My Father I Am?

Growing up I heard it a million times – we grow up to become our parents.

Well not me, no way! I wasn’t going to let that happen. I refused to become a carbon copy. Put my foot down to the very thought. I was different, I would break the mold!

Of course, I never planned on having children either. Hell no! I was the type that cringed
every time a kid made too much noise in a restaurant or supermarket. Yeah, that’s right; I was the single, unsympathetic snob. Get over it already!

I had dreams for a super successful career that would keep me busy 75% of the time, and
occasional rendezvous with the wedded husband (doesn’t that sound simply romantic? Yeah – NOT). I would have staff to keep the living quarters clean and there would be no messy little ones to muck things up! Clearly, in this made-up dream of mine I was a rich  B!*$&.

Where did this ideal come from you ask? I can’t rightly say. I sure as heck wasn’t raised
that way.  I come from a happy, middle-upper class family. And we lived well, but not overly exuberant. Maybe it was the fact that many of the kids at my school were spoiled. And I mean rotten! That was in no way overlooked by me. No, that sort of thing never goes
unnoticed by a kid. When we all turned sixteen I got the twenty-five year old piece of junk that had been sitting in the garage for almost as long, while the other kids started driving something new, something pretty – well – I kind of felt that somewhere deep down.  And it really sucked.

But aside from those feeling of inferiority, kids were never part of the equation. So that meant I didn’t have to worry so much about transforming into the person that nagged constantly about turning off lights, making sure empty glasses made it from bedrooms to the kitchen sinks, or if you were lucky enough to have a small television in your room, turning it off when you left your private sanctuary!

But guess what! Life doesn’t always go as we plan when we are thirteen.

Somewhere between adolescence and halfway to my breakdown point in the midst of
adulthood, I became my father. How did this happen?

I had such a crystal clear understanding when I was younger. I knew John Gage and Roy DeSoto, of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, required my help with the latest  emergency more than those cups and glasses needed to be collected and returned to the kitchen sink.

Marsha Brady’s boy trouble was far more interesting than sulking down the hall to turn  off some silly lights. Oh, and the little black and white television that I innocently left on in my room, that made the space more inviting – less scary.  So let it play on, Dad!  Besides, didn’t we have a maid for all that kind of stuff? Her name was M.O.M.

Yeah…

And every day we would hear, “I’m paying to light up the whole neighborhood?!” Dad could be such a kidder. Ha ha, Dad.

But now that’s me! When did this happen? I was so determined not to become my parents
and still – I slide right into the mold with ease, as if it was always meant to be. Maybe it was. Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents. They were/are absolutely great! But I wanted to be me – different.

Now – every day, every single light in the house is left on. I really mean EVERY SINGLE
LIGHT. I tour the place, room from room, hitting switches as I go. What’s the deal? Are we paying to light up the whole neighborhood? I have become the maid, that one known as M.O.M.

And every day, and I sincerely do mean that, both lights and televisions are on in the
kid’s room when no one is there. They are off, busy with projects in other parts of the house. No doubt turning on lights and television along the way leaving an electric trail for me to follow. Must I become a nag to help them learn? A nag is not what I want to be. But simple reminders don’t appear to work. The words go in one ear and straight out the other, without staying long enough to linger and swim around in their little brains for half a second.

Yesterday’s glasses have now been replaced with today’s plastic water bottles. They are
everywhere. I can mark every spot my child has stopped and dawdled for any length of time. A half-full bottle of water will be left as a sign at each spot , and undoubtedly some sort of snack trash; so much so that we’ve considered a padlock on the pantry. Double that amount can be found in their rooms (scavengers), along with all their dirty clothes that never manage to find their way two feet across the room to the hamper.

Is it a response to the conditions? Is this when I became my dad? God bless him, he
never fixed me. Does that mean there’s no hope for my kids? How about you, have you seen traits of your parents emerge in yourself?

Don’t forget to be checking back next week during Samantha Warren’s blog scavenger hunt to hunt for the answers and see what cool prizes you can win by playing all week long.

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About Debra Kristi

Debra Kristi is a mother, an author, a Pinterest addict, and sometimes DIY home decorator. Hang with her to organize your everyday and leave your mind open to the fantastical.
This entry was posted in Blogfest, Nostalgia Lane, Parenting and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

52 Responses to My Father I Am?

  1. Jennifer says:

    I hear my mother’s voice come out of my mouth – both in what I say to the kids, and how I say it. Aack!

  2. artistlynne says:

    Ahh. That sure brings back a lot of memories!

