Random Thursday: It’s just how I was raised

Once again I’m hooking up with Em, Lin and Katrin for Random Thursday, and this week’s topic is a doozy! I think almost all of us have something “weird” in our habits or personalities that is just a by-product of how we were raised. A few of the things about me that are “weird” but seem perfectly normal based on how I was raised…

1. I read. A lot. Thanks to blogging I’ve finally met other book-obsessed who understand this, but in RL I don’t know a lot of avid readers. When I was growing up we rarely watched TV and since we lived in a small town, didn’t go out a lot to events. Also, the winters were rather harsh, so we spent a lot of time inside during those months! My parents made sure we had ready access to the library though, and we grew up reading past our grade levels. It wasn’t until I was a little older that I started to understand why all of this bookwormishness wasn’t “normal” to other people, but as a kid I just felt sorry for people who didn’t read often enough. I guess I thought they couldn’t read very well and they just said they didn’t like reading to cover that fact. Now that I’m an adult I’ve realized that some people just genuinely don’t like reading, but I still feel sorry for them (perhaps even more so).

2. I like healthy food. My parents pushed us to eat vegetables and healthy snacks; things like chips and soda were “treats”, and we rarely ate at restaurants. As an adult, even with a hyperactive sweet tooth, that focus on healthy eating is still drilled into my subconscious. I don’t have a big appetite for packaged junk food; it tastes really strange to me. I count myself lucky that I grew up in a household that served apples instead of chips with our lunches, because it’s made it easier to develop healthy habits as an adult, when there’s no one watching you and forcing you to be good!

3. I’m a budget nut. I credit my Dad for teaching us kids to be responsible with our money, even when we were too young to really understand things like interest rates. I’m sure some people think my habits of budgeting, shopping and saving are really weird, but thanks to those early lessons I’ve managed to stay debt-free as an adult and still have a little extra for a rainy day. When my husband and I first got together he thought it was really strange that I would say I had no money to spend, when he knew very well I had money in the bank. It took him a while to realize that there was a difference between “money to spend” and “money to save indefinitely”. If I don’t have cash on hand for something like clothes or travel, I wait until I do. Sometimes it’s no fun, but it’s kept me out of trouble in the money department!

4. I’m quiet. There are multiple facets to this. One is that we had a very small family, so I wasn’t accustomed to huge groups of relatives and friends milling about. Lots of people and noise is too much for me. Also, my parents more or less expected us to be well-mannered children, and part of that means no running and screaming in public places. We were expected to be quiet, polite and respectful of the people around us. The third thing would be that my dad worked all kinds of crazy shifts while I was growing up, so were expected to be quiet during the day while he slept. As an adult sometimes I have to remind myself to be a little more loud and assertive, especially at work, instead of constantly trying to be quiet and not bother other people by making noise. I think sometimes they forget that I’m there! (Can be good or bad, depending on the circumstances!) Even if I’m home alone, I catch myself trying to shut doors without clicking the latch. Old habits, I guess.

5. I’m a night owl. Like I said, my dad worked every shift in the book, including lots of night shifts. We were homeschooled, so since we were at home during the day while he slept, our schedule inevitably bounced around from a “normal” school schedule so we could work quietly on assignments while he slept or was away and have family time when he was awake. I know a lot of adults frowned on our irregular school schedule, but I’d like to think it’s made me a more flexible adult in the work/sleep/have a life balance. I can shift around pretty easily if I need to because I’ve never really had a set schedule of sleeping and working. Honestly, after so many years on night shift, I really can’t fathom working days again!

6. I grade my life as pass/fail. When I was a kid we got teased for being “weird” because we didn’t go to public school. I guess it was assumed that we weren’t really doing any school work at home. Ha! I don’t remember a lot of the stuff we did but I do remember that my mom wasn’t keen on the whole “A, B, etc.” system of grading–if we didn’t do our work up to a certain standard, we redid it. It was a pass/fail system with no option to fail. It was just expected that we would do extra, read more books, take up extracurricular hobbies (I dabbled in photography), etc. Because I was always expected to do my best as a kid, I’ve always had a certain expectation that I would do my best in the rest of my life, rather than settling for “good enough”. To this day I get teased for taking things too seriously or working too hard but I’ve made a pretty good life for myself and most of the time I manage to get what I want by working hard for it, so I would say that there’s no need to change my methods!!

7. I DIY. Whether it’s fiddling with the car, baking and cooking, sewing clothes, painting furniture–I DIY a lot of things in my daily life. I suppose this part of my childhood came partly from trying to stretch the almighty dollar instead of being wasteful, and partly because my parents wanted us to learn to be resourceful and creative. It worked. I’ve done a lot of DIY as an adult that has saved me money over a professional job and/or given me the satisfaction of having something unique instead of mass-produced.

Overall I think a lot of the “weird” things about how I was raised have made me a better person in the long run. I didn’t have a lot of the normal food, toys or experiences that other kids my age might have had, but I took away a lot of values and lessons that have served me very well as an adult.

