May 12, 2021

Similarity in how your way matches the way you grew up?

Let me 'splain . . . 

My utensil drawer was overflowing recently. Well, not recently. It's full all the time. Let's blame Becky (HI BECKY) for buying me a spatula for my new kitchen a few years ago. She was shocked that I didn't own a legitimate, actual spatula. 

Now that I own one, I'm not sure how I got by without one. 

Even with a new kitchen with plenty of space, the handles of the utensils were getting stuck and jamming the drawer at times. I thought:  Hmm, if only there was a solution for a drawer overflowing with utensils. 

Exhibit A.

I clicked over to Amazon, as one does. There are utensil holders FOR THE COUNTERTOP. I know, I know. This isn't earth shattering. But I've never owned one. When I thought about it, I realized that my mom never owned one either. Come to think of it, my mom's kitchen never had a spatula like the one Becky gave me, only the kind of spatula one uses for flipping pancakes, which is what I owned prior to the Becky gift - the flipping pancakes kind. Are there different names for these two spatula types? Enlighten me.

Lookie here! It's blue, not black,
 I have a blue island.
Now I feel the need to update
 some of my shabby looking utensils
 to go with the shiny new holder.

Then I began to recognize the many things that I do in my house, because that's how it was when I was growing up. Happily, some of the 'systems' I grew up with, I've shifted away from. I've compiled a list. 

My mom never, ever bought Pam cooking spray. I ONLY decided to purchase some within the last few years. Always just buttered a pan. Life changing. 

My mom never had a cleaning lady. She had really neat-freak kids (myself excluded). I know this about her kids, because my kids are the total opposite, and I recognize the difference. Even as the mother to messy kids, I don't have a cleaning lady. For years it was because I couldn't afford it. I might be able to afford it now, but I don't think I can justify it. My delightful children would trash my home in minutes. They'd watch me lose my shit ALL THE TIME, if they spilled on a floor I paid someone to clean, or peed on a floor, or tracked mud on the floor, - well, you get the idea. 

My folks never had an ottoman or a coffee table in the family room. We don't either. Remember when I tried convincing Coach that we needed one? We have a coffee table in the living room - in fact, it was my parents' coffee table from their living room. I wouldn't mind updating that room with MY OWN NEWLY PURCHASED FURNITURE. Not a priority. 

My mom owned one laundry basket. One. Forever. She had 5 kids. We have at least 7 laundry baskets and it still never seems like it's enough. 

My mom never owned a crockpot. I own three. I think they've just grown in popularity. My high school friend told me that her mom wouldn't use a crockpot because she feared her house would burn down while she was at work. 

I think I mentioned before how my mom owned one slip to wear under skirts, maybe she had 2. Regardless, we (my two sisters and I) all had to borrow it if we needed a slip. We didn't own one. I assume this is because Target didn't yet exist, There was K-Mart. We didn't wear a slip that often, but if we were all getting dressed up mom would get in a frenzy about it. Money was tight, but certainly not THAT tight. As far as my slip inventory - happily, I don't feel the need to wear a slip with my wardrobe pieces. Except that one dress that I wore in Vancouver when Curly danced and you, my blog friends, advised a slip. So I guess that's another similarity - like my mother, I now own one slip.

I find that I still buy some of the cleaning products that my mom bought when I was a kid. Like COMET. TIDE laundry detergent. And Ivory dish soap. I also use the same face moisturizer as my mother:  Oil of Olay. After reading Nicole's recent post about beauty products, I might add a few to the mix.

I won't even go into the food that I serve that my mom wouldn't ever consider preparing. Like peppers. Avocados. Tacos. Chili. I'll stop there, or this will become the longest post ever. Oh, I must mention that I'm less picky in my butter buying. My mom is a great baker. I'm no slouch myself, but my mom goes to great lengths to buy Parkay. I'm more butter/margarine-flexible. 

