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Family

Awkward home videos from the 80s and 90s show just how far parenting has come

"It's a miracle any of us survived."

80s parenting, 90s parenting, 80s, 90s
@nostalgicallyrachel/TikTok, @mrvaughntrainor/TikTok

It was a simpler, more life-threatening time.

Parenting has changed. A lot. So many things our parents did that were considered normal in our childhood—that is, for all us millennials and Gen Xers—would simply never fly today.

This is thanks in large part to the digital age, and the countless ways to access information. Radio, magazines, television, books, online blogs, Facebook parent groups, informational podcasts, public studies…thousands of voices helping shape family dynamics and warn of potential dangers.

If there’s ever any doubt into how far we’ve come, let technology once again remind you. A trip down memory lane via TikTok might be, as the kids say, a bit cringe, but boy can it help instill a little gratitude.

On a mission to share her childhood “one home video at a time,” a woman named Rachel has an entire TikTok account dedicated to short glimpses of her younger years.

Her content is an instant nostalgic hit for those of us who grew up in the 80s or 90s. We’re talking Rainbow Brite, roller skates, Sesame Street, backpack purses when they were cool for the first time. All the feel good stuff.

And also—maybe some of the not-so-feel-good stuff. Recently, Rachel shared a video of herself as a newborn with her mom…when viewers noticed something strange in her bottle.

@nostalgicallyrachel Replying to @B Indeed, it is. 💦 #wildtimes #wesurvived #taboo #homemovie #homevideo #nostalgia #nostalgic #80s #90s #1990s #1980s #memories #family #throwback #80sbaby #90sbaby #childhood #childhoodmemories #wholesome #oklahoma #takemeback #vlog #mylife #history #vintage #retro #90skid #80skid #80saesthetic #90saesthetic #vhs #smalltown #aesthetic #growingupinthe90s #millennial #millennialtok #1986 #response #react #water #indeed #newborn #baby #mom #breastfed ♬ Roslyn - Bon Iver & St. Vincent

“I’m sorry — IS THAT WATER,” one concerned viewer asked.

Rachel followed up with , “Indeed, it is”, writing “Sugar Water for Newborns circa 1986” in the video caption.

Once upon a time, sugar water was used as a bit of a cure-all for infants, helping fight off common colds, ease bellyaches, and everything in between.

And while some studies do show that sugar water can help ease pain, and certain hospitals do use it during painful procedures, professionals still suggest against administering it at home.

For one thing, babies don’t need water until they’re six months old. They get all the hydration they need from breastmilk or formula, according to WebMd.

Second, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee says that any foods or beverages with added sugar should be avoided “during the first two years of life,” as it is likely to replace more nourishing foods and cause nutrient deficiency, and is “linked with increased risk of overweight or obesity.”

But for many parents today, this is not new news. Which made Rachel’s video so horrifying.

“As a new mom this genuinely is making me want to cry 😭 There was so much misinformation back then. Those poor babies,” one person wrote.

Of course, it could be worse. As one person shared, “My mom gave me Mountain Dew in my bottle 😳.” Yikes.

In another video, this one captioned “parenting before the internet” and shared by dad and TikTokker Vaughn Trainor, we see another bane of modern parenting—rice cereal.

Specifically, rice cereal being fed to newborns. Experts say that solid foods should not be introduced into a baby’s diet until at least four months old, when they can hold their head and sit upright on their own, start grabbing at things and show interest in food when the parents begin eating.

In this video, however, Trainor is one month old, laid back (also a big no no!) and being spoon fed by his mom, who is heard quoting the parenting magazine that suggested heavier things be eaten this way.

@mrvaughntrainor Parenting before the internet 🤣 i turned out alright 🤣🤣 #parenting #parentinghumor #90sparenting #babiesoftiktok #viral #funnyvideos ♬ original sound - Mrvaughntrainor

Over 5,000 people commented on this one, many of whom noted how this type of diet might influence common digestive issues many adults face.

And while there could be several factors contributing to this that go beyond what we were fed as babies, it is true that millennials seem to suffer the worst when it comes to gut health.

But it’s not just problematic food choices. Rachel shared yet another home video, this one titled “Nursery Tour circa 1986,” that showed her baby self lying in a crib surrounded by pillows, stuffed animals, and, for some reason, a mirror.

@nostalgicallyrachel Nursery Tour circa 1986 👶🏻 #nursery #baby #babytok #nurserytour #home #hometour #homemovie #homevideo #nostalgia #nostalgic #80s #90s #1990s #1980s #memories #family #throwback #80sbaby #90sbaby #childhood #childhoodmemories #wholesome #oklahoma #takemeback #vlog #mylife #history #vintage #retro #90skid #80skid #80saesthetic #90saesthetic #vhs #smalltown #aesthetic #growingupinthe90s #millennial #crib #cribsafety ♬ A Gentle Sunlight - James Quinn

But it’s not just problematic food choices. Rachel shared yet another home video, this one titled “Nursery Tour circa 1986,” that showed her baby self lying in a crib surrounded by pillows, stuffed animals, and, for some reason, a mirror.

