How Did People Manage To Parent Before Modern Inventions?

Like every parent each day has it’s ups and it’s downs. A few hours ago I was being cuddled as I took my daughter upstairs for her nap. I thought to myself how lucky I am that I get to spend my day having lovely cuddles, I didn't get so many when I had a job. But now, only 3 hours later, I am sitting on the sofa exhausted and wondering just how did people parent before all of our amazing modern technology? How did I get from there to here? What went wrong? It was that nap.

A close up of a toddler asleep in a car seat with her head at an angle

Or rather the nap that wasn’t. Before you have children you assume that when people are tired they go to sleep, when you have children you realise that being tired means being cranky. The more tired a child is the less likely they are to fall sleep, and that means no sleep for mummy either. Those pictures of children falling asleep in the middle of their dinner or in a Jumperoo? Totally photoshopped. Ok that isn’t true, there are a few children who have an amazing ability to just switch off and sleep, but not my children, never my children. 

Little started her nap time tired and ready for sleep, but for some reason she just couldn’t quite get there. I normally breastfeed Little to sleep; it works well for us and is normally fast. Today her latch was bad, she kept pinching me and she just couldn’t get to sleep. For nearly 2 hours I tried everything, but she just got more tired and more upset. Eventually, with my last burst of hope before I ran screaming down the street (not really, it’s raining) I scooped her up and stuck her in the car.

5 minutes of driving later and my beautiful toddler was asleep in the back of the car. I drove for another 5 minutes before parking in my drive and weighed up my options: keep her in the car for a guaranteed, but probably shorter nap with the downside that I won’t get to shower or do anything useful; or pick her up and hope I can get her into her cot without waking her too much. The second strategy was high risk, but had the potential for highest reward. Carefully I unbuckled her seat belt, cuddled her to me to keep dry and carried her up the stairs. 

Little let out a small burst of protest as I lay her down in the cot, but I stood there for a minute and there was no more noise! I creeped out of the room, down the stairs and she stayed asleep. I couldn’t decide whether to dance around the living room or collapse on the sofa with physical and mental exhaustion. In the end I chose to grab a couple of biscuits and write this post instead.

As I was driving back to the house I was thinking about how grateful I was that I had been able to put Little in the car to encourage her to sleep. How did people manage before they had such wonderful inventions? It wasn’t the first time today that modern technology had saved my sanity either.

During the long and painful nap attempt I had needed to scream out, cry and share my frustration. Fortunately thanks to a series of clever people (who developed telephones leading to my iPhone and the creators of the internet all the way through to Mark Zuckerberg starting Facebook) I have a community of parents who understand just how I am feeling. In fact it was one of those parents who suggested I took Little for a drive to get her to sleep (thanks Emma). The large community on my phone has been there for me on so many occasions I honestly don’t know where I would be without them.

A green checked Sainsburys school summer dress with buttons hanging on a door handle

Rewind to this morning and technology once again saved me. This time from my eldest daughter having a major meltdown. Big Sister has decided that she only likes one particular type of school summer dress and it isn’t the one we have lots of. I was meant to wash a dress last night so she had one to wear today, but what with life happening I forgot. I only realised 45 minutes before we had to leave for school. Argh!!! Impressively I stuck a couple of dresses in the washing machine on it’s 14 minute wash cycle followed by a 15 minute blast in the tumble dryer and I had 2 nearly dry dresses. One still had a mark on (not surprising after such a quick cycle) but the other was perfectly clean. A quick iron and M had a suitable dress to wear. I’m still slightly in shock that I managed to make a dirty dress wearable in just 35 minutes. 

Thank you 21st century, you have made me a better mummy today and a happier one.

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