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That Thing You Do Because Your Parents Did

Fat Mum Slim /

I am a child of teenage parents. My parents fell pregnant with me when they were 19, and they’d had my sister 3 years earlier. When I look back at my parents, and the way they parented, I’m kinda in awe. They parented in a way that was just all about love and respect.

I imagine it would have been a struggle at times, but it never felt it. We didn’t have massive rules or expectations, but we created our own as kids and got working on smashing them. We’re all driven. My sister is a corporate high-flyer {a general manager of a multi-million dollar company, no less}, my brother and I own our own businesses and my sister is a talented teacher. Anyways, enough bragging. We turned out alright.

I was always intrigued by other families and their rules. Some were strict and made sure homework was done, and studying was happening. You know when you’d go and visit a friend’s house and it was so different from your own. It smelled different, looked different. I had one friend, an only child, and I was always in awe of how beautiful her home was. It was like a display home. Everything was just perfectly so, and special. I loved having sleepovers at her house because it was such a contrast from my own chaotic home filled with kids, and things.

On the back of her toilet door she had the times tables, so that she could practice. On the back of our door we had a scroll with the Desidrata.

As a kid I could almost repeat it, word for word. Of course some of it I totally didn’t understand, but I knew that ‘I was a child of the universe’. It’s funny, because we spent so much time on the toilet as kids I read it so much that it became words in my head that popped up at times when I needed them. When things were crappy as a teen, I’d often think, ‘it is still a beautiful world’. I’d remember, ‘strive to be happy’ and ‘be yourself’. My favourite is, still to this day, ‘whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the Universe is unfolding as it should’ {good for when I can believe things are happening and then they always end up turning out okay}.

If you were to go to the toilet in my own house now, you’d find a poster on the back of the door with the same words. I did it for the nostalgia, and because it worked for me and I thought it might be good for my own kids.

Lacey will often come out of the toilet and ask things like, “Mum, am I a child of the Universe?”

What do you do now that your parents did back then? Do you make bolognese with the same recipe as your mum just because she did? Or have routines they did that you haven’t broken? Is there anything?



  • I buy Lee & Perrins worcestershire sauce, Nurses cornflour, Keens curry powder because my mum did/does. I make casserole to her recipe as she made it to her mum’s. I had my road rules on the back of the toilet door when I was 16 to pass my test, it’s a great place for learning 🙂

  • Reannon

    I had Desidrata on my wall as a teen & young adult/mum. For the longest time I wanted to paint it on one of my walls.That never eventuated but I still think its one of the most beautiful things I have ever read.

    I always cook a hot Christmas lunch, even on the Christmas days that are 46 degrees, because that’s what my mum did. Sunday is almost always a roast because that’s what mum did. I always hang our underwear on the inner lines because that’s what nana taught me to do.

    I hope there’ll be things that I do that my kids carry on doing too. I’m not sure what those things would be but hopefully there is something!

  • Elita Hooper

    I still have Desidrata on the back of my toilet door because that is where mum had it, so when she passed away and I got my own house it seemed like the right thing to do and to be honest it is the same one my mum had when I was growing up.
    I read every night when I get in to bed….my mum did the same thing.
    I miss her too.

  • Michelle @ Jarrah Jungle

    How have I never read this before wow such beautiful words I need one for my toilet door! Do you know where I can buy one? I make a home cooked dinner every night just like my parents did even though I envied friends who had frozen dinners and takeaway all the time I soon realised my parents kept me fit and healthy by teaching me about good wholesome food 🙂

  • Chantelle, your post brought tears to my eyes last night as I was breastfeeding- through a rough night!

    I was one of those only children with a strict homework routine. BUT… my Mum had the desiderata on the wall of the toilet and I too knew it almost off by heart. It’s quite a few years since I’d read it and going through it now I realise how much of my life philosophy comes from the simple but beautiful words.

    Now I need to go and find a copy for my apartment. Thank you for reminding me. ❤️