My sweatpants were covered in baby barf, I hadn’t showered in days, my husband was out-of-town, and my kids were on their way to meltdown central.

And it was only 7:15am.

You know the drill. The morning is always the worst.

It’d been a week of strep throat and fevers, and just general sickness, so we hadn’t done much. In fact, we’d barely left the house.

And, that morning, I’d decided all I wanted to do was put my Thanksgiving wreath on the front door.

Because despite having a whole week of no control (no showers, a dirty house, no sleep, snotty kids), I could at least put the wreath on the door. I know it makes no sense but it was where I was at that morning.

So I set all the boys up to watch a show, and escaped to the garage to get out my wreath.

I was gone for 3 minutes.

And this is what I came back to.

Let's Bring Back the Playpen


The 18-month-old had gotten past both the childproof lock and elastic hairband that I put on our pantry door, then scaled the shelves and got in.

I just can’t win. I can’t leave him for a minute.

As I started cleaning up the mess, I decided I wasn’t going to keep killing myself.

I have a pack n’ play that we never use. Why don’t I put that out in the living room?

I’d never brought it our pack n’ play before because, to be honest with you, I hate the look of it. Plus, it takes up a lot of space. And of course, the toddler won’t like it and will probably cry the whole time he’s in there.

OH WELL. I don’t care. This is for me.

And that was it.

See, here’s the thing.

Our parents had it figured out.

They didn’t worry about scarring us. Or being nice. Or making things fair.

They were just surviving the day.

And you know what?

They put us in playpens.

Because it made sense.

And we were fine.


Raise your hand if you spent months, if not years, of your young life caged up in a playpen.

*everyone reading raises hand*

And so, in that moment, I decided to start adopting more 1980’s parenting techniques.

You know, the way you and I were raised.

Because our parents were on to something.

They were raising kids without feeling bad about themselves. Without any guilt. Without feeling judged by social media comparisons.

They were just parenting, and it wasn’t all about the kids or being socially acceptable.

It was about surviving.

So, I’m getting back to 1980’s parenting techniques, and I’m loving it.

Starting with the playpen.

Let's Bring Back the Playpen

Here’s the deal.

It’s. So. Glorious.

Can I tell you how amazing it is to get into the shower and not have to listen to what my toddler will be breaking next?

No guilt, no shame.

Lock them up.

And honestly, listening to them cry is a lot better than having PTSD from waiting for the next wine bottle to break and having your kid walk all over broken glass in the kitchen.

Seriously, the parents of the 80’s had it going on. And, I’m trying to get back to that easy, no-guilt approach to raising children.

Be sure to check out my next post on my very favorite parenting strategies from the 80’s, including not going to every single class party, giving kids processed foods and just letting them play. Let me know what you think!

And, what are your favorite 1980’s parenting techniques? Share them in the comments section below!