Monday, March 23, 2009

The Old Days or The New Days- What do you think?

I have read in other peoples comments that they never know what they will get over here. Today won't be any exception to that.

Recently I went to a baby shower and noticed a lot of new inventions that modern women require to care for infants. We now have Babies R Us stores. Huge stores devoted to all things needed to raise a baby. At this shower the MIL mentioned that the registry list was 17 pages long.

Deep breath, slowly relax, exhale, can you feel it coming? 17 pages!!

What the heck for? For one year? By the way we made our gifts.

Do we even know how to live simply anymore and just enjoy life? Where is the home and hearth? I would really like to know from young mom's why this is essential? Is it just cute? Does it make you feel like a better mother? Do you feel like your baby will fare better? Do you work at a job or at home with the baby? How much does all this cost? Where do you put it? Does it resell well second hand?

Here is the point. Some where along the way of our consumerism mentality we bought off a big chunk of what might be nonsense from somewhere, and some one; probably marketers. Marketers that have a vested interest in keeping young mothers busily working in the job force with their babies in day care. It keeps the wheels of progress turning. It keeps the coffers in the economy full. But what of home making? What of the heart?

I was poor when I had my baby so there was no choice. I had no skills to market so I took care of her myself. I did most everything the way I had learned from my own mother and as inexpensively as possible. Just for comparison let me tell what I actually had and used for my baby.

I had a baby back pack. That was my biggest splurge, on something really not necessary because it was a cool way to travel. It just didn't take a lot of effort to put "the little", in there and take off. I had a front carrier when she was teeny and put her in that to do house work, and be busy and just let her sleep. It was a kind of long extended pregnancy, but you know little newborns never let you sit down anyway! They always want to be walked so why not?

I had an umbroller stroller again for convenience it was small, portable and easy for me to tote along and use. A crib and a high chair.

My grandmother, my mother, and I all used the kitchen sink to bathe a baby. You put down a towel alongside the sink. Wash and soap the little fella and then using the football hold and firm grip around the arm pit you wash their hair and then sit em in the water, they love it. Easy peasy. No mess, no fuss, no bulky plastic tub with a humongous frog face on it. No tub to put in the tub, oh my aching back. I may be crazy but a lot of babies that I meet smell like they need a bath, maybe it's because of all the rigmarole to wash them.

A high chair is pretty nice, one of those little clip on chairs that can hook on the side of your table are really cool. I'd actually like to get one of those again for little visitors. Baby food was people food ground up or just soft foods like mashed potatoes, bananas, and cooked cereals. A burp rag was a clean diaper or cloth. We didn't have wipes. We used a warm wash cloth.

Recently I saw a picture of "cloth" diapers on a post. I almost fell out. These are really fancy pants shaped like a butt onezies with velcro and a whole host of other gadgets. Plastic wraps.
I busted out laughing, cloth diapers? Anyone out there besides me remember a real cloth diaper?
They are soft white rectangles of cotton cloth. They are FOLDED by you after you wash them. They are pinned on with diaper pins, that may have little ducks on the tips in pink, yellow, or blue. Then you put plastic pants over that. Let me tell you about poop duty with cloth diapers. First you shake out what isn't squished, you hope it isn't squished. Then you stick your hand into the toilet with the poopie diaper and vigorously swish that diaper around enough to get the bulk of the evidence to rinse off. You then put that diaper into a diaper pail that has some detergent and water in it to soak until you have a whole load of wash. Pleasant experience isn't it? You then wash your hands up to your elbows with pine sol and hope you don't have any hangnails. It is very nice to hang them on a clothes line to dry, they "air out". The sun bleaches them and babies skin faired better with less rashes when the diapers were dried outside. We had to go to a laundry mat. I put my baby daughter in a red wagon along with her diaper pail and we walked to the laundrymat.

So why then if we have disposable diapers, do we need, disposable diaper baggies, and disposable diaper pails? Tying it up in a Walmart shopping bag those ones we have hundreds of and putting it outside in the garbage can. would save money.

I am not even going to get started on all the baby hygiene products, toys, computer things, training things, baby genius devices, DVD's, CD's and actual entire TV stations of programming for the little baby to become an Einstein. This scares me. What kind of people will these infants be? What happened to holding and rocking? To patta cake and mud pies? To scooting around under foot with pots, pans, and spoons clattering away and making a racket? Was that really so deprived?

I actually think that why I am a good cook is because I grew up in the kitchen. I grew up under mama's feet. Playing in her cabinets. Handling scraps of biscuit dough or pie dough. Banging around with the pots and pretending to fix something. Which progressed to standing on a chair to watch. Standing on a chair to help. Bringing something to mother. Becoming tall enough to stir, tall enough to pour, all those things that made me feel so special and important. It was a big deal to pour milk. Now we poke a straw into a disposable sac or box.

I'm not saying these things are bad. They may be fun to use. I am just raising questions in our faltering economy about what we are doing and why do we do it? Why do we buy all this stuff and then have to go to a job to pay for it? Does it make us happier? My days of being a young mother are way in the past. My big splurge was a backpack. My indispensable item a play pen. I never had a baby swing, a baby tub, or any computer toys. So what do you think? Were we deprived? Is it all that it's cracked up to be? Speak up or forever hold your peace!


DaNella Auten said...

Way megga deprived... I'd almost consider having another just to get more toys! Well not really, he's fixed, and I have no other sources.