Also food related:  we didn't have a microwave when we were growing up - even after they were a thing. My mom doesn't like 'new-fangled' stuff. My sibs and I bought a microwave in like 1987 or so for her for Christmas. FINALLY. Prior to that, my mom heated up leftover meatloaf in a frying pan with tomato sauce. How did we survive? 

My sibs were REALLY skinny. My brothers looked malnourished. When I worked at Burger King during high school, my fellow employees (also teens) used to see my family come into the restaurant. My mom always clutching a Whopper coupon in one hand. My BK buds would ask me:  So if you guys ever got locked out of the house, does one of you just crawl under the door to unlock it?  Wise-asses. I differ from my mom here - my teenagers EAT - like as if they might win something. 

My mom almost ALWAYS sported a velour J-Lo-esque jogging suit in the 80s. She was very forward thinking, apparently. We teased her that it was her uniform. I can't say that I've ever owned a velour sweat suit. Look at me, breaking from tradition.

Anyone find themselves falling into the same routines, purchases, or habits as their mothers/or growing up house? Did anyone finally decide to buy themselves a utensil holder only after becoming a card-carrying adult?


Ally Bean said...

You're right about how the habits of our mother's live on with us, until we make a conscious decision to change. My mother always put all cooking utensils in a drawer, not utensil holder on the counter. I have three utensil holders because I can't be bothered with opening a drawer when I'm cooking. I have a crockpot that I use weekly, she had none. No microwave, no air conditioning, no automatic garage door opener. Writing this reminds me of how differently I live now than I did growing up.

Anonymous said...

My mom insisted you need to buy named brand flour and sugar for baking and I still do this. I don't know if it is in my head but I swear the time I tried to buy store brand my stuff didn't turn out as good.

Kate said...

I had to lol when I read the comment about one of you slipping under the door!!!

Ernie said...

Ally - I can't believe that I JUST got a utensil holder. It's so dang handy! I would need to acquire more utensils to fill 3 holders. Not opposed to it.

We had no garage door opener until we moved to a house that already had one. Prior to that my parents used to like to tell people that they didn't need one since they had 5 kids who could jump out of the car and open the garage door. It makes me wonder though, did they even lock the garage? I really don't think so. Crazy. We had AC, but almost never used it. I can remember my parents waking us up in stifling heat and telling us we should sleep in the family room where it was less hot. We ALL slept there.

Ernie said...

Anonymous - Interesting. Yes, my mom is all about name brand baking ingredients and I've followed that example. Makes you wonder if the off brand really impacts your baking. I don't think I want to experiment because who wants to do all that work and have crap results?

Ernie said...

Kate - Holy cow, the funny comments and situations that cropped up while I worked at Burger King - I got an education there. I seriously sometimes consider trying to organize a reunion of employees from when I worked there. The twins Marc and Marcia . . . well, I've tried to find them on FB but I can't remember their last name. Fast food work was grueling, but we had a blast.

Suzanne said...

Those habits from growing up are hard to kick! They just seem like The Way Things Are Done. My mom never had a laundry basket -- just scooped up the laundry from our hampers and carried it down to the washer in her hands -- so I do the same thing. Even though we do own a laundry basket, because my husband grew up in a laundry basket household! And I definitely use some of the same cleaning products my mom used when I was a kid.

Kara said...

Growing up- no laundry baskets. Now, lots of laundry baskets. My dad never did the laundry, my husband does all the laundry.
Growing up- no a/c or even a garage. Now, central air and a garage.
Growing up- all couches were recliners. Now, I hate recliners and only have one in the den, because that's where my parents hang out when they visit.
Growing up- no blender. Now, my Ninja Blender lives on my counter and is used daily.

Kari said...

This is so true. I do so many of the same things my mom and grandma did. We keep the utensils on the counter though. I don't remember if my mom did that. We didn't have AC growing up but now it's usually standard in homes.
This was fun to read. :)

ccr in MA said...

