In my pandemic state of mind, lately I’ve been yearning for simpler times. Times when there wasn’t a worldwide virus spreading so fast even the news can’t catch up. Times when I didn’t waste so much time on Instagram or my iPhone, for that matter.

I’ve found myself daydreaming about life in the 1980s and 1990s, back when I was a kid. Back when the only thing I had to worry about was if I was going to miss the latest episode of “Full House” or if the Kool-Aid pitcher was empty. As a young(ish) mom in my 30s, with two children ages 2 and 7, I’ve found myself wishing for my own idyllic childhood and how much simpler those pre-technology days really were.

I pondered this idea so much that I reached out to the three closest ’80s/’90s moms I know: my mother and two aunts. I asked them what it was like to be a mom 30 years ago. The picture they painted was this: Life was simpler back then because technology didn’t complicate things.

They took their children on walks to the library. They made bread from scratch. They read to their children. Some stayed home and some worked outside the home, but they were present. They played with their children! Instead of spending hours clicking through smartphones, they were living in the moment. Like actually living …  instead of scrolling.

Think about this: The first thing I do every morning is check my phone. The last thing I do before I fall asleep is check my phone. And all those minutes and hours in between. Without technology as a distraction they lived fully in the moment – whether that was playing with their kids, going on family outings, baking cookies, etc.

Now 2020 moms do all that too. But have you ever checked the number of minutes – hours – you spend on your phone? There’s literally an app for that. The number frightened me so much after I saw it for the first time, I’ve avoided it ever since.

The problem with smartphones is that they are one-stop shops for everything from news and weather to entertainment and, unfortunately, social lives. They are a time suck, and our kids are noticing. We don’t need cellphones to live our lives, despite what advertising might have you believe. ’90s moms survived without them, and so can we. If 2020 has taught me anything, it’s that I want those wasted, precious minutes back.

’80s moms weren’t constantly bombarded with filtered, edited photos of what their friends were doing 24/7. They didn’t know what their friends were doing every second of the day, what they were wearing, who they were with. Maybe they got a blurry Kodak photo in the mail after their friend went on vacation, but the idea of FOMO had to have been significantly less.

No doubt life was harder back then in a lot of ways. If you were driving to a new restaurant you might have to plot the directions out with a highlighter in your atlas. Do those even exist anymore? Now we have Google Maps for that. If you wanted to research, well, anything, you’d have to find an encyclopedia or library.

But maybe there’s something to be said for a life that isn’t always so instant. There was no refresh button back then and the only “likes” moms got were when a friend complimented their new mom jeans. Instead of having hundreds of friends online seeing their every move, they had real friends they could call on their wall phone. Phones are so artificial, and when I think back to 30 years ago, everything just seemed so much more real.

I guess my point to all this is that life as a mom back then felt more intentional. 2020 moms carry the baggage of absent-mindedness plugged in to their smartphones. So, I wanna be a ’90s mom.


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