a thing. That’s what siblings and cousins were for. If you didn’t have a sibling handy then you found a way to entertain yourself. It was up to the kids to find creative ways to keep themselves occupied while their parents were busy. If there is anything I need to enforce more in our lives it is this. It is ok for kids to be bored!
Don’t get me wrong, the point of this post is not to say that I had an awesome childhood because of the above. The point of the post is that I had an awesome childhood in spite of the above. I don’t expect my girls to live by the same rules. The world that they live in is a far cry from my childhood.
My kids will not walk to school unless I am walking along with them and have my stun gun in my handbag.
There is no way my girls will travel without being properly strapped into a car seat even if we are driving down the road.
I will vociferously prohibit the buying of any sweets from random strangers outside school or anywhere that isn’t a proper store because selling drugs to kids is a reality that we have to live with.
Even though I know that having a cell phone opens up a whole world that kids are not old enough to understand and process, I will rather they have the means to contact me immediately should they need to. Not to mention that NOT having a cell phone would be social suicide and that sometimes leads to actual suicide these days with the type of peer pressure kids are under.
I adore play dates. As a stay at home Mum it’s one of the best ways to meet my mum friends and have a catch up so the play dates are as much for me as for the girls. I’ll try not to micromanage their free time though.
I’m not sure what kids generally get these days as a monthly or weekly allowance and I’m quite scared to find out but that’s a hurdle I don’t need to cross just yet thank goodness.
What are some of the things from your childhood that you know your kids will scoff at?

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