I do think I have followed the way my mother did/does things, mostly. But my mother was more against the way her mother had done things, and tells a story on herself: she was talking to a neighbor once about a household problem that *her* mother would have solved by doing something a certain way, and the neightbor teasing her that, well, if your mother would have done it, then of course you can't do it!

Nicole MacPherson said...

Oh, this was SUCH a fun post! I have so much to say. One: I always always always hated wearing slips and my mother insisted on it, because she didn't think non-slip-wearing was appropriate for dresses (mostly to church). God, I hated slips! I have no idea why my hatred but there we are. My mom also never bought cooking spray, and I use it now. SO much easier than buttering the pan. My mom never bought margarine and neither do I, although I occasionally buy vegan butter which is probably the same thing. Mostly, I just buy butter. I call a spatula a spatula and the flipper the flipper, but there is probably an actual name for it. FOOD - well, my mom was a meat and potatoes lady, also a casserole and leftover lady and I don't cook that way. A couple times a week I might make extra for leftovers but I won't eat them, only the guys for lunches or whatnot. I think this is the longest comment I have ever left anywhere, I could probably write a whole post on this! I really enjoyed this post, Ernie, thanks!

Martha said...

Reading this reminded me of the Progressive insurance commercials about becoming your parents. Those commercials crack me up! I actually have done the exact opposite of my mother. She was always on the messy side and she didn't cook much. I'm ridiculously organized and love to cook. She did cook at holidays and everything had to be super formal. For holidays I serve informal, buffet style with holiday themed paper plates - my mother was mortified when I first took over doing the holidays lol. I'm the opposite on everything I can think of. Weird huh?

Suz said...

What a fun, thought-provoking post. I'm sure I've said it 100 times, that I didn't have a traditional childhood, so I'm not doing any of the same things as my mom; she was very unorganized. LOL-she didn't really do anything consistently (aside from being late or forgetting to pick me up from anything) But, my girls are following suit.

Lolo tells me all the time that she is turning into ME with a lot of the things you mentioned here; it makes me smile and then I also feel bad for her-it's a challenge to be me!

Like Martha said, those progressive commercials crack me up!

I can't remember the last time I wore a slip either, but I have at least 2.

By the way, I'm a true believer in the utensil crock and I still have an overflowing drawer of utensils; I think I'm doing it wrong. I do love your back splash tile too. I know I've said it before, but it bares repeating.

Gigi said...

I'm sure there are a few carry over habits/tics that I learned from my mom (makeup off/face washed and moisturized EVERY night - funny, she used Oil of Olay too as did I until several years ago - and ALWAYS have at least two sets of sheets for every bed - so you can make up the bed while the other set is in the wash) - but mostly, no. By now, I've figured out what works for me.

You mentioned name brand products - the only thing we ever had growing up that was name brand was Peter Pan peanut butter, which is still the preferred peanut butter in this house. I prefer to use certain eggs and butter for my baking but other than that I don't see much difference in other products such as sugar, flour, etc.

Without a doubt, how our mothers ran their household shaped how we run ours. But I think usually, we end up running ours in a mish-mash of her way and our way.

Ernie said...

Suzanne - I like the way you capitalize The Way Things are Done. So very true. I remember going to friends' houses for dinner and being like, OH - HMM, NOT HOW WE DO IT AT OUR HOUSE. It was always interesting to see another side.

NO LAUNDRY BASKET? My house is already sprinkled with dirty socks, but with no baskets to transport clean laundry I'm sure there would be clean socks sprinkled here and there as I dragged clean laundry around to sort in front of the TV.

Ernie said...

Kara - So funny. I think what I hear you saying is that you are a true rebel. You go against the grain here, but I think you are on to something . . . a husband who does laundry? Stop it.

Ernie said...

Kari - I think it's just natural to follow in the footsteps of our moms or our household. I remember getting into an argument with Coach when we were registering about whether or not to get an electric skillet or an electric frying pan. My mom had one and his mom the other. It was like merging our different 'ways.'

