By Anthony Donatelli
There’s really no arguing that the 90’s are making a comeback.
Between all of the sitcom revivals to the fashion trends, it’s obvious that we wish we had those days back. But it’s not just the backwards overalls and reruns of Home Improvement that we miss.
Many 90’s kids are parents now and they’re missing the relative simplicity of parenting in a decade when the internet was mostly just unreadable flashing colored text that said “You’ve got mail!”
Redbook diagnosed parenting in the 90’s compared to parenting today and let just say things have changed, a lot.
1. Cell Phones Weren’t A Must
Then: Yes, cell phones existed in the ’90s, but they weren’t as common or as “smart” as they are today. The kids who were really rich had pagers proudly clipped to their belts, as if they were surgeons on call.
Now: Modern moms are tethered to their phones and they don’t know how to parent without them. How did anyone geo-locate their kid or email in missing permission slips? They didn’t, that’s how.
2. Movie Night Took A Little More Work
Then: ’90s kids will remember spending countless hours roaming the video store looking for the one cool movie that wasn’t already rented. The worst part, getting fined for not rewinding the VHS tape when you were done.
Now: Instead of driving to a Blockbuster, your kids now sit in front of the TV or computer screen and scroll through 10,000 movie options on Netflix. No worry of their favorite flick being taken or rewind fees. Talk about being spoiled.
3. The Electronic Babysitter Was A Lot Less Capable
Then: Back in the ’90s, kids had to deal with whatever show was on TV and then fight with their siblings over what channel to watch, and there was way too much risk they’d end up watching Singled Out on MTV.
Now: Thanks to TiVo, Netflix, Hulu, Google, and other on-demand services, a tired mom can bring up her kid’s favorite show with just a few swipes and then go lay down to take a nap knowing her kid will be looking at something that legitimately entertains them, appropriately.
4. Road Trips Were A Lot Noisier
Then: A good old ’90s road trip involved a lot of loud singing and 300 rounds of the Alphabet Game. If your kids were really lucky, they got to fight over the Discman, holding it ever-so-carefully on their laps so it wouldn’t skip.
Now: Almost all the noise is gone thanks to phones, video games, streaming movies and wireless headphones. It’s gotten so good, or bad, that instead of repeatedly asking “Are we there yet?”, kids refuse to get out of the car when you are finally there.
5. Raffi Was A Superstar
Then: Baby beluga in the deep blue sea… every ’90s child and hence every ’90s mother could finish that song in their sleep. Raffi was the first true superstar in the genre, teaching kids about everything from sea life to Santa Claus to toothbrushing to how to make a banana into a telephone.
Now: Kids have way more options, but perhaps none are quite as good at connecting with children as the master was.
6. You Had To Give Your Kid Actual Lunch Money
Then: You had to trust your child to take money to school and spend it on actual lunch. Really savvy moms put the money in a baggie and safety-pinned it to their child’s clothing.
Now: Technology wins once again. Online lunch accounts connected to your credit card are a marvelous modern convenience that parents probably take for granted.
7. Birthday Invitations Weren’t Made To Look Handmade, They Were Handmade
Then: All birthday invitations came on paper and if that wasn’t bad enough, they also had to have a page or two of Mapquest directions stapled to it because GPS wasn’t a thing and your house was hard to find.
Now: Moms have Evite and Paperless Post, which not only electronically deliver adorable invite, but can also provide directions, include gift registries and purchasing options, and even remind you to send thank you cards afterward.
8. Social Media Didn’t Make Anyone Feel Bad
Then: In the ’90s, if a kid wanted to bully someone, they had to do it to their face or say something mean in the bathroom stall.
Now: The whole world is a bathroom stall. Drama and kids have always gone together, but today’s teens and tweens have infinitely more ways to employ it themselves and toward others, thanks mostly to social media.
9. The Tooth Fairy Was A Lot Cheaper
Then: A quarter used to be something really special, especially if you found it under your pillow in exchange for a missing tooth. This was because in the ’90s you could actually buy things for 25 cents.
Now: Kids get no less than a dollar from the tooth fairy, and some even get video games, gift certificates, or toys as a reward for doing what children have been naturally doing for centuries.
10. Caillou Made Your Ears Bleed
Then: Parents in the ’90s had to deal with a particularly annoying subset of children’s TV shows in heavy rotation, including Barney, nonsensical Teletubbies, and the perpetually whiny Caillou.
Now: Kids’ programming these days has gotten a lot smarter, funnier, and way less annoying. Have you seen Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse or the modern version of My Little Pony? Because you really should.