Baby Boomer Moms: Who did you call for parenting advice?

Sherri Gardner HowellFarragut

My sweet grandson King has the flu, and Gigi is both desperate to hold him and relieved that I have escaped the bug thus far. Momma Kinsey and Dada Trey are taking excellent care of him through sleepless nights and medicine fights.

When King was diagnosed, the generational difference in parenting once again became obvious. I am truly in awe of the connectivity of these Gen X/Millennial parents (King has one of each).

Kinsey had some questions about medicines, so she called me to see what I thought. That is exactly what I used to do when I had parenting questions. My mother and mother-in-law were great sources of information and opinions. I relied on them to fill in the gaps left by hurried doctors and T. Berry Brazelton, my generation’s answer to Dr. Spock.

Even back then, there was a generation gap when I talked to my mother about parenting. Mother was what I considered “old school” about many things, especially when it came to following what doctors recommended. I questioned everything, as was consistent for a child of the ’60s.

But these days! Oh, my! While I was truly touched by Kinsey asking me for an opinion, I knew she was also texting and messaging the moms in her neighborhood group and prayer group. Their advice, while the same as mine in this case, also came with alternatives and much more helpful suggestions than mine did.

After our moms, who did we Baby Boomer parents turn to for advice?

Well, the aforementioned Dr. Brazelton was one. His books on child-rearing were dog-eared and well-worn at our house. Friends were a phone call away – if they were home. So primarily, we turned to the teachers and caregivers who worked in our day care centers. Ms. Sandy and Ms. Carole at Royale on Ebenezer helped me survive kids with chicken pox, flu, strep throats and ear infections.

In some ways, the help we found in our day care teachers were even better than the moms groups of today. They knew our children well and could tailor their advice for individual kids. They may not have been an instant-message away, but their knowledge and shared loved of our children made them a great support system.

And when my boys’ Gran, like King’s Gigi, was miles away, it was good to have someone close by who was willing to bring a bowl of chicken soup or, in today’s world, elderberry syrup.




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