I Wish My Kids Could Have a 1980s Childhood Like Mine (and I’m Jealous of My Parents)

Not to date myself or anything, but I was born in 1977. And even though that now makes me well, practically a senior citizen, (look I’m still 40 until September! Oh wait, that’s old) I’m rather thrilled with that particular birth year because it also makes me a the proud owner of a 1980s childhood, which is something I would not trade for any other life experience. My childhood was pretty much the bee’s knees, and it makes me sad that  my kids are missing out on that carefree, fun, pre-internet kinda life. It ALSO makes me sad that I am missing out on the parenting experience my own parents had. Though not without its struggles, let’s just say pre-internet parenthood was a LOT easier, too. (Except for YouTube tutorials on how to do my kids’ math homework.. Those, I would not trade.)

Who’s 5 years old and LOVING 1982? THIS GIRL.

When they ask me about life when I was a little kid, I have some great 1980s childhood stories to tell them, and in doing so I’ve come up with 5 things I really miss the most about my 1980s childhood. What are they? Well, I am SO GLAD you asked!

What I Miss Most About My 1980s Childhood

1. The snacks

I am a huge fan of SUGAR, and this *may* have something to do with all the amazing snacks available to us in the 80s. I mean, this was the decade of “sugar” cereal for a healthy breakfast (how could artificially colored MARSHMALLOWS not be healthy? Come on!) and the snacks were AMAZE. My personal favorite, and the one I miss the most most most with all my aching 80s heart, are Jell-O Pudding Pops. I mean, it’s a FROZEN PUDDING SNACK ON A STICK! This is the stuff dreams are made of! (I refuse to let my memories be ruined by Cosby. JUST DON’T THINK ABOUT IT RIGHT NOW.)

80s snacks 2

My brothers and I would basically RACE for that box o’ puddin’ pops as soon as my mom got home from the grocery, ESPECIALLY if she brought home a variety pack, because I did NOT wanna get stuck with plain vanilla, AMIRITE? Pudding Pops were the Holy Grail of 80s treats, but I would like an Honorable Mention to also go to the gum that tasted like your favorite soda pop and freaking squirted JUICE out of the middle (amazing!!) and of course, Fred Flinstone and his sherbet push-ups. Because, YUM. Plus, push-up. It’s like EXERCISE.

2. Nothing Was Gonna Kill You

Along the lines of snacks, we lived a more carefree life in the 80s because nothing was gonna kill you. Cereal with marshmallows? Health food! Kool-Aid made of 90% sugar and artificial flavoring? DRINK UP—gotta stay hydrated! Ice cream? Load up that dairy section of the food pyramid! Fruit snacks in a plastic pouch? It’s like health food TO GO! It was all good, and we were all good, and no one walked around with kale in their smoothies because they were afraid that 7Up gives you cancer. THOSE WERE THE DAYS. Now I feel a stab if fear-laden guilt every time my kid eats a Cheez-It. Thanks, INTERNET! And science. GAH.

Also, I could wash with Johnson’s baby shampoo all day long and no one would assert that it was full of carcinogens. Johnson’s meant you LOVED your kid. Now it apparently means you are a terrible parent. I mean, the PRESSURE to make my own baby soap these days has NEARLY wiped out all the precious memories of childhood bubble baths, OY.

3. 80s TV and Commercials

My kids live a very sheltered TV life because mm, I don’t know, NOTHING ON IS APPROPRIATE! And God forbid they watch commercials! They can get quite an education from advertisements, especially during sporting events. It used to be the most scandalous commercial on during a sporting event was the Rogaine ad where the bald guy gets his groove back, or you know, if you were up REALLY LATE, a Budweiser ad. Now you cannot watch a playoff game without your kid asking what erectile dysfunction is, and God forbid a soft-core p*rn GoDaddy ad comes on. Um, no thanks, I’ll stick to commercial-free Netfix with shows that I have pre-selected for the kiddos. Because we ain’t got Small Wonder anymore, my friends, and the “kids” shows talk about grown-up subjects WAY before they should in my opinion. Oh man, I miss Vicki!

small wonder

Jenny Rapson
Jenny Rapson
Jenny is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor.

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