If there's one thing the "Me" Decade was not going to stand for, it was mom-shaming. The 1970s were a time of self-exploration and social turmoil. With the Kent State shootings, Watergate, the first test tube baby, Gloria Steinem, disco and All in the Family, do you think any parent stayed up late at night worried her kid wasn't going to be the starting pitcher?
While no one decade was perfect, and parents since the beginning of time have faced their own unique set of challenges raising children, the '70s stand out as a time when moms and dads were less hard on themselves. Adults felt more free to act like free adults, even if that meant acting like 19-year-old kids stoned and listening to Lou Reed in the basement while their children either slept or didn't (because whatever) all the way upstairs. Your friends will think you're crazy, and your parents will swear they never did any of these things in their day, but if you really want to parent like it's the 1970s, start your journey by following these tips.
You owned a Buick. It was big and brown, and the front bench seat was roomy enough to hold a driver, adult passenger and at least two kids, including a baby or toddler who would sit on the adult passenger's lap. Seat belts were optional, but then again, you drove no farther than six blocks in any direction of your house to get to school, stores and playgrounds, so what could happen?
No wonder your mom scolds you to "sleep when the baby is sleeping" — she has no idea that a nursing newborn wants breast milk 137 times a day. Many '70s moms were led to believe that formula was healthier for their babies than breast milk was and that it contained far more nutrients than your typical mom could provide on a steady diet of Hamburger Helper and Kellogg's Sugar Pops. Most of us formula-fed babes turned out OK, thank goodness, but the real winners here were the moms who didn't feel the pressure to feed their little ones a certain way.
While it was always preferable to rely on a babysitter who was at least in high school, most of your other parent friends were young enough to still want to go to the disco, and 17-year-old's are so difficult to pin down on a Saturday night. So what's the harm in hiring your usual sitter's 13-year-old sibling? With a little luck, she picked up some of her sister's skills along the way — and you could pay her $3 less an hour as long as you kept your pantry stocked with Corn Diggers.
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