Ernie said...

ccr - I think the thing I try to do DIFFERENT from my mom is NOT MAKING MY GIRLS WEAR THEIR HAIR BOY-LENGTH SHORT. That was my childhood cross to bear. Oh, and my mom also raised us by the double standard . . . boys mattered more. That's gross, in my estimation.

Ernie said...

Nicole - I am tickled that you've left your longest comment ever here. Glad you enjoyed this topic. I could easily write a whole post about what my mom could do NOW, but refuses to . . . cell phone, GPS, email, Alexa, etc. Truly a 'new fangled' hater. And, why not use cooking spray? Why refuse to embrace progress. Mini just walked in and thought of another one that drives my offspring crazy . . . I don't own a mop. My mom didn't either. I'm in the mindset that floors need to be scrubbed on my hands and knees.

Ernie said...

Martha - YES - I love those commercials. Hilarious! So funny that you took the opposite approach to EVERYTHING. It will be interesting to see if my kids follow in my running late footsteps, or my organized buy OK with clutter footsteps, etc. My parents go so over the top for Christmas. The number of gifts is insane . . . I can already tell my kids that Coach and I won't be going that nuts when it comes to buying Christmas gifts.

Ernie said...

Suz - "It's a challenge to be me" - you crack me up. Oh, those progressive ads are the bomb. They never get old. I've often felt like I am turning into my mother, but the older she gets - I feel less like I'm morphing into her . . . my sister on the other hand, well - hmm. My mom was not afraid to stick up for us, like challenging a teacher who was a nightmare . . . but it would typically end with my mom getting emotional and breaking down into tears. Um, I like to think I've taken that characteristic and I've fine-tuned it, because weeping mid-confrontation is not my style. Sending Mini to school in a cap and gown while wearing boxing gloves after the school barred Tank from graduation the year prior . . . all day long. ;)

I think I should invest in more spatulas and such. They make me happy, and they really aren't too pricey . . . so why not? I still have to train my people to put the utensils in the new holder . . . they keep landing in the cramped drawer. Laughing at your "I think I'm doing it wrong."

Always happy to take compliments on my backsplash tile. I found myself in a kitchen place the other day - begging them to replace a cabinet my crap contractor put in that split . . . anyway, I was like 'OHH, LOOK AT THESE TILES.' So fun to look.

Ernie said...

Gigi - My mom was sort of anti makeup. She never really showed me how to do any of it and never bought me any. It was considered taboo for so long because I'd get in trouble if I wore it. So here I am, au natural mostly. My mom doesn't have pierced ears and neither do I, but for me it was because it grossed me out. I don't think that was her issue.

They do influence us so much, but I agree we do gradually get our own thing going.

Oh, and we ALWAYS had Peter Pan peanut butter growing up. And Wonder bread.

Beth Cotell said...

I find it so funny that you are this old and just now got a utensil holder!!! That's a hoot!

Growing up, each bathroom had a large clothes hamper in it and when it was time to laundry, the hamper was emptied into piles on the floor and carried by the armful to the washing machine. Even as a child I found this very inefficient and also, those hampers took up a lot of space. Now, it's laundry baskets in each closet for the win!

We also didn't get a microwave until 1987. That must have been when they officially became affordable for the masses. That thing lasted forever. My parents finally replaced it about 7 or 8 years ago. Meanwhile, the microwave I bought 4 years ago died last week and we had to get a new one. grrrrrrrrr

Anonymous said...

I grew up in a family with 4 daughters, 1 son. We often talk about how many things we do like our mother. Her biggest thing was she never wasted anything, was the thriftiest person ever. Of course we had rubber spatulas because everything had to be scraped clean! We all say that if we are tossing the last tablespoon on food instead of saving to incorporate into the next meal that we can feel our mother looking over our shoulder. Then we throw still throw it away!

