When I look back, I feel that compared to the over involved parents of today, our parents were more chilled out or let’s say detached. Objectively I am not a helicopter parent either. I was just reminiscing how they were so much more carefree when it came to their kids. Here are some things our mums did that we hardly do now:

1. Push our kids to take public transport:

I traveled to my school in South Bombay on a public bus with my brother. It involved walking 1 km. from each bus stop daily. My parents never once came to the bus stop. And we had no mobile phones back in those days. Can you imagine us doing the same?

Oh and my brother was in 4th grade and I was in 7th grade. My older son started taking public buses regularly since last year, and I am among very few moms who pushed for it. Most parents are glad to pick up and drop their kids even when their kids are in late teens.

2. Let us play outdoors without having any clue where we were for hours:

Do you remember this? I do. We could be playing outdoors and then moved base to our neighborhood friend’s home where our snacks were invariably taken care of. These days, we need parents to call us if our child lands at their place or the child to inform us before going to a neighbour’s hours. Not to mention the mobile phones that we instruct our kids to carry at all times.

3. Let us worry about our own studies:

I don’t know about your parents but my mum had no clue when I had which test or exam. Rather mum and dad would peacefully go to bed without even asking if we were adequately prepared for the next day’s whatever.

Also, they had to watch their TV no matter if it was our exams. These days there is a curfew at homes when kids have tests or exams even if the child is in kindergarten! Parents seem to be more hyper than kids checking and rechecking if their kids had studied.

4. Let us participate in activities for the joy of it:

Seriously, our mums were not planning our dance, singing, horseriding, drama classes while wondering how to fit in other activities in our schedule. For my siblings and I, free time meant playing outdoors with friends or wasting time doing mundane activities like chatting, reading or just giggling.

There was no schedule that we had to follow. I have tried to be similar with my kids but I know of mums who are rushing their kids from one class to another or feel down if the child loses so much as a colony competition. I know of a mum who made her child cheat in a drawing competition held in the colony. Truly lowly and I wonder what the child learned.

5. Not tag along with bulky cameras or mobile phones to capture every moment of our lives:

Okay my parents were of a generation when there were no mobile phones. They were also not much for nostalgia or documenting memories. I remember them skipping a few of our stage performances in school and college.

These days, God forbid if you miss the silly Annual Day performance at school, your kid will give you hell because all other parents turned up. No matter if your child was wildly flailing their arms on the stage and doing nothing meaningful. Also the obsession with taking too many pics driving the kids and family nuts.

6. Not interfere in their kids’ fights:

I mean seriously! My parents would never ever go to pull up another parent just because they scolded us. Their automatic premise was that we must have done something and they never got involved in children’s fights. These days, I’ve had mums coming to my doorstep to fight because their child had gotten into a tiff with my child. How silly is that!

Why as parents have we started to just blindly believe everything that our children tell us? Of course, they get into mischief and trouble. And they would lie to their parents to get out of trouble. Unless it is something serious like bullying or physical hitting, I tell them to handle it themselves. Are we raising dependent entitled kids simply because we want to fight all their battles and are too blind to see our own child’s faults?

7. Not teach things and expect us to pick them up by observation:

I was not initiated into housekeeping chores like folding clothes, ironing clothes, making the bed, cooking, chopping veggies, sweeping, washing dishes and so on. Were you? Didn’t we just hang around our mums, watched them do things and picked them up? At least that was how it was in my home. But now I have to ‘initiate’ my kids into simple activities. I have ‘taught’ both my kids how to iron clothes, fold clothes (seriously!), chop veggies (instructing them not to cut off their finger), basic cooking, sweeping, washing their plates, loading the dishwasher, hanging out the laundry etc.

They seem very apprehensive when given a new task as if the dusting cloth will grow teeth and bite them. And then I actually demonstrate something that I wonder ought to be common sense. My husband on the other hand has a perfect way to do everything. He diligently tells them the merits of following his approach. 🙂

While the post is written in a lighter vein, I really wonder if as parents we have made our lives a lot more stressful by constantly worrying about mundane things and driving our children and ourselves nuts.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this and if you are a parent whether you agree with some of these?

