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To think raising a child was much easier for previous generations?

(363 Posts)
wondering7777 Thu 19-Sep-19 22:50:28

For my parents and certainly my grandparents’ generation, bringing up children must have been so much easier.

Mortgages were a hell of a lot cheaper for starters, but now the average home costs something like ten times the average salary. As a result, in most cases both parents have to go out to work whether they want to or not, and pay extortionate childcare costs to keep a roof over their heads. In the “old days” mothers were far more likely to be able to take time off work and the family could pay the mortgage on one salary.

In addition, my grandparents’ generation were much more likely to have family living nearby and a more close-knit community to help raise the child.

Judging from what I read on Mumsnet, there’s also a lot of competitive parenting these days, and a lot of parents feel they have to put their child at the centre of their universe, which causes stress. Children from my grandparents’ era were left to their own devices and would play out for hours.

There was no technology then so no angst about children accessing the internet and the reams of inappropriate content that is readily available at the click of a button.

Uni was free so parents didn’t have to save up to send those kids who did go, and jobs were far more readily available when children left school.

Also, the cartoons were better grin


Superlooper Thu 19-Sep-19 23:25:09

I would prefer my life than my mother's TBH. Having to give up work if you got married or pregnant, doing all the housework/child work. Husband rarely or never changing nappies/cooking etc. And v poor in the 80's...getting dressed in front of a gas heater as central heating too expensive. 1 pair of shoes. 1 good outfit. High unemployment. If you did have a good paying job, the higher tax rate was 65%. YABU imo (My experience is Ireland in the 80's) But yes, no screen time and only good cartoons would be great.

june2007 Thu 19-Sep-19 23:28:15

I think the phrase rose tinted glasses comes into play.

SarahAndQuack Thu 19-Sep-19 23:29:37

But there are also good things.

So much less stigma about PND and mental health in general; less stigma about having a child with additional needs. And you're much less cut off - if you have an internet connection you can talk to people, even if you're home alone and isolated.

My mum had really horrible depression when we were tiny, she got very isolated at home with us, and she had two children with learning difficulties at a time when everyone told her that it was her fault, that we were lazy or that she hadn't brought us up properly. She had no one to talk to and she had no way to find out that her experience wasn't that uncommon, or that there was help available.

I would definitely not want any of that!

Mummyshark2019 Thu 19-Sep-19 23:29:38

Yanbu. Life's getting a lot more difficult. I am so scared for our kids and wonder what on earth it will be like for them.

JasBBGG Thu 19-Sep-19 23:30:19

Hmmm yes and no.
I think the stresses are different. Houses may have been cheaper but there was more instability in mortgage rates, I know my Mum had to go back to work when the bank rate sky rocketed to 18% or something ridiculous in the 80's and there were times when they thought they may lose the house. Also some of the basics that are cheap now were more expensive then eg kids clothes.
The uni one is a big one and the costs of nursery etc. I think technology helps us but also causes us problems and people are expected to do more with their time.

Rachelover60 Thu 19-Sep-19 23:35:04

I wouldn't have swapped my life for that of my mother or mother in law. I loved going to work, it was good for me. Yes, we were hard up years ago but so were lots of people of our parents' generation and work in the home was much harder. I've never had to make a fire and keep it going for a start.

Children are better off nowadays because their feelings and needs are considered and if something is wrong in their lives, they can speak about it and are believed. That was not the case in days gone by.

feelingverylazytoday Thu 19-Sep-19 23:38:47

Yeah, sure OP. Life was a piece of piss.

saraclara Thu 19-Sep-19 23:38:56

I'm glad I didn't have to do the washing (and terry nappies of course) in a tub washer filled from the sink, and then put it through the mangle, like my mum did. The dry iron it. Oh, and make the fire from scratch and live in one room because there wasn't central heating then. I have no idea how she got stuff dry in the winter (not radiators to put things on, and most rooms cold)

Yes, childcare wasn't an issue so much, but being a SAHM was epected,like it or not, and was no fun because it took all day to do the chores. No supermarkets then remember. Or freezers or microwaves or dishwashers or automatic washing machines (and often limited hot water).

I think there might have been a bit of a perfect time to have babies, probably in the early 80s? I was a bit late in '87 because housing started becoming more expensive then. But automatic washing machines were arriving, and working when you had kids was a choice and childminders easy to find and affordable.

EustaciaPieface Thu 19-Sep-19 23:47:26

This is a joke, right? Post-war family time was easy?!!!!!

