I think motherhood today is much different than it was when our mother’s were raising us. Technology has changed immensely, which has its positive and negatives.
I think technology makes motherhood easier in several aspects. Instead of having to rock a child when he or she is upset, as our mothers had to do, you can put a baby in a batter operated swing. When a child is upset, you can place them in any number of devices that vibrate, rock, and play music, virtually eliminating a mother having to care for her child at all. I have even seen things that are constructed to hold bottles for babies so a mother does not have to take the time to do it themselves. All of these advancements have made motherhood simpler… but at what cost?
Is one on one interaction being lost? Are children getting the affection and direct attention from their loved ones that they once did, and if not, what will the long term impacts be? I am torn. I have found myself using modern devices such as a swing to help put Turner to sleep and the electric breast pump has become my best friend as pumping milk is far easier than fighting Turner to nurse, plus, I would have never been able to return to work with it. But on the other hand, I think it makes me lazy. Not just now, with all the things available to me as a new mom, but in the long term when even educational aspects of motherhood now have fallen to the responsibility of tech giants.
With iPads and such I would not even have to read to Turner if I decided not to because those devices have apps that take care of that for me. Is that better? I just don’t think so.
I understand that 25 years ago, my mother was not raising children with just the basics like our grandmothers were, but they certainly did not have all the luxuries that are afforded to mothers today. I admit I grew up in the breaking ages of video games becoming after school baby sitters, and I truly believe even that interaction with technology and the lack of attention for adults, hindered my development.
I don’t want the same things to happen to Turner. I want him to know how to build a fort in the woods with stones and tree limbs, and spend hours after a light rain making mud pies. I want him to use his imagination to climb a small mountain, all while envisioning a trek up Mount Everest. I do not want his favorite toy growing up to be a cell phone and I certainly do not want him to establish indentions in his thumbs from video games. But how do I avoid it? I do not want him to go to school and see his friends with those things and think he is missing out. I want him to have those things and enjoy them… but I do not want him to be reliant on it. I think it ruins a child.
Just as a newborn I am hesitant to give him toys that already require batteries and me reading the instructions to understand how Turner is supposed to play with it. It should be easier than that. I didn’t have those things quite yet and I think I am better for it. He needs a wooden rattle, and a toy rocking horse. I know I did not grow up in the dark ages, and toys when I was a child were even more advanced than that, but that is what I want for Turner. I think it teaches a sense of creativity and inventiveness that is lost among youth today.
Another thing that I think mothers do not consider today is how they are recording their child’s life. Yes, I am documenting mine on a blog, something my mother probably still doesn’t understand today, but I envy my own childhood and the means my parents had to capture it.
With the age of cellphones and advancements in technology, we have lost things such as print photography and videos. We take pictures on our cellphones and upload them to Facebook, but can we count on that to be there in 20 years when our children want to see them? And I know cell phone cameras are better quality than any camera that our parents used, but how are we going to explain to our child why there is a yellow tint on their baby photos… will instagram even still be around? I am guilty, trust me, I love adding effects to Turner’s pictures, but also save the image before I put an effect on it. I do not want the photo to be aged, I want him to be able to see a baby photo of himself just like I was able to.
And videos. Cell phones take a couple minute videos, but nothing compared to the VHS tapes we have from our childhood, and I hate that. Even fancy video cameras that are available to us…for quite a price I might add… require extreme lengths if you want to do more than upload them to a computer. I want Turner to be able to slip a tape into a VCR and watch his first birthday party. I do not want to record something on to an SD card, then go somewhere ( I do not even know where) and get it put on to a CD to be made into a DVD to then be played. I want to record it, then instantly put it into the VCR and watch it. I want to record every birthday and Christmas, things I think people forget about these days. I want to get out the polaroid camera and snap candid shots, not ones Ruby can edit of herself before uploading them to a computer. And what if I do not want them online. What if I want them for just my family to see, in an album. I still have to upload them to a computer to save them or an online album, or on a CD from the photo center. It is just a hassle.
I feel like in 100 years when people are studying us in history books, our photos are going to be instagramed and videos will be a minute or two long, if they exist at all.
I would much rather have the technology my parents did. It was personal. It was timeless. I bet some company could make a fortune making those products again. I know I would buy them.
That is my rant for the day. I guess my advice to moms is to think about the difference in today and yesterday and consider things that were better off then.