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31 Thoughts on “7 Things Our Mums Did that We Hardly Do Now

  1. I think a part of it has to do with the fact that the world has probably become more dangerous now and it’s too risky to leave them alone for a long time without knowing where they are. But yes, I think we stress out ourselves in the other sphere much more as compared to our moms. Perhaps, a part of it has to do with the fact that social media has crept into our minds in one way or the another. There is always this pressure. And even when you don’t take the pressure, it has to be a conscious decision to stay away from it all.

    • The world has either become more risky or maybe more of such incidents are being reported. But any which way, we are really stressing ourselves out. You have hit the nail on the head by pointing out about social media. It influences and makes us question our own behaviour. And of course the constant tom tomming and seeking validation. My biggest concern is that we are not equipping them with enough life skills because of our protective nature.

  2. We had a very sheltered childhood, we weren’t much into outdoor play either and yet we were using public transport by the time we hit our teens and our school was really really far away. You’re right when you say our parents were way more relaxed than we are today. However times have changed – the world is more unsafe, competition is so much harder and even the children are way more stressed than we ever were courtesy school and peers. My takeaway from your post is to give the kids more freedom and to let them be more often despite my worries and expectations and hope that they will turn out fine.
    Obsessivemom recently posted…I know you love me less than himMy Profile

    • They will turn out fine, Tulika. The thing is we build so many castles in our head. My child is being left behind. This whole scenario of tom tomming and getting validation especially through social media. Luckily, it was not there in our childhood. I think we are making our children more scared and pressured and perhaps not equipping them enough with important life skills due to our protective approach.

  3. You hit the nostalgia button for me, Rachna.
    Parenting was much more care free when I was growing up, too. Of course, my parents set limits but they didn’t monitor us minute by minute. We learned to take our decisions. There was more of a sense of community. And more time to just be and enjoy the simple moments of life.

  4. I actually envy the way our parents and the generation befoe had it a bit more relaxed and carefree. But then the world has changed, our environment and exposure is different too, hence the cautiousness we as parents exert is present these days. For example, in a city like delhi, you would think twice before sending your child out to play on her own. ANd the same thing goes to public transport. there are safety issues, as well others related to the city in itself. And when getting to exams, well we do over fret about it at most times, but I feel the pressure the schools mount has increased too.

    Its sad but true, Sigh!

    • I can’t comment about Delhi but here where I live is a safe, gated community. We can be okay with letting our children out for play. We don’t need to tail them. And the public transport here is quite safe. Eventually our kids have to know how to cross roads and have basic functional skills like getting an auto or cab. I am not sure if the schools are putting more pressure. I see my kids having many more extra curricular activities compared to my days. Most time, I tell them to handle their projects on their own. But you must see other parents who do beautifully designed stuff for their kids. Why? I think we are inserting themselves and doing much more than is needed, required or expected. It is like a blind herd we all seem to be following.

  5. Just what my childhood was made of. My parents did not even come to pick my SSC result or for admissions. These were tasks we had to do and there was nothing online. We used to go to colleges by asking directions without even a map. But we survived. And here we are. I am also getting my boys to do their own stuff. But now must get them to do housekeeping.

    • Me too. I had to go get my own forms, went with friends. And like you pointed out, we had no online help either. I remember that I had to commute a fair distance to go to a library for reference work for a particular project at college. My work my headache! But now we want to facilitate everything. I wonder what is the right approach to follow.