Heidi said...

WOW - you said what I have felt about raising my boys. Poor Milk Dud is wearing hand me downs of Big Sons - he is 10. Yes, I saved baby cloths for 10 years and they are SO out of 'style'...but I didnt spend a frigin penny on em either... I have real cloth diapers, but I have velcro ones too.. I can use them to often, because the boys all have their dads fragile skin - darn pale Norskies'.. LOL I dont have all the gadgets. I have an old 'washpan' that was my great grandmothers. All of us kids bathed in it and my granny gave it to me to bathe my kids in. I have pictures of milk dud in it so I will post them for you. NOW, I am going to say somthing that will make people throw things at me... ready - young woman are spoiled.... there, its out in the open.

farmlady said...

Wow! I'm with you 100% here.
Mom's and baby "stuff" have become big business and new moms think that they can't live without all the bells and whistles.
Most kids have so many toys that there is no room for anything else in the house. The toys are everywhere and the kids don't even know what they have because they have so much..., and nothing is special to them. They have started at the top and there is no where to go, nothing to appreciate.
Babies can't have any discomfort or you're a bad parent. No wonder they grow up thinking that they are the center of the universe. What a shock to find out they aren't.
...and we wonder why there are so many disfunctional young adults.

Chris H said...

Pffft... I used cloth nappies (the real ones) .. and I bathed my babies in a big plastic bowl on the kitchen bench, I didn't have any fancy computer programmes or games or nothing!
Nowdays the Mum's and Dad's want everything going, and so much of it is unnecessary! But, you can't tell them....OH NO... they already know EVERYTHING.

Laura ~Peach~ said...

when we walked through babys r us with stephanie as she was clicking away on items ... her mother and I were telling her how we did things. With cory we had a clothes basket for his bed it sat right beside our bed, the swing and car seat were must haves, a neighbor gave us a high chair when he was about 8 months old and their kid out grew it... I used dry rice and cold water to clean out his bottle...i used cloth diapers ... with pins and jabbed myself a few times and laughed so hard when daddy changed him and picked him up and the diaper fell to the floor... corys favorite toys were empty boxes, pot, with awooden spoon to bang them and potatos to roll across the floor. thats not to say that we did nto keep a box of disposable diapers for when we were out and about and he had toys and such but life was so much easier and all these gadgets and "must haves" just floored me!

Anonymous said...

Just because you didn't have something as a child, doesn't mean it's not a good thing. Some parents do go to excess, but isn't that what we all want? For our children to have a better life than we did?

Michelle said...

I think that Farmlady is right about "Babies can't have discomfort, or you are a bad parent". If kids are not happy these days then it is seen as bad parenting.

Karen Deborah said...

Well this is cool a lively discussion.

Karen Deborah said...

Peach, I had my travel Pampers too, made going somewhere so much easier. But my baby always had a diaper rash when she wore pampers. I used to get pure lanolin by the tubful for that. I've often wondered about the "keeping baby drier" so you can potty train them at 3 years of age. That's another whole post!

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm the oldie here, I guess--my kids were born in 1966 and 1972. I used cloth diapers with both--and we didn't own a clothes dryer til my second child was 17! Later, I had to wash and get football and cheerleading uniforms dry by the space heater we had back then in the wintertime and it worked fine. All year round, I hung out clothes. When they were babies, I was blessed enough to have a lot of hand me downs from relatives and friends. No computer games, very little tv except on Saturday mornings. Things were so different; and yes, I worry about today's kids. My grandchildren are obsessed with the computer--the young one, games, and the oldest with Facebook and MySpace.

I was,like you,a very young mother-- a month before I turned 17, but my husband got a good job at a paper mill (I think it was $2.50 an hour starting pay back then and we learned to live on one paycheck and lived from paycheck to paycheck! My husband always worked shiftwork and I've always stayed at home and done the work that was done there--an "old-fashioned marriage", I guess, but it has worked for 43 years.

Yes, I worry about today's parents and today's kids--I worry and pray!!

Karen Deborah said...

wow Trudy we have quite a bit in common. I was just turned 17 when my daughter was born. I also remember that when I got my drivers license gas was 23 cents a gallon. So was a loaf of bread. I don't feel like I am old, am I old?

Unknown said...

I loved this. So dead on. Kaish always got his bath in the kitchen sink and I didn't buy useless products just so I could be a cool Mom!

Karen Deborah said...

wow Jeff thanks for the info that is cool!

Angela said...

Believe it or not, for my first born, his 'bassinet' was a wicker laundry basket filled with homemade blankets that were made for

Anonymous said...

Ive heard it said that you're only as old as you feel--and I don't think you're old at all!!

Flea said...

I hear ya. My indispensable was a Pack n Play playpen. We were back and forth a lot at my MIL's and it was the second bed. Otherwise I got a LOT of stuff from garage sales and as hand me downs.

I wanted to use cloth diapers, but we lived in my MIL's basement at the time of first child's birth. That would have been nine people using the washer and dryer, including diapers. Just didn't happen. But I don't have a problem with making your own cloth diapers with elastic and velcro. Better fit, less mess. It's really tough, too, to find the old fashioned diapers. And they cost mucho. I looked.

Anonymous said...

I found that I was able to buy good Baby High Chairs for a great price at the It was less costly than elsewhere.