Down the Lane: As times change, so do we

By Sue Staton

I was recently thinking about how different it is for mothers raising children now compared to when I had young children.

After babysitting my grandson this past week, I starting thinking about how much easier it is for the women who are changing diapers today than it was when I had my children.

How many of you remember cloth diapers and the diaper pail? How much easier it is now with disposable diapers!

Mothers today have wet wipes that we did not have. This meant you had to have at least two wash cloths per wipe per diaper to go in the laundry along with the diapers.

The only convenience I remember when my daughters were babies was the liner you could put inside the diaper. It did not help that much except on the really dirty diapers.

When my first child was born, I was determined to keep her dry and I counted 36 diapers on the line for the first two days.

I also remember how cumbersome it was to keep the diaper pail clean and odor-free.

Those little rubber pants you put on over the diaper were not as good at keeping the baby dry through the night.

I was the type of mother who thought the baby needed changing all night long. The only good which came from that was both my daughters were so easy to wean from diapers.

Young mothers, take it from us older ladies, you have it made now when it comes to diaper management.

Now, you can just toss the diapers away, where we had to struggle with the upkeep of them. It was a chore.

Remember the old liner baby bottles? They were the ones where you put a liner in and then sealed it with the nipple and band.

I can not tell you how many baby bottle liners I melted by falling asleep while heating bottles in the middle of the night. Then I had to start all over again with a hungrier baby crying. Breastfeeding was not popular during those days and very few ladies did so. It is so much smarter to do, if your baby will let you. At least you do not have to warm the milk.

My generation of new mothers had it easier than the ladies before me when most of them used wringer-style washers and some had to use washboards to do their laundry.

They also had to hang their clothes on the line no matter the weather.

Most of the mothers my age, me included, had automatic washer and dryers.

Even though I grew up in a home with the wringer-washer, when I married, I had an automatic washer but no dryer.

I still had to hang clothes out on the line for my first seven years of marriage. I usually took them to town to dry on really cold, snowy, wintry or rainy days. When it was sunny, I enjoyed hanging them out and I still do.

One of the things I would have loved to have when my babies were little is the sling that goes around the mother’s neck. I am not sure what they are called, but the baby can either face the mother or look at things as she walks. I think that would have been great because it leaves your hands free.

I still remember one of our preacher’s wives laughing as she remembered me holding my baby on one hip and cooking a meal with the other hand.

I was an overprotective mother. Not much has changed, even though my daughters are grown and have nearly grown kids.

If my kids were out of my sight, I was not comfortable and was afraid something might go wrong.

My oldest daughter told me later in life she would burn up at school from all the many layers of clothing I used to put on her to keep her warm in the winter.

It is so funny what you do with the first child compared to the second. I guess you begin to relax more with the second child.

I also thought about how different mothers dress today than we did.

In my day, a trip to church usually meant putting either a garter belt or girdle to hold your nylon stockings up before pantyhose came into existence. A dress, skirt and blouse, or suit with a pair of gloves and hat were what most women wore to church back then.

Of course, we suffered through wearing them on really hot, sultry days.

The main thought in church or at weddings was to get home and get that tight, hot girdle off.

As I was cleaning out a dresser, I ran across a pair of white gloves and had to laugh at how archaic they seem now.

Back when I was young, you matched your gloves with your shoes. For example, if you were wearing red shoes, you usually carried a red pocketbook and wore red gloves.

Flower carnations — usually given to you by your husband or boyfriend — were worn every Easter or Mother’s Day.

I always wore about three-inch heels when I was young. The higher the heel, the better for me back when I was young.

I can not even stand up in a pair now. In fact, now I seldom even wear a inch-and-a-half heel. If I do, it has to be a wedge style.

The mothers today can wear about anything they want to anywhere they go for the most part and feel accepted.

Sometimes, I think we are too lax in our dress and we need to keep some of the old ways of dressing.

In other words, I think pajamas out in public is a definite no-no. You would think common sense would tell you that but it does not matter for some.

I think when we go out in public, we should care about how we present ourselves and take pride in ourselves.

I hope I have brought back a few memories and a smile for some of you this week.

Times do change, and with them so do the ways we do things.

Sue Staton is a Clark County native who grew up in the Kiddville area. She is a wife, mother and grandmother who is active in her church, First United Methodist Church, and her homemakers group, Towne and Country Homemakers.