Passionate About the Community
and the Moms Who Live Here

I Didn’t Have Netflix When I Was Your Age


I can’t count how many times I have reminded my seven (almost eight) year old to turn off the TV when he is done watching it. Countless.

Actually, I feel like a broken record on many occasions. Warnings on this particular offense ranged from early bedtime to no playing with friends after school until finally we reached (gasp) the Holy Grail: losing Netflix privileges.

Oh, yes. We went there. And I got “You’re a mean mommy!” as a reaction. Eyebrows raised. This is where I brought out my serious mommy lecture rant.

“Listen up, Caleb. Here’s the deal. I didn’t have Netflix when I was your age. Actually, we may have not had the Internet when I was your age. To watch any kind of movie, we had to get into a car and drive. We had to drive to a place called Blockbuster and would only get to pick ONE movie.”

This didn’t faze him as I was hoping, but it did make me reflect on the things that meant the most to me when I was Caleb’s age…and it certainly wasn’t Netflix. Movies were more of a privilege than an expectation. 

I am a young mom and I have a lot to learn. Though, this is a new voyage of mom-hood that I am crossing right now: Can I get my son to appreciate the things he has today and takes for granted? The holidays are fast approaching and I can smell the toy entitlement in the air…

Santa always seems to come through

Should I strip him of all things technology cold turkey and and remind him, “That’s right, this is EXACTLY what it was like back in my day: we looked out the car window for entertainment. An Etch-A-Sketch was the closest thing we had to an iPad. And there was excitement about traveling miles to Blockbuster to pick one movie to watch. It was an event traveling there, looking out the window and all.

On another note, this conversation comes around full circle. I actually remember being the kid complaining about little things in childhood that I took for granted, much like my son does. I also remember the “back in my day” lectures I was given. And it does carry more weight now that I am *ahem* the one giving it.

Me: “We had a phone at the house; it was attached to the wall and you couldn’t leave the house with it.”

Caleb, 7 years old: “Wait, if there wasn’t iPhones, how did people go on Amazon to order things?”

Me: “We used to go to the store…for everything.”


Caleb: “Google?”   

Me: “Dictionary.” 


Caleb: “Why do you take so many pictures of me all of the time?”

Me: “You’re growing up so fast. My baby pictures were never taken on a phone…they are in dusty photo albums. I’ll show you them sometime. Also, when we took pictures we had to go to the store and wait for them to be developed before we could see what the picture looked like. Hopefully the photo wasn’t ruined by the flash or everyones eyes were closed. You couldn’t retake it.”


Caleb: “These ads on YouTube are SO long.”

Me: “We used to sit through five minutes straight of commercials and they would come back on every 10 minutes of a TV show. They were usually the exact same commercials.”


Caleb: “Why do we ‘hang up’ a phone?

Me: “Phones used to have two parts to them: a base and a receiver. In order to end a call, the receiver had to be placed or ‘hung’ on the base. Other interesting facts about what phones needed to work correctly: there was a separate machine called an answering machine to store voice messages from people who called when you weren’t home. Next to this machine was a giant yellow book that weighed a TON!  It was filled with everyone’s phone number, including a list for ordering pizza. It wasn’t unusual to memorize phone numbers.”


Caleb: “I am so bored of these apps!”

Me: “Yeah, those used to be called board games. Monopoly, Checkers, Guess Who?, MouseTrap. 


Caleb: “There is NOTHING to watch on Netflix”

Me: “To watch movies, we would need to get in our car, drive to a video store, and hope they had the movie we wanted to rent. Renting meant paying money, every single time. Sometimes the movie wouldn’t play at the beginning, since it was a movie on a VHS tape, meaning, we would need to rewind the video and wait for several minutes to get to the beginning. After watching the movie we would return it to the video store and hope we didn’t have to pay a ‘late’ fee.”


Caleb: “How come Alexa doesn’t know how to do everything?”

Me: “When I was a kid, Alexa was just a name…not a device in everyone’s house that you could ask questions to. We used to turn off every single light in the house and not ask Alexa!”


Caleb: “Are we there yet?”

Me: “Thanks to my phone directions, yes. Back in my day, adults had to pull over to navigate a paper map for directions. This could take quite some time, and going in the completely wrong direction for several minutes was the norm.”

I have a feeling this conversation is as old as time, where older generations reflect back on childhood. What are things you grew up with and remember that your kids just won’t understand? Share them with me and reminisce!


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