This post was published first for Childside. I’m excited for their official launch in October! I think they will provide a unique and useful resource for parents. If you haven’t liked them yet on Facebook, pop on over and do so. I’ll be writing some “stories” for them. You guys know how I love stories!
The Flintstones versus Modern Day Parenting
I’m beginning to think that the primitive world was probably a simpler place to live in. Don’t get me wrong, I cannot imagine my life without WIFI or the comfort of water in my taps and light at the flip of a switch. I certainly can’t imagine rubbing two sticks together to create fire just to boil some water for a cup of coffee, oh wait, you’d probably need to grind the coffee beans by hand first. It’s no lie that the practice of co sleeping, baby wearing and breast feeding for as long as possible, probably dates back to the days when these were your only options. I doubt Mrs. Flintstone spent hours over her morning coffee-bean-grinding ritual debating whether she should put baby Flintstone in his own cave, or leave him in the marital bed. She didn’t stand in the baby formula aisle feeling completely overwhelmed at the variety of options or squeeze different packs of diapers to feel which was the most absorbent and the best priced and the cutest looking. Baby Flintstone probably wore hand spun cotton bottoms which Mrs Flintstone and the rest of the cave women in the village washed in the river every morning.
Breastfeeding in public could not have been taboo and if Wilma couldn’t breastfeed, I bet Betty Rubble stepped forward and shoved her boob into Baby Flintstone’s mouth. It was about survival, not competition. There was no option to try nipple shields, or to express milk and store it in your freezer for up to a year. And I’m sure that Wilma did not cry into her palm tree pillow at night because she couldn’t breastfeed. She did not have any guilt issues because she didn’t have access to the millions of online resources and chat rooms and weirdo blog comments which told her that she sucked as a mother because she couldn’t breastfeed. She just did the best that she could do and she was totally OK with that.
Wilma Flintstone did not have a birth plan. She wasn’t inundated with lists of what to bring, what to wear, how to breathe, how many electronic gadgets to pack in order to get EVERYTHING on tape for the purpose of posterity. Hell, she just hit Fred over the head with a club and told him the baby was coming and I imagine that all the women in the village gathered round and chanted that baby out of her loins. And they all cried and laughed together and they didn’t have to stare at Baby Flintstone through a glass window because of the germs, they all huddled and cuddled and that village started to raise that baby from day 1. Call me sentimental, but after my two very success elective-clinical-precise-by-the-book caesars (no sarcasm, I truly enjoyed my two births) the idea of a cave birth sounds somewhat romantic.
Baby led weaning was all the craze. Those cave babies just used to grab a big ‘ol piece of lion meat straight off the spit braai or fire pit or whatever it was called back then. Wilma did not don her apron, drag out the food processor and process fresh fruit and veggies to a pulp, freeze them in expensive custom made ice trays and pop them next to the breast milk in the freezer. No she did not. Those little cave babies ate what the family ate, they used their hands and got stuck right in. I think the only kitchen item they used then, which has survived through the ages and can be found in most modern day kitchens is a pestle and mortar, and perhaps Wilma Flintstone used this archaic kitchen utensil to grind down a bit of corn for cave baby to eat. There were no bottles and sippy cups ranging from stage 1 to stage 5, with the matching teats for slow, medium or fast flow. I reckon they moved straight from boob to drinking from hand crafted enamel mugs. And you know what, those cave babies turned out just fine. I bet those cave toddlers were already hunting for their own food by age four. Can your four year old genius do that? I know mine can’t!
I love the 21st century. I love that I can press a few numbers on a key pad and someone will come to my house with food, in exchange for a piece of plastic which is run through a machine. I love that I have this big piece of metal to take me wherever I want to go, and if my journey is too far I can climb on an even BIGGER piece of metal and take to the skies. How awesome is that?! I love Google! Who doesn’t love Google? What did we do before Google? Life is amazing, right?!
But man, there’s this part of me that wonders if we aren’t getting dumber as the world gets smarter? I wonder if we aren’t unduly stressed out by the sheer volume of information we are bombarded with on the daily? Information you can’t ignore because WHAT IF you are feeding your kid something that contains tartrazine or gluten or whatever else we’ve been told is SO bad for us? The more sophisticated the world becomes, the crazier we get! And make no mistake, I want THE best for my kid, I want THE best pram, THE best cot, THE best clothing, toys, school, university…AARRGGHH! Which parent doesn’t? But do you see how so many options just complicate things?
That’s why I have to wonder, was Wilma Flintstone and her village that primitive after all?
Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.