Now the mop- get one now! I cannot believe with 6 kids you don't have a mop! Scrubbing on hands & knees is for once in a while -- I recently purchased a Villeda Spin mop (my daughter in law told me how great it was). You can clean the baseboards with it; I even do the hardwood as it dries so fast. Then you throw the mop head in the washing machine. It will change your life.

Ernie said...

Beth - That makes two of us - what rock was I living under? Life-changing. How I wish that the closets had space for a laundry basket on the floor. My laundry room is upstairs - all they have to do is walk from the bathroom and drop their clothes in the appropriate basket in the laundry room NEXT TO THE BATHROOM. Mini cannot function this way. She isn't happy unless her floor is coated in dirty laundry. A constant struggle. They sure don't make appliances like they used to. Don't get me started on the crazy number of dishwashers and printers we have gone through. Sorry about your microwave. Despite the fact that they don't last - they sure are pricey.

Ernie said...

Anonymous - My mom hated wasting things too, maybe not to the same extent as your mom. I do remember VIVIDLY the first time my mom spent more than $100 at the grocery store. She was beside herself. Ha. I spend close to $400 a week when all the kids are home and another $250-450 at Costco.

We did buy a robot cleaning thing - it doesn't sweep, it washes. It has been life changing. I washed the floor on my hands and knees last weekend, because that thing doesn't scrape the stuck on food. I might look into that mop though, because the kids might be able to use it for the in-between times. I haven't learned how to use the robot thing yet . . . Coach has showed me, but I'm not really 'getting it' - and you know, that's not a bad thing because he sets it up since I'm so 'confused.' (wink, wink)

Bibliomama said...

I don't think I do much the same as my mom did, partly because I had my head in the clouds (or a book) a lot growing up so didn't pay enough attention to how things were done at home, and partly because we are just very different people. I don't fold my towels like her, I do one load of laundry every night rather than a bunch on laundry day, I cook different things (we're both good cooks, just different), I'm more comfortable with a degree of chaos. That spatula/spatula thing does bug me, because I call them both spatulas but they are VERY DIFFERENT THINGS. I have two utensil holders on the counter AND some in drawers. Why do I have so many utensils? My mother is hypermanic and unmedicated, so she can't rest until everything is perfect. I am depressive and chronically fatigued so I... can.

Ernie said...

Ali - Funny, I didn't pay attention much to how my mom did things growing up either - I think this is because I had two older sisters who were goodie-two-shoe types and they stood around and did stuff to help out. I was busy 'making stuff' out of shoeboxes and yarn, etc. I always took my mom's scissors. The fact that my mom could never find her scissors always landed me in trouble. Why oh why could we not afford to buy another scissors for $3 or less? Anyway, I think I broke a record calling my mom all the time when I was on my own to ask how to get a stain out or how to cook a specific meal. My mom is constantly cleaning. Cleaning is not my thing and I am OK living with constant chaos. Oh, and my family cannot adjust to the utensil holder on the counter. "Where is the whisk?"

Mellie said...

I actually did the same thing with my utensils not long ago. I got tired of the cluttered drawer and bought two stainless steel containers to keep them next to the stove. It took me a long time to stop fretting over not doing some of the things my mom did. Sunday dinner was one - she'd cook a big lunch every Sunday and then we'd have cereal at night. I finally decided I could do what I wanted and gradually got away from doing it.

Ernie said...

Mellie - I'm enjoying my less cluttered drawers, but I'm struggling to train my people to STOP putting the utensils in the drawer when they unload the dishwasher. I can't complain much or I will lose my unloading helpers.

Yes! Sunday dinner in the afternoon. My mom did that. We ate 'supper' at lunch on Sunday and then had sandwiches in the evening. I thought when I was growing up I thought my mom was a master chef. Looking back though, we had Stauffer's French Bread Pizza for dinner sometimes. That would count as a snack at my house. I could NOT get away with that. I cook a lot of 'real' meals - more than we ate growing up.