…All of which can be life threatening and lead to Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID), if you ask the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Which is why this comment pretty much sums up everyone’s collective feeling:

“It’s a miracle any of us survived.”

And while we can obviously make the case for “I’m still here, so it couldn't’ have been that bad,” when you look at infant mortality statistics, which is the lowest it’s ever been worldwide, it’s hard to deny that maybe, just maybe, being more savvy about childcare could have something to do with that.

So, yes, many parents today might lean towards being more anxious by comparison. But it’s only because death is literally lurking at every corner! Yay vindication!

And as mortifying as some of these parenting behaviors might seem to us now, what doesn’t seem to change is parents wanting to raise a healthy kid, to the very best of their ability. We might have gentler, more science-backed ways to go about it, but the love remains the same.

True

Do you ever feel like you could be doing more when it comes to making a positive impact on your community? The messaging around giving back is louder than ever this time of year, and for good reason; It is the season of giving, after all.

If you’ve ever wondered who is responsible for bringing many of the giving-back initiatives to life, it’s probably not who you’d expect. The masterminds behind these types of campaigns are project managers.

Using their talents and skills, often proven by earning certifications from the Project Management Institute (PMI), project managers are driving real change and increasing the success rate on projects that truly improve our world.

To celebrate the work that project managers are doing behind the scenes to make a difference, we spoke with two people doing more than their part to make an impact.

In his current role as a Project Management Professional (PMP)-certified project manager and environmental engineer for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Joshua Williard oversees the cleanup of some of America’s most contaminated and hazardous waste sites.

Courtesy of Joshua Williard

“Recently, I was part of a four-person diving team sent to collect contaminated sediment samples from the bottom of a river in Southeastern Virginia. We wanted to ensure a containment wall was successfully blocking the release of waste into an adjacent river,” Williard says.

Through his work, Josh drives restoration efforts to completion so contaminated land can again be used beneficially, and so future generations will not be at risk of exposure to harmful chemicals.

“I’ve been inspired by the natural world from a young age and always loved being outside. As I gained an understanding about Earth's trajectory, I realized that I wanted to be part of trying to save it and keep it for future generations.

“I learned the importance of using different management styles to address various project challenges. I saw the value in building meaningful relationships with key community members. I came to see that effective project management can make a real difference in getting things done and having on-the-ground impact,” Williard says.

In addition, Monica Chan’s career in project management has enabled her to work at the forefront of conservation efforts with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF-US). She most recently has been managing a climate change project, working with a diverse team including scientists, policy experts, data analysts, biologists, communicators, and more. The goal is to leverage grants to protect and restore mangroves, forests, and ecosystems, and drive demand in seaweed farming – all to harness nature's power to address the climate crisis.

Courtesy of Monica Chan

“As the project management lead for WWF-US, I am collaborating across the organization to build a project management framework that adapts to our diverse projects. Given that WWF's overarching objectives center on conserving nature and addressing imminent threats to the diversity of life on Earth, the stakes are exceptionally high in how we approach projects,” says Chan.

“Throughout my journey, I've discovered a deep passion for project management's ability to unite people for shared goals, contributing meaningfully to environmental conservation,” she says.

With skills learned from on-the-job experience and resources from PMI, project managers are the central point of connection for social impact campaigns, driving them forward and solving problems along the way. They are integral to bringing these projects to life, and they find support from their peers in PMI’s community.

PMI has a global network of more than 300 chapters and serves as a community for project managers – at every stage of their career. Members can share knowledge, celebrate impact, and learn together through resources, events, and other programs such as PMI’s Hours for Impact program, which encourages PMI members to volunteer their time to projects directly supporting the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

“By tapping into PMI's extensive network and resources, I've expanded my project management knowledge and skills, gaining insights from seasoned professionals in diverse industries, including environmental management. Exposure to different perspectives has kept me informed about industry trends, best practices, and allowed me to tailor my approach to the unique challenges of the non-profit sector,” Chan says.

“Obtaining my PMP certification has been a game-changer, propelling not only my career growth, but also reshaping my approach to daily projects, both personally and professionally,” Chan says. Research from PMI shows that a career in project management means being part of an industry on the rise, as the global economy will need 25 million new project professionals by 2030 and the median salary for project practitioners in the U.S. is $120K.

PMI’s mission is to help professionals build project management skills through online courses, networking, and other learning opportunities, help them prove their proficiency in project management through certifications, and champion the work that project professionals, like Joshua and Monica, do around the world.

For those interested in pursuing a career in project management to help make a difference, PMI’s Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification could be the starting point to help get your foot in the door.

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