With All Our Modern Luxuries, Parenting is Harder than it was 20 Years Ago

I was recently at a friend’s daughter’s birthday party, a family friend of theirs made a remark that stuck with me. She was a fit grandmother in her 60’s. “You moms have it much harder these days, you are always working too hard.” 

And I have to agree.

With all the modern luxuries we have today, there are pressures…expectations…always feeling like you are falling short. Almost 10 years into parenting, I still second guess the choices I make for my children and wonder what will come back to bite me in the future. Am I doing enough for my child to succeed in life? Am I doing too much?

Did I return to the workforce too soon? Should I have had children earlier? Should my kids be involved in more extracurricular activities? Less? Should I discipline my children more, or ease up? Did I make a mistake quitting to breastfeeding to early? These are some of the questions swimming in my head on a daily basis. 

Twenty years ago, moms did not have to worry about CDC warnings, to vaccinate or not vaccinate, making the right play dates for their children, setting the right amount of limitations, and monitoring their every move.

While it may not always have been easy as a parent, my own parents didn’t have the pressures we had. The stigmas were less pronounced and with the lack of social media – or mothers were blissfully unaware of them. There were no Instagram moms posting unrealistic photos of them and their children looking perfect at every moment in exotic locales, or glorious photos of breastfeeding toddlers. There were no cell phones to distract us and our children.

I remember when my second child was potty training at age 3 and a few months. They did not accept him at a certain camp because he wasn’t fully potty trained, and I had to send him to an unfamiliar place with new children and teachers. It made me feel like I was falling short – especially when some of my mom friends worked so hard, with success, to have their children potty trained before age 3. Years later, did it really matter if he was potty trained at 2 1/2 or 3 and some change?   

My mother recently shared when we were kids, during road trips, there was many a time where we sat up front curled in the space below the passenger glove compartment, obviously without seat belts. And I, at the ripe age of nine, would stay home alone at times. I also have clear memories of being left to wait in the car alone while my mother did some grocery shopping. I was probably all of 8-years-old. Somehow we grew up relatively unscathed. 

Back then there was no helicopter parenting, free-range children, or other terminology that is incriminating to people’s parenting styles.

Since when did parenting become so accountable to other peoples’ judgment?

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Dana is a working mom of two active boys, ages 4 and 8. She was born in Tel Aviv and raised in Atlanta. With a background in journalism, she spent 12 years chasing deadlines as a news and documentary producer, writer, international news desk editor, and web editor.  After the birth of her first child, it became obvious she was not going to be the next Katie Couric or Christiane Amanpour. She was still dedicated, but the only thing gained from the grueling weekend and overnight shifts was a case of gastritis. She remembers being "so busy" she could not step away for lunch/dinner/breakfast and would have to shove the food down while hovering over her computer. The disgusting crumbs piling up in the keyboard were hers. As luck would have it, another round of layoffs was near and she seized the opportunity (having survived a few layoffs before). Several months into her severance she was fortunate to find a job in PR and Communications, promoting a subject that felt like a natural fit.   The most important lesson she's learned since becoming a mom is: NEVER say never. "I will NEVER shop at Costco, drive a car with a carpool number, become a 'soccer' mom, live near my parents in a house in the suburbs."  She now does all those things and more she never thought she would with the utmost feeling of gratitude. 


  1. The judgement part is is even crazier because of social media. Everyone has an opinion and sometimes parents are cyber bullied because of their decisions. My mom raises 2 of my sister’s children and we often compare her experience as a grandparent raising kids after raising children 30 years ago.

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