  3. Elena Aitken says:

    I have totally turned into my parents. It’s sad…but then again, they did a good job with me, right?!
    My kids bedrooms look similar. I refuse to engage…door closed. Not my problem. I’m not going in for anything! It’s dangerous in there.

    • Debra Kristi says:

      I’ve tried that, but somehow the door keeps finding its way open again. Maybe my house has evil little poltergeist helping my kids torture me. LOL The thing is, my son’s room is directly across from mine so it’s the first thing I see when I walk out my bedroom door. Ugh!

      Of course your parents did a fabulous job with you! Look at how amazing you have turned out! 😀

  4. OMG I was LOL at this post – I could’ve written it! Only my dad’s typical refrain was “Shut the GD door! We’re not paying to heat the outside!” He yelled about lights left on too. I only have one kid, but her room looks frighteningly like your photo! LOL And yes, I follow around turning off lights, TVs and picking up water bottles, cans and cups. My husband’s worse about this than our daughter!

    • Debra Kristi says:

      OMG – I remember that. Too funny! We would all run out the door eager to play and the last one out would never shut the door. Hahaha. I joke that it’s easier to keep the house up when the husband is away on business because there is one less person to clean up after. But he helps me a lot too. It’s a tradeoff.

  5. Hehe. I don’t have kids yet, but I do have a husband who leaves his dirty clothes on the floor and glasses lying around. Does that count? I think there’s probably no hope for me not turning into my mom, but that’s okay because the older I get, the more I understand why she was the way she was 🙂

    • Debra Kristi says:

      Husbands are like big kids so they totally count. Once they marry they forget how to put their own clothes in the hamper. I have heard this admitted by more than one man. LOL I also understand so much better now. Funny how that works.

  6. Elisa says:

    I am a lot like both of my parents. And even funnier, my husband is turning into my in-laws LOL! This post is so much fun 😉

  7. In the family I grew up with, I was the neatnik….I could not stand the mess. It was, of course, impossible to get everybody else on board with this habit of mine so I blocked off my own space and kept it perfect. If anyone came into my space and messed with it, I knew immediately and there was heck to pay for the unfortunate violator. Of course, I married a messy husband. Why is it that we all marry our opposites? And of the three children, two were like him….really messy!. There was a time in my life of teaching and doing extracurricular events that I learned how to just walk into the house, kicking myself a path along the way, and get to my little space. One of the worst attacks my husband ever received from me was when he caught me sitting down drinking some tea after I came in from a 14 hr day. He stepped into the front door and said, “Clean up this mess!” I thought I was tired, but I apparently had enough energy to give off a great explosion. Then, I quietly said, “Besides….none of it is mine!”
    Then, there was the time I tried to keep up with it and put everything away as I found it out of place. There were three of them and only one of me….it did not work. And what I noticed was that my husband’s boots and shoes (all 20,000 pair of them…James Marcos) got back into the very same place from which I had just removed them. I finally gave up. When my husband had the gall to ask me why it was such a mess, I said, “Oh, I thought that’s where you wanted them….you keep putting them back there.” I was being nice…my mother once nailed my dad’s socks to the wood floor where he had left them.
    But, I did not sit down to tell you all of this! No, really I wanted to tell you about my neatnik child. You would think that I would have an easier time with him….no. Yes, he kept is little space clean. But then he went after things I saved for a reason and began to throw them out without asking me about it. He is now an engineer, of course. And his wife is a saint. We came to visit once and she was starting some laundry. I watched as she grabbed a pen and marked a notch on the laundry soap box. When asked about it, she explained that she had been instructed to do so by my son to make sure she was not being wasteful. She was expected to get exactly 48 loads out of the box! Now…I’m pretty bad, but that was just ridiculous! We have not let him forget that one yet!
    So, what I am saying in all of this is that yes, messy people are a pain….but neatnik people can be a pain too! And yes, I am talking about myself.

    • Debra Kristi says:

      I became overly neat after I moved out and into my own place for the first time. My mother called it “nesting.” I probably boarder on OCD in that regards. LOL I also find myself constantly picking up shoes and socks only to find them back in the same place. But I hear what you are saying about someone who is overly neat. Do you know what it’s like to set down your coffee cup intending to refill it only to find it has already disappeared and reappeared in the dishwasher? That’s crazy neat. 😀

  8. I admire you for admitting you’ve become your father. I still refrain from saying I’m anything like my parents out loud. 🙂

    • Debra Kristi says:

      That’s alright Krystal. I had/have great parents. I think my dad did okay. He just didn’t want a crazy electric bill. I totally get that now. I can see everything from the other side of the fence now that I’m older.

