Thursday, September 19, 2013

Mommyland in 1993 - A Retrospective

This is what TV moms looked like 1993.
It's a little hard for me to believe, but 1993 was 20 years ago. Let's just pause for a quick WTF moment. For you young people, I've provided some links so you can learn about our history and culture. These are the songs that were popular in 1993. These are the movies. These are the top TV shows. By the way, Friends wasn't on yet. It didn't start until 1994. 

On the one hand, it seems like yesterday to me. On the other hand, I'm struck by how totally different our lives were then. It was both simpler and more complicated because you had to deal with people. You had to make plans and keep them. The way we communicate with each other has totally changed. 

I was in college then. Let me state here publicly that I am so freaking grateful that there were no cellphones with cameras on them when I went to college. THANK YOU, GOD, FOR DELAYING THE INNOVATION OF THAT TECHNOLOGY TO SPARE ME CERTAIN HUMILIATION. 1993 was the year before I got an email address. If our lives were different pre-internet, pre-wireless, and pre-smartphone - how was it different to be a first time mom?  Our buddy Missus B tackles it for us in this guest post...


      I had my kids back in the dark ages (1993). I’m both jealous of the modern mom’s life and nostalgic for the past. Every time I see a modern stroller I want one. Seriously, the strollers of the ‘90s were terrible. An expensive stroller cost $65 and they were made of 95% cheap puffy quilted pastel blue fabric and 5% plastic wheels that dug into dirt. They rarely went straight, the wheels didn’t pivot(!). Each turn involved lifting the handle and spinning the entire stroller. They did not have cup holders, cell phone pockets or rain shields. 

Maybe you wait at ballet or soccer practice. Believe me when I say, you have NO IDEA what waiting was like in 1993. We did not have cell phones. Waiting to hear if you can get an “appointment for a sick child today” as my pediatrician puts it, meant being in the house waiting. Repairmen, the bank, your husband, you name it if you were waiting for a call you had to be within hearing distance of the phone. Oh, and the phone was attached to the wall. An entire 8 hour day would have to be coordinated around waiting for that phone to ring.

I’m not sure when Al Gore invented the internet but I do know my kids were in jr high before Mark Zuckerberg brought us facebook. With no internet we had no facebook, email or pinterest. We didn’t have laptops either so no solitaire, Spider or otherwise. The daily snail mail delivery was a highlight so it probably isn’t so surprising that we knew our mailman’s name.

Photo credit: 1993 Classic Years Greeting Card
What did we do all day? As you know, motherhood is a test to see how long you can survive boredom. We walked a lot. My neighbor, Patience and I walked with our subpar strollers every morning at 8am. Rain, shine or below freezing.  And again just before the dads came home. We had playgroups. If playgroup means play with the kids on your street while the moms drink tea. 

My Bible study group was a lifesaver. Every week I knew I would get 3 hours of free childcare, coffee and time to talk to a group of women. For the next 11 years that Wednesday was a sacred time that no child dare ruin with sickness. I realize now it was like the online forums of today where you meet people and discuss issues only we were actually inside the same room and not a chat room.

Moms had a lot of time to plan and execute the 90’s version of nutritious meals. We didn’t know about kale chips, flaxseed and edamame. But we did bake a lot of bread and make sure our husbands left for work each morning with a great lunch including home baked desserts.

We read a ton of books, children’s and otherwise. Our town children’s librarian knew to expect us several times a week. We did a lot of crafts. Mostly at my house where my oldest had an insatiable appetite for crafting while her daughter was always packing a bag for some imagined adventure.

From September 2013, from Time's website.
We had a great communication system in our neighborhood. If your door was open then your house was open, the kids were awake and ready to play. If it was closed then it was naptime or something was going on. 

There was so much more. The best thing about those days may have been that we shared our lives with our neighbors. We had so much time and no electronic distractions. We knew each other’s children well. Just today Patience called (we have both moved to new houses but still live in the same teeny New England town) and shared news of her oldest. We laughed and remembered her daughter at 4 years old doing just the same things, making plans and dreaming big dreams, going on adventures.  

Just like you young moms of today, my van smelled like mold. Some days a fig newton and milk in the car seat had to be lunch. Some mornings I lost my Schmidt by 9am. Sometimes we only survived the day by turning on the shower until the tantrum was over (I did the same for the kids on their bad days as well.) In the midst of the Blur and in reality it wasn’t as tranquil and idyllic as it sounds looking back. But I wouldn’t have changed it for the most deluxe Vista stroller on the market.

If anyone out there wants to write a similar post about what it was like to become a mom in 80's, 70's, 60's, etc - send me an email at

(c) Mommyland Blogs 2013


  1. My sons were born in 88, 90, 92, and 95. We were a bit more isolated - it took a phone call or two and some planning to gather the children to play. We spent time outside as it was easier to find the neighborhood kids (and moms) that way.

    I have mixed feelings about the electronics and social media available now. While the support and escape would have been great in the challenging times, I think at other times they would have been a distraction from just being with my young children.

    Like so many comparisons we make it life, it was both more difficult (cell phones would have been a lifesaver!) and easier. My baby turns 18 today and my first grandchild is coming in February. Guess I will experience, at least second hand, babies with technology!

