People change. They evolve, find new things to talk about, and some things become more acceptable. In the 70s, parenting was firmly in the Don Draper of Mad Men mould. Children were to be seen and not heard; Dads were distant; mothers were housewives first and caregivers second. It was an adult world, and kids were expected to just fit into it.
The change began in the 90s but really shifted in the 00s. The advent of social media helped; it soon became acceptable to rant at a brand on Facebook if they let your child down. “Think of the children!” became a popular refrain. September heralded a thousand and one “first day of school” picture posts – which is fine, as long as you talk about other stuff too. An explosion in Mommy blogging confirmed the change.
The backlash was swift. Blogs like STFU Parents began to focus on the downside of this parental over-exposure, the creeping sense of entitlement. We now live in a world where many modern parents have no idea what is actually acceptable anymore. Do you go full on Paparazzi Parent with a thousand and one photos, updates and expectation on the world to provide child-friendly things? Or move back to the dark days of the 70s, where kids grew up in the shadow of their parents?
The answer of course is neither; the best answers are always found in the grey between the black and white. So let’s create a new set of rules, the guide to modern parenting, which hopefully sets no one’s noses out of joint – parent or not.
Thou Shalt Not Post Nothing But Kid Pictures On Social Media
Give it a rest every once in awhile and to be honest, I’m the worst for this! Photograph a dog! Dogs are nice. Or cats; we all know how much the internet loves cats. Your friends and family might like an occasional reminder you’re more than just A Parent, even if you don’t much feel like it. One of the reasons I created an FB page.
Thou Shalt Not Expect Too Much of Adult-Orientated Services
If you go to a restaurant at 10pm with your child and there’s no kid service, don’t be surprised about that. It’s also not realistic to expect the other patrons to not have issues with loud child noises, especially as some of them are there for their own break.
The same goes with holidays; don’t be surprised if the popular 18-30 hotel has parties at 2am in the morning. There’s no excuse for feeling the world should confirm to your standards. There’s a plethora of kid-friendly restaurants and other family holiday destinations, so do everyone a favour and go for those instead.
Thou Shalt Tell Thy Friends What Is Expected of Them
If you want to make a big deal of your child’s birthdays (or even their half-birthdays, which is apparently a thing now), then let people know. Some people don’t care and they extend that to the children of their friends and family. By being expressive and saying something really matters to you, then people can give the effort you want to see. If you’re not open, you might end up feeling let down or offended – and the people who have done it have no idea why.
Now, go forth and parent – just keep your head, be considerate, and keep some of the joys to yourself.