I was nursing Louella the other day before bed and starting thinking about how different our childhoods are/were.
As a product of the 1980's, I joke about being part of the 'junk' generation. I think it was the first batch of kids that sort of had everything. New Nike kicks every few months, every room with a colour TV/VCR's/endless Disney VHS's, collectables were 'the' thing (POGS, Pokemon, rocks/gems, TY beanie babies, Polly Pockets, Silly Putty, Goosebumps, Furby, Littlest Pet Shop, Tamagotchi's, sparkle Bonne Bell lip glosses, MP3s from Napster, and on!). It was a generation of disposable, it was more, more, more. I remember being spoon fed toy and junk food commercials all day. I even remember a Chucky Cheese commercial on my Land Before Time VHS before the movie ads.
What really got me thinking about all of this was my 'junk TV' obsession. There is legitimately always some fluffy reality TV show on in the background. Honestly, with everything going on in the real world on a global scale, with the non stop news coverage with horrific headlines every day, pressures of self employment, some mental health stuff I have been dealing with postpartum, I am completely disinterested in watching 'deep' or 'downer' TV shows. I can't follow plots (I have to take a break from Game of Thrones due to this) and I can't invest in characters that might kick it. I just want fluff. Trashy TV. Light. Silly. Give me a couple drunk housewives on a vacation with one liners and throwing glasses. All while I wash dishes or try to get puke out of my hair without actually having to commit to a shower.
My love of junk TV started young. It was the 1990's and it was the golden age of after school TV: Full House, Family Matters, Home Improvement, Saved by the Bell, Zena, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Boy Meets World, Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Don't even get me started with ABC's Friday night line up!
Of course we were also blissfuly detached from the effect food had on our bodies and lifestyle. Whose school lunch wasn't packed full of Gushers, Dunkaroo's, Fruit Roll Ups, Kraft Lunchables. No nutritional value, just fun packaging, artificial flavouring and a catchy tag line. We lived on Post sugar cereals, KD, Hot Dogs, Sloppy Joe's, grilled cheese. No wonder melted cheese is such a comfort to me on low days.
All this said, we were also the generation that left our homes at 8am and played outside with the neighbourhood kids until we were called in for dinner. We rollerbladed, biked, skate boarded, "Skip-It'd", scooted, and ran, ran, ran all over town. We didn't have handheld devices and weren't connected 24/7. We had to call home phones to arrange play dates, or walk across the street and knock on the door. We climbed trees and our parents had no idea what we were up to for hours.
There's a shift now and I feel it stronger now as a new parent. I like to think our kids will be exposed to some of that good old 'junk' we were raised on. But, more of us make our own baby food. Have our own vegetable garden. Some of us returned to cloth diapers. We buy fewer, better things (and often used). We know to limit screen time. We know more about developmental progress. We spank less. We know the importance of letting our kids cry (boys and girls) and asking them about their feelings. We enforce fewer gender pressures and stereotypes on them.
I love, love, loved my childhood and generation. Since becoming a mom I've had many nostalgic moments and remembered highlights of growing up that I haven't given any thought to in 20 years. Maybe we look back with rose coloured glasses, and I know it wasn't perfect, but I look around me at my generation and I'm pretty proud of how we turned out, for the most part (in spite of the Kool Aid).