A few days ago the dinnertime conversation in my family was comparing what my kids eat to what my husband & I ate growing up. We came to the conclusion that if our parents had made us eat what our kids willingly eat, well, then we probably wouldn’t have survived childhood.
This got us to thinking about how our life with kids is so different from our parent’s lives with kids. We made a list, because, well, we’re list people. What we realized is that while we grew up in very different situations, and while our life looks very different now, we’ve taken part of each world and made it into our own.
1. FAST FOOD
Jason grew up in a city, I grew up in the country. Jason’s family visited restaurants several times a month and would do pizza or fast food at least once a week.
The nearest restaurant and pizza place were 20 minutes away, and there was one of each, and they were owned by the same people. If we wanted fast food we had to drive into the nearest town, which was a 40 minute drive. We loved that when we went to visit our grandmother, who lived in a large city two hours away, she’d take us to Wendy’s.
Today, even in my rural town, fast food is everywhere. Be that as it may, we don’t eat fast food very often, maybe once a month or less. There are plenty of sit down restaurants nearby but we only visit those on special occassions, and rarely with all 5 kids in tow.
2. HOME COOKING
Jason’s mother was a stay-at-home mom until he was a teenager. He remembers eating chicken & yellow rice quite often, as well as biscuits & gravy, hot sandwiches and a lot of canned vegetables. (On a side note, maybe that’s why he doesn’t like vegetables.)
I had two working parents but because we lived so far in the country we had a huge garden. Some years we had one main garden and two smaller ones just for onions. My dad grew peppers, tomatoes, corn and beans too. Some of my fondest memories are of picking produce for dinner and smelling the tomatoes my parents were canning. When we needed spaghetti sauce we didn’t go to the store, we went to the basement where all of our canned goods were stored. We ate a lot of home grown & canned produce, once in a while we’d eat something from a box or can. I remember eating a lot of lasagna, meatloaf, beef stroganoff and a fresh green salad was available every night in the summer and fall. My dad also loved to grill burgers, which we called stink burgers since he put onions in them
Today we cook 95% from scratch. I can’t say 100% because I don’t make my own noodles or spaghetti sauce (yet!). We don’t eat a lot of meat. We have a small container garden but the HOA has rules against in-grown gardens. My kids, however, have very diverse palates. Three of my kids list sushi as their favorite food and they’re just as likely to eat korma as they are a hamburger.
Jason’s family had cable television as soon as it was available, and before that they got a lot of channels over the air. Television was a big part of their family. My mother-in-laws tells a funny story about how my father-in-law loved watching documentaries and always seemed to watch gross nature documentaries during dinner.
Cable wasn’t available in my area until I was a young teen, until then we used rabbit ears to get a handful of channels, two of which were PBS. It wasn’t until I left for college that I experienced full service cable. We had two televisions in our house; the color television was in the family room and my parents had a small black & white tv in their bedroom. When we got older we were allowed to have a small television in our bedroom but as we didn’t have cable they weren’t of much use. We didn’t watch much television, we were too busy playing in the garden and hiking in the woods.
Today we live without cable and we live in some kind of air signal dead zone. Even with the fancy digital converter box we can’t get any free stations. We cut the cable in 2007 when we were paying around $80/month for HD satellite and DSL. We now pay $30/month for cable internet and we are able to stream Netflix (about $8/mo), Hulu (free) and YouTube through our tvs. We also have one tv hooked up to the computer in my bedroom so we can watch pretty much anything on it.
And guess what…despite not having cable or satellite television we still watch too much tv!
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. We also talked about entertainment, after school activities, field trips and more. I’ll save those for later though
So tell me, how does YOUR life today differ in these aspects from the life you led as a child?