5 Ways My Kids Have It So Much Better Than I Did
I've been waiting my whole life for this. There's a hallowed tradition of parents griping about how hard they had it and how much easier things are on the next generation. Well, now that I have kids, it's my turn! And if you're looking for some ammunition against your own offspring, I've got some for you, guaranteed to work on that smug, easy-living new generation out there.
Let me warn you, kids... I'm going to be rubbing these 5 things in your face for the rest of your life... or at least until you have kids and we can both gripe to them about how easy they have it.
1. Flavored medicine: Getting sick when I was a kid was doubly horrible, because not only were you coughing, sneezing and puking your guts out, but the only way to get better was to suck down a spoonful of the vilest liquid the world's greatest chemists could concoct. I'd start screaming as soon as my parents took out the teaspoon, and I didn't stop until that awful medicine taste was finally banished from my throat several weeks later.
My kids have it so much better, because medicine doesn't taste medicine-y anymore. It comes in a variety of kid-friendly flavors, like strawberry or bubble gum. These days, the word "medicine" is virtually interchangeable with "candy". My kids actually remind me when it's time to take it.
Pretty soon, they'll have painless shots, and a trip to the doctor will be better than Disneyland. Lucky kids!
2. 24/7 Cartoons: Cartoons used to come on once a week, on Saturday mornings, and the other six days, we had to do horrible things like go outside and exercise. When the big day of TV bliss finally rolled around, we had to make some hard choices. If you wanted to watch the Smurfs, it meant you'd never see the new episode of Rubik, the Amazing Cube -- ever, because they didn't rerun those things all week long like they do now.
Now, thanks to Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, On Demand and a half-dozen channels devoted solely to kiddie programming, kids can watch virtually any show they want at virtually any time. They even get to pick the episode. Did you have a Little League game the morning the Phineas & Ferb Halloween episode premiered? No biggie. You'll only have another chance to watch it EVERY DAY FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.
3. iPads: No one ever talks about how horribly tedious childhood is. Shopping with your parents, waiting at the doctor's office, interminable car trips. Well, none of those are nearly as terrible as they used to be, thanks to iPads. Look around somewhere kids don't like to go, and you'll see kids on iPads. We've found the cure for childhood boredom, and best of all, it's rechargeable. If you load your tablet with the right educational games, you can even make yourself believe that it's making your kid smarter.
4. Second-hand smoke: OK, the EPA may disagree, but the air these days at least feels much cleaner than it did when I grew up. That's because back in the 70s and 80s, everyone and their parents smoked, and they did it absolutely everywhere -- restaurants, airports, the teacher's lounge. Even at school, you were lucky if the kid next to you in homeroom didn't reek of his Dad's Lucky Strikes, or if the teacher wasn't puffing away through her entire lunch break. Kids used to make their parents ash trays in arts & crafts -- I'm not making that up! The phrase second-hand smoke hadn't been invented when I was a kid, so no one had any sympathy for non-smokers, even if they happened to be 5 years old.
The other day, my partner and I were at the playground with our kids, and he smelled someone smoking. He scanned the crowds of strangers looking for the culprit -- and he was ready to go on a rampage when he did. Can you imagine how that would've gone down in the 70s? If you sought out another parent smoking, it was most likely so you could borrow their lighter. I highly doubt my kids would recognize cigarette smoke if they did smell it.
5. Personal shuttle service: Parents today are too afraid to let kids out of their sight. It can be stifling at times, but the flip side is you get chauffeured everywhere you want to go. You think you can ride your bike to the library? Oh heck no, Mister, get in the back seat! Mommy's taking you!
Tell people you let your kid walk half a mile to school every day and they'll call social services on you. You know why there were no soccer moms in our generation? Because if we had soccer practice, we had to drag our own asses there. Nobody took us in an air-conditioned minivan with cupholders and a pop-down DVD screen.
You want to point fingers at people over the obesity epidemic? I say we blame the pedophiles first. It's their reason our kids don't get any exercise anymore.
Can you think of any other ways kids today have it better than their parents did? Share them in the comments.
And come back next week for the follow-up: 5 Ways We Had it Better Than Our Kids (Not That They Need to Know).