  6. Truer words haven’t been spoken before, Rachna. Trust you to write something like this, the way it is.

    I was a very rough and tough child. I remember playing on the streets, studying on my own, taking public transport or walking for miles, kicking and hitting other kids without the interference from my parents. And I turned out pretty good, I think 🙂

    As Naba says, yes, the world has become more dangerous now so parents have to be very careful. But I also feel that now parenting has become a status symbol, a competition and kids and their achievements have become something that parents need to show-off. There is nothing wrong in a child using public transport, but parents feel that it will hinder their status and recognition. I don’t understand if it a battle between the parents and their children or just within themselves. Or with the society we live in.
    Soumya recently posted…Book Review: The Husband’s SecretMy Profile

    • Thank you. Soumya. It troubles me to see how we walk on eggshells around our kids these kids. Is it any wonder that so many of them find it emotionally difficult to cope? Yes, the world is certainly more dangerous now. And it helps to constantly talk to our kids and let them know the dangers. I am not sure if monitoring them 24X7 is an answer though.

      And you are right. Children are projects now to be tom tommed. We are such scared parents and we transfer all our fears to our kids. We hardly let them do anything by themselves if you take a look. I think there is too much interference and involvement of parents which I find very strange. Perhaps the society has changed or maybe we are going insane trying to keep up.

  7. Since I belong to the earlier generation, I guess my kids got all that too, just as you did. One of the things that I didn’t do then, even when my contemporaries were doing was to force my boys into activities and hobbies just to give them the ‘exposure’. They chose their own and continued or dropped them as they wished. And yes, they chose their career paths too – without any interference from us. I feel that most parents these days have converted their kids into some sort of ‘projects’ to be completed to perfection. And so they push themselves and their kids.
    Zephyr recently posted…What makes for ‘authentic’ food?My Profile

    • That’s true, Zephyr. I didn’t push them into activities as well but I was sticking out like a sore thumb. And I really thought about my decision many times. You are right. Some people do look at their kids as some kind of projects and also somehow wish them to be what perhaps they could never be.

    • I tend to agree with Zephyr and second her views! Most parents push the agenda that they could not pursue through their children. It is distressing to see the tiny tots being asked and that too in KG school itself what they need to do and learn. As a result, most children are now becoming more sissy than the earlier generations.
      Rahul Bhatia recently posted…Awaiting Good TimesMy Profile

  8. Absolutely loved this post Rachna! These are points that I can totally empathize with. Point 7 especially! What we assumed was common sense seems to be something requiring YT tutorials! I think our parents got away easier bringing us up. We on the other hand being blessed with relatively more income, luxuries, and probably more time are a lot more indulgent. This indulgence I would say is the culprit! However if you don’t indulge while other parents are doing so, that’s a problem too! Sigh a catch 22 situation!

    • Thank you, Kala. Glad you connected with the post. I think our parents definitely had it easier and we did turn out fine. I wonder how we fell into this competition and walking-on-egg-shells rut?

  9. Oh I so agree. I cannot imagine doing 1 or 2, but I’d happily do 3, 4 & 5. As far as 6 goes – it’s a rule with me, I absolutely do not interfere in kids fights, unless like you said, it’s serious, which more often than not, it’s not. Now as far as 7 goes, I really need to get better with that. I personally have to learn to let go and not be obsessive about how things are done as long as they are done. Like they say, done is better than perfect.
    Shantala recently posted…January 2018 – The Month That Was #ChattyBlogs February LinkyMy Profile

    • I know. We can’t imagine doing 1 and 2. Personally I stay in a relatively safe community and hence only worry once they are not home by the given time. I know better done than perfect is my motto as well.

  10. This was hilarious, and oh, so true, Rachna!
    Why has there been this change in life, I wonder! Of course, change is the order of this world, but even parenting to have undergone such a major change feels a bit ridiculous!
    I think parents today are a bit too protective about kids because of all that goes around us. Back when we were kids, our world was safer as compared to today. The atmosphere wasn’t as competitive as today and the idea of one-upmanship was all but nonexistent in our days.
    Wonder what the future generations will have to go through!
    Shilpa Gupte recently posted…Top 10 motivational songs from Bollywood!My Profile

  11. I admire how you’ve sorted out the points so clearly in your mind, Rachna! I get what you mean to say and as a millennial parent, I’ve been still doing all except 1 & 2. Let’s say it is the fear of child abuse, bullying or pitching in something unwanted to our kids by others. Yes, it was all happening in our days too and yes, it’s reported more these days. With respect to this aspect, I would say parents are aware today than our parents in those days. Not knowing where our children are playing, with whom and what is definitely not a thing of pride. Most of the then parents wouldn’t have known till today if their children were abused at some point by someone. But as parents of today, we aren’t negligent.