  9. I feel you pain my friend. But speaking from experience, I think this just goes with the territory unfortunately. I had two boys sixteen months apart. Wee, so much fun. And I said I wasn’t going to have any kids. How did that happen? Well, I eventually figured it out. LOL (And BTW, an answer to your comment on another blog, buy a Toto toilet and your problems will be solved, I promise!) lol

    And if you don’t want the two hundred dollar a month electric bill, I see switching off lights for at least a little while longer in your future. Sorry, it sucks. But it does get better. Eventually, you’ll wish for these days as they all leave the house and you ask yourself where did the time go? And I would shrink my boys up in a heartbeat. But now we’re like friends and talk to one another all the time, so things change, but quickly. So hold on for the ride and enjoy! 🙂

    • Debra Kristi says:

      It totally does go with the territory, that’s part of the splendor of it. At least I think so. Seeing the full circle. 16 months? Wow. Our first didn’t let us (I should say me since the husband sleeps through EVERYTHING) sleep for so long that it took years for us to consider a second. Almost didn’t. (And the other thing – Toto toilet, can it handle a kid trying to flush the entire roll down? I couldn’t find that in the write ups. LOL)

      My husband might change all our lights out to motion sensor. Then we can end up sitting in the dark a lot. LOL

  10. Julie says:

    Not only do I recognize traits of my parents in myself, sometimes I scare myself silly when I yell at one of my kids and realize I SOUND JUST LIKE MY MOTHER!!! Ugh!!

  11. Shannon Esposito says:

    Yep. It happens to the best of us. I actually am a neat freak (like my father). I have a daughter who growing up, just looking into her room gave me an anxiety attack. Now, she’s 21 with her own place. She called me the other day to yell at me for making her neurotic about keeping the house clean. 🙂 I just smiled-my job is done.

    • Debra Kristi says:

      And well done at that! I didn’t get any neat freaks like you. But kids will be kids, it will come in time. I remember shoving it all under the bed and in the closet when I was told to clean up. My kids don’t have the same options.

  12. mgmillerbooks says:

    Yeah, sometimes when I open my mouth these days, my dad comes out 😦

  13. Thoroughly entertaining, Debra! I definitely find myself mirroring traits of both of my parents… My mother’s tendency to blurt things out (“the blurts” we call it 😉 and follow recipes poorly, my father’s hyper-concern for animals… There are many more I could add, but I’ll spare ya. 😉 Luckily, the more I find myself to be like them, the more I’m grateful. Only as adults can we really see how blessed we were and are.

    • Debra Kristi says:

      I completely agree August! And I was super blessed with my folks. Not everyone is so lucky.

      Is there some theory about middle children at play here? There were only two of us raised together and I was the eldest, but I did have an older sister I never knew and the younger brother mentioned in one of my previous posts. But I’m guessing you meant raised in a group as the middle? No. I carried more responsibility and Kristi got away with more being the baby. Not that I tried to get away with some of the things she did, I just suspect I would have been treated different had I done them. They expected more out of me. Older child syndrome.

  14. PS May I ask if you’re a middle child??? 😉

  15. timlobrien says:

    I love that I have become my dad. I swore I would never act like he did. But I do. I get to be the grumpy dad complaining about the electric bill and coming up with witty reasons to shut the door. I totally laugh at myself as I stomp around the house muttering orders and demands on my children!

    • Debra Kristi says:

      Good for you Tim! LOL Someday they will understand it all too. I often think of my grandfather and wonder how my husband and I will be when we get to that stage. He was such a character.

  16. I remember the exact day I started to turn into my parents. The words “What will the neighbors thing?” tumbled out of my mouth and I had to phone my mom right away to tell her she could retire as MOM because I’d taken over the postion. 🙂

    • Debra Kristi says:

      LOL Mine was the same as Pat’s. “If everyone else jumped off a cliff…” Of course my kid being so young and all was like, “huh?” Hahaha

      I’m fairly sure your mom will always be content being your mom. 😉

  17. I knew I’d turned into my parents when I asked Older Daughter, “If ALL the kids were going to jump off a cliff, would you do that, too?”

  18. Haha! Very charming and entertaining read 🙂

    • Debra Kristi says:

      Thank you Kellianne! So glad you stop by. Oh – and did you see the note up above? I say we invest in motion sensors for the lights. Yeah. Then they can end up sitting in the dark if they become dormant for too long. LOL

  19. And now I will go around and turn off all of those lights that suddenly seem amazingly obviously on for no good reason.

