When Old-Fashioned is the New Fashion

When I’m describing my parents to someone, there is one word that immediately comes to mind: old-fashioned. 

they've loosened up on the reigns now that we're all legal drinking age 

My dad has looked like that since I can remember. To me, they never looked old, they just looked like my parents. I’ve often wondered if they played the part of the old-fashioned parents so well b/c they perfectly looked the part, like a self-fulfilling prophecy, but more often than not I contribute their strictness to being devout Irish Catholics (and for the record, I certainly don't think they look old fashioned, especially my beautiful mom, but this is all a moot point b/c they don't even know what a blog is).  

They were the parents who needed to call my friends parents and make sure an adult would be present for every sleepover aka RUIN MY LIFE b/c this was the most embarrassing thing ever. They were the parents who would read permission slips and report cards and point out how I needed to get my math grade up instead of blindly signing like everyone else’s parents.

This old-fashioned and hardass parenting style seems to be way more in trend now than it ever was when I was growing up, since so many things I was embarrassed about seem to be the new normal. For instance:

Reusable shopping bags
My mom was light-years ahead of her time here. We had a slew of canvas bags we brought to the supermarket every week. We called them the Midgley bags b/c our friends, the Midgley’s, gave them to us. This was back in the ‘90’s and unheard of. Reusable shopping bags might not be old-fashioned, but the high-school cashiers at our supermarket weren’t Ivy-leaguers to begin w/, so the checkout always seemed like an embarrassing ordeal.

Family dinners
Every night w/out fail, my mom would cook and the six of us would sit down at the kitchen table and eat dinner together. Looking back, I can’t believe she did this, since we have always been a one car family, so whatever she was making had to be planned around loading four kids in the car and shooting across town to pick up her husband from work. Once we got older at least, we could lighten the load a little by staying home and helping w/ the finishing tasks. This has to be one of the reasons why my mom doesn’t enjoy herself in the kitchen; it’s always been such a chore. Just typing out this memory is exhausting me. At most friends’ houses, we were eating in front of the TV, probably McDonald’s or Burger King, but at home it was always a home cooked meal around the kitchen table.

No soda
What did we drink during these family dinners? Milk. We single-handedly kept Byrne Dairy in business. To this day, I love drinking milk w/ grilled cheese and tomato soup and most red sauce dishes. I don’t buy cow’s milk unless I need it for a recipe, and drinking a glass of almond milk just isn’t the same, so I rarely get this beloved childhood combination anymore. My parents kept a few two-liters rattling around in the cellar refrigerator, and we could drink those sometimes on Thursdays, if it was frozen pizza night. I remember going over to a certain friend’s house and seeing soda! In the kitchen refrigerator! I thought she was the height of sophistication. 

Limited technology
We didn’t have cable television until I was in middle school. This isn’t that bad, but somehow Disney and Nickelodeon and the Cartoon Network were all I heard about at school. I loved all the superhero cartoons, like Ninja Turtles and Batman and X-Men, which fortunately were on Fox, so I wasn’t totally deprived. My parents have never had call waiting, and if you are reading this and don’t think this is a big deal, you clearly didn’t grow up in the ‘90’s and early aughts, b/c call waiting was the shit (or at least, it looked like the shit, on every movie and TV show and friends phone, but I wouldn’t know personally since we didn’t have it). We had AOL and never got another line, so we could only be online for small amounts of time b/c someone could be calling the house and it could be an emergency so stop surfing the internet, Brigid, your father might be trying to call!

Library cards
This one I’m not at all bitter about and would like to thank my parents for saving me billions of dollars b/c I use libraries to this day for everything. Growing up, one of the side tables in our living room was the library table, since it’s where we kept the stacks of books and VHS movies we rented. You had to mark the due date of your items on the family calendar, and if you forgot and there was a fine on your books, boy, were you in for it. One of the libraries near our house was even open on Sundays, which let me tell you, as someone who has belonged to a zillion libraries and been to all the branches, a Sunday library scene is a real rarity. I was reading a blog recently and the girl was giving a tip about using libraries instead of buying books and all the comments were like, omg I’d never think to go to the library, I didn’t even know libraries existed anymore and I was like, wait, am I ahead of the trend for once? If using the library is cool, consider me Beyonce.


Stephanie said…
Hahaha my parents are just like yours! They definitely loosened up after I turned 21, definitely. We did have cable tv though, I remember that. We didn't have call waiting, but we always had two phone lines because one was for my dad's office/patient emergency calls. So technically I could still surf the web because people could try the other line!
Yeewuz said…
Beyonce? More like Miles Davis.
Brigid said…
@Steph: ugh, the struggle was so real under parents like ours! yours make more sense, since you were an only child, but I was the youngest of four! they should have been like, eh, whatevs, by the time I came around.

@Brent: Billy Madison?