18 Things Only People Who Grew Up With Non-Parental Parents Understand


1. Before you learned to drive, you were always insanely late to everything because your parents — bless them — couldn’t get you somewhere on time if their lives depended on it. In elementary school, your parents legitimately had to drive you all the way to the field trip destination because you missed the bus that was taking the entire third grade class to the science museum.

2. Once you learned to drive, you argued that you should get to take the car more often because that was the only way everyone was going to get to where they needed to be on time.

3. You were that little kid: the one that was up at the crack of dawn and woke your parents up at 7 AM on Saturday — likely jumping on their bed and singing show tunes — when your parents were really hoping to sleep until 10 AM.

4. You take care of people. It’s one of the things you’re best at. Your parents never sugarcoated things when times got tough. If your family was experiencing money problems, or dealing with a death in the family, your mom or dad shared those things with you. And that’s why you learned to give emotional support at such a young age.

5. No one in your family is ever reachable by phone. Even if you were to call from a six-week European excursion, you’d get their answering machine, but you wouldn’t be able to leave a message because their mailboxes are always full.

6. It’s impossible to come to a decision on anything in your house because your parents are trying to parent the kids, and the kids are trying to parent the parents.

7. Growing up, you were the textbook definition of a latchkey kid. You always ended up at the library, or at a friend’s house after school. When your friend’s parents asked if you wanted to stay for dinner, everyone knew the answer was going to be, “yes please.”

8. You semi-resented the withering, sympathetic looks other kid’s parents would give you because they picked their kid up promptly at 3 PM, while your parents worked long hours and couldn’t get to you right after school.

9. You are great at fending for yourself because you learned to rely on yourself at a young age. Because your family was always running around, you learned to take care of yourself because everyone else was attending to other things.

10. Everyone else seems to have tidy, well-charted memories of their childhood: the same traditions on Thanksgiving, going to grandma’s house upstate for Christmas, etc. Your memories aren’t filed that way because you were always doing something different, and your family didn’t have the same set plans for the holidays year after year.

11. You are always the person in the friend group who is trying to defuse fights because you know what it feels like to grow up in a household where absolutely no one is getting along. Even now, you dislike conflict and confrontation.

12. You never had to figure out how to get away with staying out late. You never specifically asked whether you could stay over at a friend’s house, or go on a date, you just mentioned it as you were walking out of the house, and no one questioned it.

13. If you ever wanted to have your friends over, or bring your high school boyfriend or girlfriend home, it was never an issue. You enjoyed the luxury of teenage privacy because it was common knowledge that your parents routinely came home late, and would occasionally leave town for the weekend leaving you with zero supervision.

14. You never dealt with the “no phones at the table” rule because getting your family to all sit down together, even back in the age of the palm pilot, was a long shot. Your parents were generally working, your other siblings had their own stuff going on, and even though you all said you’d eat at 7 PM, everyone knew that dinner wasn’t going to be ready until at least 8:30 PM anyway.

15. Some people learned how to cook from their parents. You learned how to order chinese takeout. And that skill has served you well.

16. You are the child of a single working parent, two working parents, or a grandparent/caretaker who worked full-time. You honestly got to see firsthand how hard some people work when trying to raise children and further their careers or make ends meet. You spent your entire childhood learning how to work hard, and providing support and love for your family when they needed it.

17. Even now, organizing holidays is a mess because no one in your family takes the lead on planning a gathering. You end up stepping in and encouraging everyone to book flights so you can all end up in the same room, at the same time, and maybe eat a turkey together.

18. You were the one who asked your parents to text you when they got to their final destination safely, instead of it being the other way around. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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