Saddler Thu 19-Sep-19 23:50:09

Haha I don't think so.

Frangible Thu 19-Sep-19 23:50:53

When my mother had me, contraception was illegal and women were required to give up some jobs on marriage, so no.

SarahAndQuack Thu 19-Sep-19 23:52:44

I think there might have been a bit of a perfect time to have babies, probably in the early 80s?

My mum had her first in 1982, and there is no way I would swap with her. She worries that we have it hard because housing is so much more expensive and we're renting, despite being most of a decade older than she and my dad were when she had children. But when she describes how things were, I feel so lucky.

I think it's so easy to forget how much has changed. If my mum had tried to leave my dad, she'd have struggled because the mortgage on their first house was in his name. Marital rape was still legal. Employers were perfectly entitled to discriminate against women.

It absolutely stuns me to think about how much luckier we are now.

Purpletigers Thu 19-Sep-19 23:53:38

You’re deluded if you think people used to have it easier than we do today . People didn’t have a bathroom or central heating never mind a washing machine or dishwasher .
There was money for food and that was more or less it . No outings , no hobbies , no cinema trips or birthday parties for your children .
Housing is expensive now but food in real terms has never been so cheap . Also everyone now everyone has the opportunity to go to university, this just wasn’t possible post ww2. Houses are more expensive because in lots of families both parents work . It’s a chicken and egg situation .

Purpletigers Thu 19-Sep-19 23:54:27

We’ve never had it so good imo.

Yabbers Thu 19-Sep-19 23:55:24

Mortgages were a hell of a lot cheaper for starters

Tell that to my parents who were crippled by 14% interest rates.

Homes may have been cheaper, comparatively, but mortgages were not. They are the cheapest they have ever been.

pinkelephantsanddietcoke Thu 19-Sep-19 23:55:56

I get where you're coming from. I often have this conversation/debate with my folks.
I was brought up by two working class parents who had educated themselves to be a teacher and an engineer. (My mum said my dads wage doubled when they moved to the city I now live in.)
Anyway, my folks bought a 'big' house for £54K. In 1983. They still live there. My dad had his own business that went bust. He wanted to pay all the money back himself so he did.
I asked my mum recently how on earth this was possible after knowing how hard it was to pay what you need plus live.... she said it was fine as they both earned good money blah blah..,

Bibijayne Thu 19-Sep-19 23:57:41

Well my grandfather was the oldest of 14 that survived past infancy. I think he'd have disagreed!

Yabbers Thu 19-Sep-19 23:58:38

Uni was free so parents didn’t have to save up to send those kids who did go

Uni was the preserve of the wealthy as even with maintenance grants, poor families couldn't afford to support their children. The system now where larger loans (which 80% will never pay back in full) actually means more children from low income families can access it.

AlunWynsKnee Thu 19-Sep-19 23:59:11

It's never been easy to raise children. The stresses change but it has always been hard.

giggly Thu 19-Sep-19 23:59:47

My parents didn’t have a mortgage until the middle 80’s , But as Maggie sold off the council stock my folks like millions other bought as sitting tenants. However with only one wage life was not luxurious. The lack of perceived freedom for dc now is pretty much down to parents allowing ridiculous screen time and stranger dangerhmm
Good news is that university is still free in Scotland if your resident.
I don’t think I have it any harder than my dm.

howyoulikemenow Fri 20-Sep-19 00:07:06

Every generation has its own troubles.

SarahAndQuack Fri 20-Sep-19 00:08:12

Well my grandfather was the oldest of 14 that survived past infancy. I think he'd have disagreed!

YY! It absolutely terrifies me to think how very recently losing a child was seen as a normal part of having a family. I was reading that Roald Dahl piece about his daughter dying of measles, and thinking how incredibly lucky we are that, these days, a child dying is a (thankfully) rare event. Even just a couple of generations ago it wasn't.

Frangible Fri 20-Sep-19 00:08:14

Mortgages might have been cheaper, but in the 70s, when I was born, it was still routine for women to be refused mortgages in their own right, or only with a male guarantor.

shinynewapple Fri 20-Sep-19 00:08:15

If you were to look at the lives lived by most people in the 70's when I grew up you would consider them as living in poverty.

Many people had no central heating, freezer, automatic washing machine, food was very basic, clothing very few outfits and hand-me-downs, we had no house phone til mid-70's, one small TV and you would only get new toys at Christmas or birthday and then not many, sometimes home made.

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