The Internet seems to be blowing up with nostalgia for the summers of the 70s and 80s. There's a longing for a freer, more down to earth approach to parenting and life. I get that. I hate the feeling that I need a vacation from my vacations. And I sometimes worry I base more of my parenting choices on fear of judgment than actual conviction.
Here's a breakdown of what I miss and what I would never revisit:
No Need for a Time Machine
Who did we think we were fooling? The smoke didn't care if you were sitting in smoking or non. As a kid, I was never that grossed out by this because I didn't know any different. Now, it strikes me as the equivalent of salmonella or non. No thank you on this one, 80s.
My parents were pretty good about making us use sunscreen, but I definitely had some of those burns where you peel like a growing iguana. At the time, it seemed like a summer ritual, but now the memory reminds me to make a long overdue appointment with a dermatologist.
I happen to like my voice controlled remote control and digital guide. I like to DVR shows and to press pause and rewind when my husband is talking through a joke on Modern Family. Yes, there's a certain nostalgia for my three channel childhood of static and getting up to change the channel, but these circumstances pushed me to watch a lot of bad TV. Now I can choose to watch bad TV and do it in style.
Call up Doc Brown
As far as I know, red dye #5, corn syrup and trans fat were not buzz words. We'd yet to hear of acai, quinoa, or kale (at least in my circles). I'm not saying I want my boys to eat a lot of processed food, chemicals or fat, but I am saying it must have been nice to worry about mold and expiration dates rather than GMOs and going organic. Besides, Kool-Aid, Cheeze Whiz, Handi-snacks, Tang, and Hamburger Helper have that "so bad they're good" thing going on. And they'd be even better if you had no idea they were bad.
Less Screen Time
In the 80s, the only screen we were warned about was the one on the window of the microwave (it's a miracle I have children today as I stood in front of it watching my food spin many a time.). Nowadays, I'm not just concerned about my son's affection for app time, but about my own dependency on my phone for entertainment, information and connection. Living without that distraction and perceived need is pretty appealing.
My mom made me a Care Bear when she couldn't find the one I wanted in stores. According to her, it was hideous and she threw it away as soon as she could safely do so. Still, she made it out of love and not to look like Martyr Mom on Facebook.
For a lot of years, I got a microwave cake on my birthday. Does anyone remember those? Not Instagram worthy.
Because it took time to develop a roll of film, our lives weren't always on immediate display. We didn't know what the rest of the world was doing either. I miss the freedom of not having to publish our lives (ironic for a blog writer, I know).
So, there you have it. I think the biggest thing I miss-that we all miss-is that we were children then in a world where the adults we loved had yet to fail us, where we weren't aware of the things we should have been afraid of and where there was still some magic left in our worlds. These are the things I hope to give my own sons, no matter the era we live in.
What did you love about the 80s? What could you do without?