Mothers who now have grandchildren watch in astonishment as their offspring tend to the children, and the elder moms wonder how these young parents manage to find time and energy to do all they do.
Caring for children takes an inordinate amount of time – just to make sure they are well fed, clean, clothed and safe. Add in day care and school, with all their requirements of diaper bags, lunchboxes and backpacks, plus transportation here and there and back.
Parents might do their own jobs while the kids are occupied during the day. Afternoons might be filled with sports, ballet class, cheer team, art club, library visits, or trips to the park.
For kids in school, there’s usually homework and the next day’s attire to tend to. Piano practice. Watch me twirl! Let’s play catch!
And don’t forget that science project that’s due tomorrow – the one just mentioned on the ride home. “You’re supposed to create an animal that lives in the tundra? And you’re supposed to build it? No, we don’t have a bag of feathers! Tonight???”
And all of the above might be just a regular Monday.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the craziness my husband and I “enjoyed” while raising two boys. No, actually, THAT was a lie. I don’t miss it that much. Memories of life at the speed of light wear me out. I’m exhausted just typing about it.
I am generally impressed (and perplexed) by today’s parents of youngsters. How do they manage to do all they do (and stay reasonably sane) in the same 24-hour day that I have?
At the same time I’m impressed by these children with children, I’m a bit concerned that many of them don’t show a little more respect and understanding for their elders in general. But maybe that’s partly the fault of the elders.
There are things about getting older that no one tells younger people. We expect that our knees will go “bad,” our back will ache, our hair might fall out and we’ll get wrinkles. We just don’t tell the kids.
But nobody ever mentioned that there would come a day – even pre-COVID – when we would become homebodies. Many of us prefer not to go to an event simply because there will be a large crowd. Crowds get loud and muffled, and our ears don’t work like they used to.
I used to thrive on the energy of a crowd at a banquet or fundraiser, but no longer do I look forward to attending every single one of them in town.
I used to dance on picnic tables on the lawn at the Hilton Head Inn. In the daylight. In my swimsuit. (Yes, I was 27 and had all the time and energy in the world.) These days, someone has to drag me onto the dance floor for the “all dance” at a wedding. I’m glad it’s not popular to dance at funerals and memorials. I go to far more of those these days.
When I was in my 30s, I kept up with technology – lame as it was, compared to now. Nobody warned me that there would come a time when my innate intelligence wouldn’t help me figure out how to work all the features on the cell phone/computer I would someday carry in my pocket. And Lord help me if I have to reconnect Netflix to the TV!
So yes, we might slow down as we get older – our energy, our ambition, our brains. It makes sense, because we spent all that in the years we were racing around, worrying about and providing for the kids.
So, kids, maybe cut us some slack, be kind, be patient, and remember we used to live at warp speed too – while we took good care of you.