My wife Sarah (who is a few months younger than me, so I’m rounding up) met when we were 19, got married when we were 22 and had our first child when we were 24. By the time we were 28 (in 2006), we’d had two more kids.
This is, of course, utter madness (especially in Los Angeles, where, outside of evangelical circles, even getting married before 30 is as common as catching a leprechaun). Over the years though, I’ve found that our life path really carved out a unique spot for us in the modern parenting timeline, especially as it relates to the rise of certain technologies. A few examples:
- All of our children were born before the introduction of the iPhone/modern smartphones. In all seriousness, I don’t remember how we possibly functioned, especially during sleepless nights or delicate naptimes (though let’s be real, Sarah shouldered this burden way more than I did). I guess we read books? Or sat alone with our thoughts? Or stared into the terrifying abyss?
- While technically some social media properties existed in fledgling form for a few of the kids, it was not yet a thing. I remember throwing together a simple baby announcement landing page using some of Dave’s famous pixel art (in Flash, no less!), but there were no Instagram “bump” pics, baby shower celebration videos or (and I’m most thankful for this) “gender reveal” parties.
- As now 41-year-old parents to teenage children, it’s slightly surreal to be sandwiched between older friends (with older kids) that are card-carrying members of the “reply all” sbcglobal email address crowd, and same-age friends (with very young kids) that are hashtagging and Postmating their brains out. While there are obviously exceptions (especially with nerds), I’ve found that when it comes to baseline technological competence/experience, a few years is often the traditional “generation gap” equivalent of a few decades.
- Since smartphones, social media and our children all “grew up” in parallel, we’ve done hard, soul-crushing time in the ever-evolving parental controls salt mines. Lesson learned? It’s a tricky, draining, never-ending, ever-evolving balancing act between responsibly shielding and slowly loosening the reins. I wish current parents of young kids all the best as you bargain with your 2030 teen over a few more minutes of brain implant time.
Now if you’ll excuse me, the bride of my youth and I need to get back to scrolling through our respective Twitter feeds with one hand and rage-shaking our canes with the other.