  2. My oldest was born in 1993. I sat here nodding my head at everything in your post! My youngest was born in 2003 & I have often commented on how different things have been for them. Great post!! Thanks for sharing!

  3. In 1993, my oldest was 2. My youngest is now almost 9 months old and my oldest has a 2 year old of his own... Yes, I am crazy for doing this again so late, but I can tell you, things are very different. Both time periods have their pros and cons....I think the biggest difference for me is that I had a lot more ENERGY 20 years ago lol

  4. As another 90's mom, I hear you. My kids were born in 1994 and 1997. I covet the strollers and car seats of today. I however will say we were earlier adopters of technology- I have a picture from 1995 with my son playing a Dr. Suess ABC PC game. He is now a computer programming major finishing his freshman year of college! I remember times at the library it was a wonderful experience. I also recall fantastic public TV offerings (I was a bad mom- I told my kids that was the only channel- we didn't have the gimmes for Pokémon and yugioh)

    I remember Arthur, Clifford, Dragontales, Cyberchase, Wishbone, Sagwa, Between the Lions, Liberty's Kids, Zoobomafoo and one of their favorites Bill Nye the Science Guy_

  5. I was born in 1990 (I have my own two very small kids now) and I could just my mom saying every word of this post. Thanks for bringing a smile to my face on an otherwise very rough morning.

  6. I've often had this conversation with my two grandmothers and my mother & aunt. My grandmothers were parents in the '60s and my mom & aunt were mothers in the '80s & '90s. I often tell them I would have gone out of my mind!

    Today, I'm able to work part-time from home at a vocation that didn't exist then. I can constantly chat with my husband via email or Facebook. I can get parenting advice & see pictures of my friends' kids even though they live halfway across the country. I can look up anything I need, whether it's a mystery rash or a new activity or whatever.

    The only drawback in being today's stay-at-home mom (in my opinion) is the lack of community described in the article. I would love that! I'm the only mom at home in my neighborhood. My sister (who lives about an hour away) is the same. A lot of women work now - and that's awesome - but that means there are fewer kids at home to play with mine. When we go to activities or the library, other parents don't talk to me. They sit there on there phones or ipads or whatever. (We're still a cellphone not smartphone family!!)

    I still wouldn't trade today for anything!

  7. thanks for that step back in time (my time!).

  8. I had my oldest in 1996 and youngest in 2007. Before internet, I didn't wig out so much over pregnancy and health related symptoms, and had a lot of extra time to read books and watch TV when baby was sleeping or clean and complete projects before the distraction of email and Facebook. With my youngest, I found a great group of pregnant Moms online all over the country to commiserate with, find answers quickly to health questions, and can now entertain my 1st grader with online games in a pediatric waiting/exam room. There are pluses and minuses to both!

  9. The books! SO many books! And having real conversations at the park. The park was a life saver.

  10. I love this post. I'm a stay at home mom to my 20 month old son and I often wonder what it was like for all the moms who did the same years and years ago. Looking forward to reading more of these!

  11. I love this post. I have had 3 children over the past 3 years, so I have obviously only known parenting in this decade, but I find myself hating technology most days. It makes me so sad to see little kids playing at the park, begging their parents to come push them in a swing or go down a slide, to which the parent replies, "In a minute, honey" without even pausing to look up from their device. Cell phones themselves are handy, but smartphones just seem to disconnect people from everything - and everyone - around them. I am glad that as a child born in the 80s I didn't have to compete with technology for my parents' attention. We did projects and crafts just for the fun of doing them, not just so our parents could post pics on Facebook and Pinterest to prove how awesome they were. We had friends we actually SAW face to face. I hate the fact that many of my friends only keep in touch via technology. They have time to text or email or whatever, but if you want 10 minutes of time actually hearing their live human voice, it is seen as something crazy. Technology itself isn't the problem, it is the people using it who allow it control so much of their lives. Anyway, sorry I rambled! Thanks for the great post.

  12. Things were different back then ... I distinctly remember my kids being much younger and certainly smaller.

  13. I graduated high school in 1993 and had my first child in 2006. This is a lovely post, and I don't think things have changed as much as we think they have. Or at least, things don't HAVE to change as much as we think they do. All the kids on our block are back and forth between each other's houses constantly. It's an open-door, village, take-care-of-each-other thing. We spend our days playing, reading, doing art, playing outside, riding bikes, etc. Summer nights after dinner everyone is outside, the adults talking (and drinking wine) and the kids playing on the sidewalk. Fall nights we are in bed early, but the kids are blinking their flashlights out their bedroom windows at their friends across the street. My kids have never played on a Wii or an iPad or an iAnything. I send my kids to the neighbors to borrow eggs. Yesterday my oldest happily delivered two limes to the neighbor who was making salsa with her garden tomatoes but forgot to get limes. I guess the main difference between now and 1993 is that she texted me to see if I had any- haha!

  14. My oldest two (twins) were born in 1991. Wish I could go back and do it all over again. Life does seem a lot more complicated now. I fear for my daughters as they become parents. There's so much more to contend with now. Thanks for the blast from the past! :)






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