  12. Yeah, we have made our lives more stressful.
    I also think think that the ‘expectations from parents’ these days are much, much more than what our parents were faced with.

  13. I’m so very happy that I can check off these boxes! I guess I disagree with people that we have to change with the times because of safety issues, competition etc. I recognize that I’m lucky to live in a safe neighborhood where I don’t have to worry about where my children would be; my kids don’t have allergies so I don’t have to worry about what they eat; my kids are responsible for their own schoolwork and that is only partially due to the fact that I don’t bail them out when they fail to complete their work etc etc! We live in a city that has very poor public transportation, so that’s one skill they haven’t learnt! And, I am with you about the chores! I get so annoyed when they look helpless and ask for guidance to basic tasks so they get a lot of gaalis from me! Their dad is much more patient! 😀
    Roshni recently posted…The Indian American experience when parents visitMy Profile

  14. I agree on many points here especially on the modern day mums. I have been told about mothers discussing the answers of their kids’ exams questions among themselves even late into the night on whatsapp groups. And it is crazy. Going back in times, my father was always busy at work and mother was involved with us, not over involved. But now that they have become grandparents, they drive me crazy for going easy with Dhruv and push me to be there with him in the park in the evenings. They can do this on phone too.
    Anamika Agnihotri recently posted…Standing slanting #ThursdayTreeLove 12My Profile

  15. You’re right that our parents were way more relaxed than we were. However, life has changed. Times have changed. Safety is an issue, at least in my personal experience.

    That said, we must let them try things, be more independent. Which is what I spoke about in my letting go post recently. It’s harder, not so much because of social media but because of our own experiences, maybe.

    As for kids’ fights, I never interfere. Tell her to work it out on her own, unless there’s physical hitting, which I won’t tolerate.

    I think, with time, we will let them learn these things. May happen later than it did for us, but perhaps that’s the natural order of things today. She’s already showing signs of independence. How we nurture it is important.
    Shailaja Vishwanath recently posted…12 Apps I Absolutely Love and Recommend as a BloggerMy Profile

  16. Rachna everything you say is cent per cent true.The other truth,that the environment in our country today is not as safe as it used to be; is also true.Today’s mothers are faced with Hobson’s choice.They are forced to be very careful;but this stresses the children as well as them.

  17. Yes Rachna! To all of these. The poor old camera never made it out as a rule and then we’d all aged another year by the time the pictures were developed!! I have to say I do try to do all of these things and not facilitate the proverbial spoon feeding and parenting. No 2 is a little bit different here in London now but with all of these things we have to give our children the opportunity to grow in confidence and problem solve. My biggest fear is the amount of kids that don’t have these life skills. Thanks for sharing with #tweensteensbeyond. It’s great to have you back.
    Nicky Kentisbeer recently posted…How Old Do You Have To Be To Get a Saturday Job?My Profile

  18. Times have certainly changed Rachna and with it the style of parenting. I have tried to follow my own parents’ lead in terms of raising my teens and encouraged them to take responsibility and be independent from an early age in relation to most things. One of the biggest lessons of parenting is learning to let go, which whilst not easy is necessary. I confess to being a bit of a worrier and do ask for regular communication from them when they are out and about, but a large part of that is down to the nature of life as a teenager in London, there are so many more crimes against individuals than previously. All in all I am pretty proud of how my teens have turned out so far. There is definitely room for improvement with household activities but what they don’t learn now they will pick up later when they are away from home and have no choice. Thanks for sharing this post with us, lovely to see you again. #TweensTeensBeyond

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