Monday, 28 September 2015

How things have changed just one generation on

Babies, sweet lovable and worth every second of lost sleep, but they can be very expensive. My first child was born back in 1979, probably about the same time as a lot of my fellow blogging friends were born.

I was lucky back at that time as there was little pressure on mothers to go back to work. Home ownership was really only for the rich people, the largest percentage of the population rented good quality affordable housing from the council or other housing associations. Budgeting was much easier when the need to keep a roof over your head was easier and proportionally much cheaper. This has all changed in the last generation with so many more parents owning their own houses and feeling obligated for both of them to work to work to afford the mortgage.

This then brings parents into the mine field that is child care. Childcare does not come cheap any more. I was fortunate as I was a registered child
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at
minder when my own children were young, so I could earn an income without having to pay out. As a child minder I kept my rates low so that other parents were not too financially disadvantaged. Three of four extra children over the week added to my family income nicely.  The only items I needed in place were already in place for my own children, and once you were police checked and registered with the social work there were no more expenses.Sadly child minding has changed over the years, in my day there were few overheads, no paperwork, no planning, no report writing, no separate toilets,  and certainly no HMI inspections
costing a fortune. no wonder they are expensive to use now.  I could pop a plaster on a child or give them a spoonful of calpol without answering to the authorities,or filing in masses of paperwork which is why I could keep my costs down.

Back in those days you did not have supermarkets or discount stores for that matter selling clothes. Baby and children's clothes were expensive, but in my opinion much better quality than you get now. Baby clothes like so many things these days are designed to be throw away in a sense, nothing is made to last the way it did. But because clothes were better quality they lasted so much longer. When my first child was born apart from the presents we were given and the items that had been knitted for us  a lot of her clothes were second hand. I think with my first daughter I could have changed her four times a day every day for the first two years and just thrown away the clothes I took off and not bothered washing them as we had that many beautiful dresses and outfits passed on to us. I had six good friends who had daughters all approximately a year older than my first born who gave me everything their girls outgrew.  This saved a huge strain on the finances. I have to say what my daughter out grew was passed onto others, which then came back for my second born. She was the youngest girl in the group so all that she outgrew went in the loft.  When my first son came along a friend of mine had just had a little girl, she had two older boys,and as we both had kept a lot of items we both passed a load of clothes to each other. This was very common at the time but there seems to be a stigma attached to that practice these days.

Then of course there were nappies, when mine were born disposable nappies were a very new idea, more like large sanitary towels that fitted inside rubber pants and held onto nothing really. They were fine for when they kicked about on their changing mat but that was about it. Terry nappies were the  norm and once they were bought they did right through from birth to trained as one size fitted all depending on which way you folded the squares. This could be quite intricate when they were new born but easier as they got older. At night time when they got bigger you put two on. Think what you pay nowadays for disposables over the life time of a child.Then there are the nappy sacks to put them in, the baby wipes to clean them with. But then people weight  up the pros and cons of electricity against landfill, life was much easier when we had no choice. A top and tail bowl and water did the job adequately and then pop the nappy into a bucket of cold water. It was not as convenient but then we had more time on our hands. I loved to see nothing more than a line full of white nappies blowing
 in the wind.

mage courtesy of digitalart at
I had a coach built pram that did all of my children, and some of the child minded ones as well. It took a pram seat for the oldest to sit on when number two came along when she was eighteen month, Had a wire rack on the bottom for the shopping and we walked every where as we had the time. I Nowadays again most parents have cars and need more than one expensive car seat appropriate for the size and age of the child.

We never had video baby monitors to watch our child as they slept, I lived in a block of six flats which had three other young mums in and we use to sit out in the stairwell of an evening when the children were in bed with the flat door open and we heard them if they cried.

Modern parents like to have the modern equipment, but ask a second or third time mum what they had for their first they no longer use for the others and you will realise how little of it was really needed. A washing up bowl made a great baby bath, pans and wooden spoons made great toys, plastic dishes and cardboard boxes provided hours of fun play.  My daughter use to sit for hours with plastic dishes and a jar of buttons and made meals with them, play tiddly winks, they could learn colours, matching and counting with a jar of buttons, great for their motor skills as well, and she never managed to choke on one

What did you have for your first that was not used very often? What did you feel was a waste of money? Or what item(s) do you feel are essential that you could not live without.

This is a collaborative post.


  1. Elaine my kids were born in 1992, 1995 and 1999 although I'm a child of the 70's (1970) My parenting experience mirrored yours quite closely with the exception of terry towelling nappies. I lived in a cul de sac and we'd sit outside in the evenings with the neighbours while the kids played together or slept in the house and in all weathers. 90% of everything i had was 2nd hand or hand me downs but I noticed by the time my youngest was born there was less stuff to be handed down and new parents didn't want my left overs in the same way. I didn't have a bottle steriliser for the first two and was bought one as a gift for the third but rarely used it, preferring to dunk in a bowl in the sink with a milton tablet. One of the more modern items i had that i used a lot was a bottle warmer, oh i could go on all day

    1. I know the world was an easier place to be a parent back then I feel, much less pressure and expectations.

  2. I was born in 1979! hehehe
    My eldest was born in 2002 and things were so different back then and it was only 13 years ago! You could make bottles up in advance, wean at 3/4 months and there was hardly any gadgets....Life was easier.

    1. I know most of my blogging friends are my children's ages. Life was easier then. You do have to wonder about all this modern thinking, but then if mankind did not do modern thinking we would all be living in caves with no running water or power.


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