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When it’s Gone, It’s Gone

Have you had a moment when you realize that you have, in fact, turned into your parents, in one way or another? My brothers have teased me for years, but lately, I think the transformation has been completed.

I don’t really mind; I’ve always thought my mom was kind of a bad ass in an unassuming way. But when phrases come out of my mouth, in the exact word and intonation as she expressed in 1982, it kind of freaks me out.

My latest phrase is in regards to food and grocery shopping. My kids are starting to eat food at an alarming rate. Fruit, cereal,  yogurt, crackers, granola bars, and string cheese just pass through our house, from the grocery bag to their mouths. It’s sort of mind-boggling how a 4-foot-tall child can consume so much, but it’s true. And when she (and he) are clamoring for a second bowl of yogurt or a third serving of crackers, I say the words my mother uttered to my brother and me, “When it’s gone, it’s gone.”

As a kid, I didn’t get it. So what if we ate all of the Little Debbie Star Crunches in two days? Why not just run into the store and get more? Excuse us for drinking all of the orange juice, we were thirsty. They have it at the store, what’s the big deal?

As a grown up, now saddled with responsibility, a schedule, and expenses, here’s the big deal, toots – my life doesn’t revolve around feeding you.

My mom never put it that way, she simply put the parameter out there – except for milk (which she used in her coffee), if we ran out of anything, we would make it until Tuesday, which was the day she went shopping. I have now implemented the same rule, except that my kids drink rice drink and I use half and half in my coffee (yes, we are fancy). If we run out of either of those, I will go to the store. Other than that, we can make it through until Tuesday.

Have you become your mother/father/grandmother/grandfather?

14 replies on “When it’s Gone, It’s Gone”

I have turned into my father regarding electricity usage. My husband and sister cannot shut off a freaking light to save their lives and it makes me crazy. He will stay up late and I will come downstairs in the morning to the fan going full blast and the living room lit up like a Christmas tree. Seriously?!?!?!?!? I keep threatening to saddle him with the PG&E bill, but I don’t think it will sink in until I actually do it. So yes, I now find myself freaking out about power usage and feel awful for giving my dad so much grief about being a tightwad growing up.

I’ve found myself rebelling against a lot of my mother’s food rules. As an adult I find it sort of absurd to ignore your cravings in favor of whatever happens to be around, which results in eating a lot of crappy food that never fully satisfies you. Which isn’t to say that kids have daily nutrient cravings for Swiss Miss, but I think there can be a middle ground between a kid eating the cookies all in one go and never having any say in what she eats.

I work at the same place as my father (sometimes. and only a little BECAUSE he works there) and the other day I was telling a story and two of my/our coworkers CRACKED UP and I was like, “this wasn’t a very funny story…” and they both started exclaiming, “your dad would have made that exact face! it was just like your dad just said that! it’s exactly the same!”

Also the part where we have the job and similar research interests is another factor in our being-the-same-person-ness. Haha.

I just got back from bra shopping, and found myself trying on Wonderbras from boxes, which I know sounds like a weird thing to be hung up on, but I totally am. While I’ve bought (terrible) bras form La Senza type places for years, my mom has always, to the best of my knowledge, bought Wonderbras in packages, so to me those are Mom Bras. And now I’ve now seriously considered buying one (except it was too ripply under my shirt), and am lamenting my old age.

My Mom buys those too! And she’s always trying to tell me to look at Zeller’s or the Bay and _maybe_ they’ll have my size because they are such good value. They won’t. They don’t make my size.

Which poses an interesting question. Why am I so happy to be a size where I have to pay $100+ per bra just so I don’t have to justify not buying boxed bras to my mother? At least there’s always figleaves.co.uk.

When I was a kid we had a lot of “one a day” items. So granola bars, cans of pop, juice boxes, fruit snacks, string cheese, cookies etc. we could have once per day – usually in our lunchbox. And we wouldn’t have them regularly stocked – we’d usually only have one type of “special” snack in the house (dunkeroos, fruit-roll-ups) that was expensive and junky. There was always other stuff available for snacks if we were hungry, but we knew that certain things, particularly individually wrapped snacks, were too expensive to eat all at once, and with three kids it was the most reliable way to make sure that one of us didn’t eat all of something before the others got a chance. It worked for us most of the time, anyways.

I love this. I’m going to steal this with my kids, okay? :)

Your article is so timely, too, as I had been debating with husband about some good ways to provide our future kids with a sense of ownership in the household resources. Your (or rather, your mother’s) tactic is seems the answer: easy to enforce, easy to understand.

Oh my god, this was my mum’s favourite phrase when I was growing up. (That and “It’s not a fashion parade!” Which I never understood. What IS a fashion parade, exactly?) I now get why she’d say it, but I don’t think she understood that I was perfectly happy to gorge myself then go without for a while. I’ve always been all-or-nothing.

I don’t have kids, but I sometimes find myself saying some of my mum’s other phrases to the cat, which is probably even worse.

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