As some of you know, my oldest two are not even kids anymore; born in the early-to-mid-90's. (I was a child-bride.) I don't quite know when the Internet first started, but I certainly wasn't using it the and blogging was but a twinkle in our collective eye.
What the heck did we do? Today, for example, we have a MEGA snow storm in Chicago. (It's actually no worse than previous years and certainly nothing like the fiasco of 2 years ago, but everything has to be MEGA these days hasn't it?) In past years, there would have been a "phone tree", whereby the room parent would have phoned either everyone in the class or a few, who would then phone a few others, until everyone got the message that after-school activities were canceled so that we could all get home safely. Unfortunately with that system, there was always the parent who failed to check voicemail and then blamed everyone else for the fact that his/her child was the one left sitting with the teacher till 5pm. If you were the one who had left the voicemail, boy- did s/he let you have it. You know the type of parent I mean.
Now weather news is e-mailed, and we've all been chatting on Facebook, offering to take each others' kids home, etc. Parenting has never been so easy. (Ok, scratch that. Let's not get carried away.)
We have a school conference (meeting with the teacher) tomorrow, for which we signed up on Google something or other. None of that hanging around outside the classroom to bag a convenient time (ie. something a little later than 7.30am) on the teacher's schedule, which was posted on the wall. A quick e-mail to the Ball & Chain to ask when he was in town and Bam! - conference scheduled at an acceptable 8.30am. We pay our lunchroom fees online, book after-school activities on the school web site, read the weekly menu to see when there is a hot meal that they will actually eat, - the list goes on.
When the kids are unwell, our first stop (is it not?) is the computer, either to ask bloggy friends about it, or to look up the symptoms and scare ourselves silly. I remember when I was little, my mum used to phone her nurse friend or my grandma (which probably had more to do with needing to hear her mum than anything else); our doctor wasn't on call and there was no NHS help-line either.
And let's not even think about parenting without cell phones. Shudder!