I feel as though I straddle two different worlds. My childhood was during the 1970s so I remember life before the technology we think of as essential today: computers, answering machines, VCRs, video games, calculators, cordless phones, cell phones, remote control TVs, etc. I can put myself in that time and know what it was like to need change for a pay phone, have no way of getting in contact with someone quickly, and watching only three television channels. I learned to use a computer my last year of college. I didn’t own a cell phone until I was in my thirties.
But now I make a living via technology along with the husband I met via technology. I’m the older mom of daughter who is currently in elementary school. She truly has no concept of a world without technology. I am surrounded by parenting peers who grew up with technology. It is a natural part of their lives. It’s like another world.
For all the benefits of technology (such as sharing life with those who read here), I think it is also incredibly harmful to many women today. I think I can see it more clearly because I know life without it. The expectations we put on ourselves due to the constant stream of unrealistic ideas we see paraded before us is craziness. I think this goes for both moms and teachers.
Childhood Crafts from the 1970s
The crafts below are from my 1970s childhood. They are all things I made in public elementary school (except the square candle which my younger brother made). My mom had saved these in a box and passed them along to me.
What’s striking to me is that I remember making all of them. It’s also striking that my mom saved them all these years. I remember them and she saved them because we didn’t do crafts all the time. It was a special occurrence to do something like this. I can think of a couple of other crafts I did that aren’t in the picture, but that’s it.
This is a candle made in a milk box from a school lunch. The teacher probably collected the milk cartons from the kids who bought their lunch or bought their milk. This candle, decorated with glitter to make it special, was a gift for my mom.
This is a candle holder I made in art class that was fired in a kiln. (Fancy!) Those are the beeswax candles we dipped. I believe this was a Christmas gift for my parents.
Christmas tissue wrapping paper made at school.
A candle made in a ice cream cone. With more pink glitter. The glitter was a BIG DEAL, FOLKS! That was a special project to add GLITTER. We did not have endless crafting supplies at our disposal. There was no Hobby Lobby or Michael’s or Amazon. Glitter was special and carefully hoarded for very. special. projects. I don’t think I personally owned any glitter until I was in a sorority in college. This was also a gift.
(Do you notice a pattern that crafts were for gifts? They weren’t for just because the kids need something to do.)
So why do I share this?
Mommy Guilt and Unrealistic Expectations
In this age of Pinterest, we are constantly bombarded by over-the-top (and often expensive) craft projects. We feel the subtle pressure that we should be doing these things as well. We have moms (and teachers) running around thinking they are epic failures if they don’t have fancy crafts for their kids to do every week. They think every unit needs to have a “culminating project” or it’s a bad unit. Homeschooling moms get the double dose since they are responsible to be not only mom but teacher as well.
It’s truly not necessary.
I wrote a few years ago about how I don’t plan crafts for Caroline. I don’t. Because she is very creative, I do make a lot of materials available to her in a well-stocked craft cabinet. I will buy her craft kits if she requests them, but I have planned almost no crafts for her. I refuse to buy into the mommy guilt and expectations paraded before me all the time.
I’m thankful for the perspective of a non-technological childhood, something that is rapidly becoming lost to history. I’m thankful that it allows me to see beyond the ridiculous expectations and pursue a simpler approach to parenting.
If you are tempted to feel burdened or overwhelmed in this area of your parenting journey, I encourage you to resist as well.
Caroline’s Craft Essentials
Felt Fabric SheetsChenille Stems/Pipe CleanersAleene’s Original Tacky GlueSharpie Color Burst Permanent Markers, Fine PointDuct Tape 6-PackMini Hot Glue GunPony Beads Multi ColorElmer’s 3D Washable Glitter Pens
Yes!! Thank you. I feel the exact same way, and I wish I’d read this post as a brand new mom. Thank you for sharing it.
You are very welcome, Emily! We all have things we wish we knew when we were brand new moms. I know I do!
I thought I was the only Mom who felt like a complete failure in this realm of motherhood. I am 42 and have a 7 year old son and a 5 year old son. I have always thought that the younger mothers accomplish all of the things I am not able to do given my full time work schedule and my age. It really does make one feel guilty when you think you are not able to do all of the things that other moms seems to do. My boys also go to a private school and most of the mothers do not have outside employment. I also grew up without technology and I resist becoming a slave to it as well. We have no cable TV and the boys are not allowed to use computers or tablets yet. I figure they will have plenty of time to use tech in the future. I just want them to enjoy a simple childhood now. Thanks for this post.