  20. Lynn Kelley says:

    Oh wow, I love this post. We can all relate to this! I’ve turned into a little of each of my parents. There are times when I’m disgusted with something or someone, likes a sales clerk who’s being rude and I turn to the person with me. My kids will say, “That’s a Granddad look.” My husband catches me giving him my dad’s ‘look’ too. And sometimes I act just like my mom. And now my own grown kids have some of my mannerisms. It’s amazing.

    I love that photo with the kids leaving all the lights on and leaving their water bottles here and there. That’s a riot!

  21. I LOVE this post because I’ve been thinking the very same thing myself..not that you’re turned out like your father…er…but that I’ve become my mother..LOL I thought about doing a post on it, as it’s so drastic! Sharing this with everyone…:)

    • Debra Kristi says:

      That’s okay Paige, you can say it… I know you’ve been comparing me to my dad lately. LOL

      I’m sure your mom would appreciate the fact that you’ve chosen to be like her after all these years. 😀 Thanks for sharing the post with your cult members… I mean adoring fans. Hehehe

  22. Oh jeez I had to laugh at this post! Two phrases fly from my mouth on a very regular basis. “Am I the ONLY one in this house who knows how to turn a light switch OFF?!!!” and “That light switch turns OFF as easily as it turns ON!” Actually I guess it’s three phrases, the final one being, “WHY ARE ALL OF THE LIGHTS ON IN THE HOUSE WHEN NO ONE IS IN THE ROOMS?!!!!!!!!!!!”

    Maybe it’s not so much that we’ve turned into our parents as it is that hatred of electric bills is a universal thing. Along with the wasted water in those bottles (yes, that happens here, too, along with forgotten sodas).

    Seriously though…it’s inevitable. We spent too many years with our parents to not inherit some of their mannerisms and attitudes. Hopefully we’ve picked up on the best, and managed to avoid the worst.

    Loved the reference to Emergency. It was one of my favorite shows as a kid. But I caught a couple of episodes not too long ago on Hulu (I think)…and wished I hadn’t. It’s kind of cheesy now that I’m all grown up. 🙂

    • Debra Kristi says:

      It’s funny how shows we grew up with and loved back then seem so cheesy now. We have grown and become much more sophisticated. Star Trek is a great example of that. Still love Star Trek simple because, but it is total cheese if you ask me.

      • I know what you mean. One show I really loved (though I didn’t catch it until it was shown in reruns) was The Greatest American Hero. I watched a couple of episodes of that online awhile back and had to say no more. Couldn’t even figure out why I liked it in the first place, lol. Something else I loved, and coveted for years, was a movie called Zorro, the Gay Blade. I laughed SO hard watching it the first time. Later in life I was glad I hadn’t spent the $60 for the video. 🙂

  23. I don’t have any children of my own, by choice, but I do have a step-son that has lived with hubby and I full time since he was 14 years old. And I’ve come to realize that A) I am EXACTLY like my mother; B) that my mother wasn’t an idiot but the most amazing women ever; and that C) SHE WAS RIGHT…about everything! I don’t know how many times in the last five years I’ve called her to say “I am soooo sorry…I was such an idiot! I have no idea how you put up with me. Can you ever forgive me?”
    I assume it’s a cycle so look forward to it! LOL!!!

    • Debra Kristi says:

      It’s so amazing how we see the light when we are older. Someday your step-son and my kids will see how right we are too! Until then they will just be kids and we can love them for who they are. Which I do, unconditionally.

      The testament to how amazing your mom was at raising you can be viewed in the mirror every day!

  24. Hi Debra!

    I’d like to think I inherited my parents’ better traits. 🙂 I’ll never forget my sister calling me one night crying after an argument with her boyfriend. She wasn’t sobbing over the fight but because she sounded just like our mother. Heh.

    I coveted Mary Tyler Moore’s cool studio apartment in her show. I, too, had my career mapped out, and it didn’t include cleaning out rain gutters and washing windows. Or reminding my husband to eat over the sink.

    • Debra Kristi says:

      And you’re reminding me that my rain gutters need to be cleaned out, the windows wiped down and I could probably sweep several crumbs off the floor right now if I go grab a broom. *sigh* (hates house work!)

      I’m sorry to hear your sister was dismayed to feel herself letting a part of your mother in. Has she come to terms with it since then? From all the comments left I would venter a guess that it’s not an isolated incident, but very common. Thanks for stopping in Jennifer!

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  27. My mom has a plaque in her house that says,

    Mirror, mirror on the wall
    I have become my mother
    After all…

    That frightens me enough to keep trying to break the mold!

    • Debra Kristi says:

      I think you can be whomever you chose Ms. Tameri! You’re a beautiful person so you shouldn’t worry. I am a better person for having met you. 🙂 Sorry you were sick.

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