Looking back, there is nothing I question about the way my parents let me go as a kid but it is sort of a miracle I survived. It would seem that parenting has evolved in the last 20 years or so and now, this free-wheeling method of parenting in 2014 is frowned upon in some circles. If saying the F word can get you arrested, then anything is possible. It really made me think about how it would be if my 1990's childhood were happening in current times. Here are 11 times in my 1990's childhood where CPS should have been called:
1. That Time I Built My Own Fort In Third Grade
I was a pretty industrious kid and so were my brothers and neighborhood friends- we stole a real hammer and several real nails from my dad's tool shed and used super sketchy-looking pieces of wood we found in the creek behind our house. The creek that was at the bottom of a super steep embankment where we could have tumbled and broken our necks and where our parents would never hear our screams. It was awesome.
2. The Days Where I was Eight And Came Home Alone
My mother worked a 7am-3:30pm schedule and our bus dropped us off around 3:50pm. We had a house key and were home alone for approximately 15-20 minutes every day starting when I was around eight or nine. It's amazing no one died!
3. All Those Times Where I Rode My Bike A Full Mile
We lived in a semi-rural area on a few acres- the village was a mile down the road. I was probably 10 or 11 when my parents started letting me ride to the village on my own so I could be with my friends. And our road had barely any shoulder and cars went way too fast. Frankly, it is amazing that I was not pulverized on my pink Huffy.
4. When I Scaled Questionable Playground Equipment With No Supervision
I was a playground junkie and total maniac. I was not afraid of anything and would climb up any rusty piece of metal I could get near. Now, playgrounds are made of foam and dolphin tears. No more dare devil hour at recess.
5. All Of The Questionable Swimming I Did
I grew up in a town with a lot of little nooks and crannies- plenty of wooded areas with a shallow creek to play in or float down lazily in a tube. We also went to the community pool alone pretty often. Now, parents would be publicly stoned for letting their kids go swimming anywhere by themselves. Hell, my husband and I were chastised by a lifeguard at a local beach recently for letting our very capable 6-year old swim into water up to her shoulders without us being right next to her. Obviously, we belong in Parent Jail.
6. For Letting Me Eat Junk Food Every Friday Night
Ok, this might not be CPS-worthy but boy, would our Friday night diet be cause for alarm in the times of organic mac and cheese and kale chips. Our mom let us eat basically anything we wanted on Friday nights and it's one of my favorite childhood memories- we started with Little Ceasar's (PIZZA PIZZA) for dinner and then moved on to Cheetos, popcorn and whatever else caught our eye at the grocery store that week. And amazingly enough, we are now all adults with healthy eating habits and very normal BMI's. Go figure.
7. All The Times I Was Alone At The Mall With My Friends
From age 12 or so, I was dropped off at the mall with my friends to go to a movie, play at the arcade, buy cheap, ugly shit at Barbara Moss and 5-7-9, whatever. Now, there are actual signs at my local mall that any child under 17 without a parent or guardian past a certain hour on a Friday night will be in some form of trouble.
8. The Nights I Babysat When I Was Only 11 Years Old
I was so super inspired by The Babysitter's Club books that I was just biding my time until I was past 6th grade (the arbitrary date my parent's had set) so I could babysit for kids other than my asshole little brothers. Now, can you imagine the pearl clutchery if someone told you they had an 11 or 12-year old watching their kids? I had so many customers back then but I doubt I would have the same luck now.
9. The Times I Watched R-Rated Movies Well Before Age 17
And also, MTV, VH-1 and the terrible stuff on USA's Up All Night. I honestly don't know what my parent's were smoking in the 90's but I want some of it. Their life as parents was so much easier than mine. As much as I try to be chill, I still have my moments of "OHMYGOD I'M TOTALLY FUCKING UP MY KIDS". I don't know that my parents ever thought of that- even when we spent a whole Friday night watching all of the Chucky movies and eating a truckload of Pop-Tarts and Doritos.
10. For Never Wearing Sunscreen- Like, Ever
The only times I remember being forced to wear sunscreen were when we went on a legit beach vacation. If we were just playing outside my mother never bothered. This is in sharp contrast to my coating my kids in SPF 860 before they set foot in the sunlight. Like little vampires, I worry that they will simply burst into flame without it.
11. The Years I Sold Girl Scout Cookies- Alone
I trudged up and down our busy street hawking my wares in my puffy little snowsuit daring anymore to defy my adorableness and say no. I guess my parents thought by making me go alone, I was learning to be independent but really, I was just prime kid-napper bait. Thankfully, I survived. And sadly, I never got to sell anything to Ryan Gosling. Regrets, I have a few.
(Image: Sunny Studio/Shutterstock)