It was acceptable in the 80’s – Part 2

Hi mamas. Right, here’s the flip side to my last blog post on reflecting on your own childhood after having a baby: Here’s five reasons why it will be rubbish to grow up nowadays compared to our halcyon days of the 80s/90s.

1. No cassette tapes
Cassettes are so old school that even my iPhone struggled to auto-spell that bullet point, but despite their archaic and clunky appearance, cassette tapes played a pretty important role in my youth. For two reasons herewith: Taping the charts on Sundays and making your own radio shows.

Looking at the latter, when my sister and I realised we could record our own voices by pressing “play” and “record” at the same time on our ghetto blaster, it was as if the stars had aligned. We embarked upon what can only be described as a monumental campaign to make the world’s best ever radio show about the popular Australian soap opera, Neighbours, and (weirdly) the British royal family. Essentially, we only ever used to interview either Jason Donovan, Kylie Minogue, the Queen or Prince Charles, and due to our budget constraints, our listeners (ahem) had to put up with me doing crap impressions of them. We had HOURS of fun. It was ace. What are kids supposed to do nowadays? Make podcasts? Give me a break.

Secondly, taping the charts on a Sunday afternoon was a fundamental part of being a teenager. I’ve still got tapes somewhere with dodgy recordings of Insanity by Oceanic on them. Additionally, someone told us it was illegal to tape songs at home so we also felt like we were living the thug life. Word.

2. University will leave you owing the national debt
This is something I feel very strongly about. When I went to Uni back in (yikes) 1997, it was pretty much FREE. The local county council gave me a grant which covered my rent, and tuition fees were non-existent. I walked out after graduating in 2000 owing a very manageable £4,500 in student loans.

Although I’m not against paying subsidised tuition fees per se, the fact that Uni students nowadays finish three years of studying owing a minimum of around £30k is absolutely scandalous. And I really REALLY wanted to throw in the F Bomb there but I held back. Talk about education for the elite.

It’s with this in mind that I’ve already started saving up in case Little J wants to go to Uni. Eighteen years of birthday money is not going to cut it anymore! Ok, rant over.

3. You can’t eat alphabites without fear of prison
I’m a big advocate of healthy eating and getting your five a day (in fact, I had KALE for dinner last night – maximum sanctimommy points for kale) but for crying out loud – it’s all gone a bit OTT nowadays. If you tried to give your kids alphabetti spaghetti and crispy pancakes for tea one manic night, there’s a real danger of being incarcerated.

As kids, we ate fresh fruit and veg all the time – but every now and again, we’d have chips for tea. And not oven chips either – chip pan chips. Oh yes!

Everything in moderation I say – even Maccy D’s 🙂

4. Lawsuit crazy
This is a belter – when I was pregnant, I overheard two older ladies in the doctor’s waiting room talking about the fact that they were not allowed to administer asthma inhalers to pupils at the school where they worked unless their parents had sent one in for them with their name stuck on. Even if one of the kids had a life threatening attack. This is the world we live in today, ladies and gentlemen. Bonkers.

Of course, examples like this are commonplace and all stem from a very real fear of being sued – a very American practice which has sadly made its way over the water. When we were kids, people could make mistakes or even fall down holes without either feeling scared of lawyers or immediately looking for somebody to blame (and more importantly, make some money!). Although the compensation culture does have a place in certain situations, I think we can all agree we’d like to return to slightly more “innocent” times, where people don’t cold-call your mobile to enquire about the non-existent accident you had five years ago. Give me strength.

5. Plastic role models.
For years, we’ve looked to models, TV personalities and pop stars for style and beauty inspiration (I speak for girls mainly here, obvs) but never before have these role models been so..well…fake! I feel sorry for teenage girls nowadays, as their idols don’t just have highlights, they have hair extensions, liposuction, plus fake nails, eyelashes, tans, boobs, eyebrows, teeth, lips…not a very positive idea of beauty if you ask me. And I say this as somebody who emphatically embraces hair dye and LOVES make up (and the occasional false eyelash!), I just think it’s gone a bit haywire nowadays.

I can only imagine that having an even more unobtainable idea of being pretty – size zero/botoxed up to the eyeballs/pneumatic teeth/plastic boobs/collagen lips – must make it even harder on already insecure teens. Add in the severe airbrushing that takes place on any image of any woman in any magazine ever, and it’s got to be tough on kids growing up in a society that tells them that looks are everything.

I definitely think it adds to the jobs we already have as parents – ensuring that our beautiful children, girls and boys alike, feel self worth and self confidence in an ever critical and extremely exposed society.

What about you mummies? Anything to add to the list?

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