Crystal Lowery, a comedy writer and mom of two, grew up in a similar way to most of us, which is a lot different than the way it is for kids today. Rather than being carted off to camp or spending her afternoons parked in front of an iPad, she roamed around the neighborhood exploring and playing with friends. In a Facebook post, Crystal explained how different parenting in the Summer is today compared to when she was young and why moms and dads are so stressed out after watching their little ones during the warmer months — and, yep, she completely nailed it.
"Why is Summer so hard for parents? Because things have changed. When we were kids, we'd just run around town from dawn until dusk, unattended," she wrote. "Instead of mom slathering us with sunscreen, we burned, then peeled our damaged skin like molting snakes. Instead of sensible snacks, we'd ride our bikes to 711 to purchase fists-full of Jolly Ranchers and Atomic Fire Balls. Instead of parents entertaining us, we'd knock on our neighbor's doors and invite them out to play."
While we certainly don't want our kids getting burnt to a crisp or subsisting off candy, Crystal definitely has a point about how short our children's leashes have become.
"The adults in our families were never exactly sure of our whereabouts, nor did they particularly care," explained Crystal. "It was all up to us. We made friends. We made good decisions. We made bad decisions. We made our own fun. This is not a thing anymore."
"The adults in our families were never exactly sure of our whereabouts, nor did they particularly care."
In today's day and age, moms and dads have a lot to worry about, which isn't lost on Crystal. "Kids don't randomly play with other kids in 2019," she said. "It's too risky. If your children want social time, it must be by way of organized sports, or expensive day camp, or a play date wherein all mommies attend and make awkward small talk so that they can keep an eye on things. And we have every reason to be overprotective."
She continued: "Forget lions, and tigers, and bears (oh my!). There are Amber alerts, and scary true crime documentaries, and who knows what that kid down the street is looking at on his computer! We have to keep our kids safe," she acknowledged. "But with that hyper-vigilance comes isolation. With that hyper-vigilance comes the burdensome responsibility to keep your children company 24/7. And it's EXHAUSTING."
Now, she has a message to parents who constantly have their eyes on their kids: give yourself a break if you can. "Parents of 2019, do you know why the Summer is so hard? Because your kids are up your ass ALL THE TIME," she said. "It didn't used to be like this. So cut yourselves some slack. And maybe, consider day camp."