What “weird” things about your life are just a part of how you were raised? Tell me in the comments!


  • Katrin

    #1. I read a lot too. And I think I will never be able to understand how you can not like or enjoy reading. It is a mystery for me.
    #2. I grew up with healthy food too. Fresh veggies from our garden etc. So I am glad that my diet is pretty healthy even when I treat myself with some chocolate or marzipan once in a while….or day.
    #3. I am glad that I have never been into debt too. That would freak me out so much. If I don’t have the money to buy something right away, I just wait.
    #4. I can be loud but I prefer it too be quiet. I like it to be peaceful around me so when I stay quiet then I expect everybody else to be quiet too. :)
    #5. I guess it would take me forever to get used to working the night shift. I don’t know. I love to stay up late but I always get way too tired at some point. But I love the fact that it is much more quiet at night and people don’t bother you that much. :)
    #6. You really are a hard worker and I think you can achieve anything you want!
    #7. Love DIY’s so much!
    Thanks for linking up, sweetie!

  • Jasmine

    1) Ahhh books, I understand they are not for everyone – but I feel like people are missing out!
    2) We didn’t eat unhealthy – but I know I got my wicked sweet tooth from my mom, as well my want to eat things like cereal as a meal.
    3) My dad taught me to do my taxes at 16 and I have been forever grateful – I have debt from school but nothing else so I think I’m doing ok :)
    4) I am super quiet around the house as well! Even when I’m alone I practically tiptoe around, I just like quiet. I don’t play music, I don’t have the tv on… just peaceful quiet for me!
    5) I have worked days, nights, mids and as long as I get enough sleep it doesn’t matter to me – although I will say once I got a 9 to 6, Monday to Friday gig my body seems to like that best.
    6) I think Pass/Fail ideology is smart – it helps you make decisions, it makes you decide if you WANT to or not. And I too get told I am serious a lot, but look where it has gotten you and the respect people have for you!
    7) DIY is a must for me – I just can’t pay for things I could make, or might like better if I customized it. I want to get a 1980’s or early 90’s car (like a Toyota Corolla) that has a good body and is in working condition…but slowly fix it up myself. They have simple engines and not a lot of bells and whistles and I think it would be fun to maintain!

    Great list and thank you for sharing!

    • Martha Woods

      Ah, cereal as a meal! One of the best dinners ever…especially if I’m heavily involved in a book and don’t want to stop long enough to cook :D Ooh, a car like that would be fun! I would love to be super-handy with cars. I hate the feeling of going to the mechanic and wondering if I’m being overcharged for something that I could learn to do myself. I’ve actually seriously thought of going to school for it because I’d love to know how to work on cars!! Maybe someday :)

  • Yun, The Polish Hideout

    I wish I had the chance to read a lot. I was raised the Chinese way, so homework/studying only. Reading novels doesn’t count… I could only read textbooks lol. I managed to sneak in a few books during class, trips to the bookstore, and when my parents weren’t home. :D I’m quiet too. I think it’s because I came from a small family (I’m an only child), but also to Chinese parents, daughters need to be quiet and only speak when spoken too. After so many years of being told to talk less, it’s hard to break that habit.

    ~ Yun

    • Martha Woods

      Yikes, illicit reading. Sounds like you had a very rebellious childhood :P But on the flip side, it sounds like you got a good education. I guess in the long run I’d rather have parents who made me study rather than parents who didn’t care if I did well in school or not. I’ve always thought the American way can be a bit lazy in that department.

  • Jannatul Rahamoni

    I am quiet too! and I hate the loud environment; try hard to avoid parties
    I don’t mind to be weird; it’s obviously the uncommon side of the ppl :p

  • Ms. Attitude

    I don’t think that any of this is “weird”. I know what it’s like to need to be quiet during the day when Dad is sleeping. Still to this day, when I visit, I try to be quiet when he’s sleeping, even though he now works days.

  • Pang Ly

    I cannot imagine being home schooled or even home school my kids. As a parent, I feel that kids need interactions from others than parents and families. Social interaction at an early age allows them to develop social skills, make friends, and develop other types of relations as they grow. I’m not implying that home schooled kids lack social skills but they just develop them later on in life and sometimes it’s hard to break out of that shell.

    I think certain aspect of how I was raised shaped me in some ways into the person that I am today but also a lot of the things mom taught us or made us do went out the window once we became adults, lol. My mom is extremely traditional, strict, a neat freak, very organized, DIY, and budget nut. We are like night and day. You’ll find it hard to believe we were all raised in the same household and that we all came from the same parents, lol. My siblings and I are so different from each other and my mother. The 3 oldests, we are more family oriented, we look out more for each other, and are willing to help out whenever help is needed. The 3 youngests are self-centered, more focused on themselves, and never offer help. I don’t know how they turned up that way but perhaps because they didn’t respect authority and responsibility since they’ve always got away with it and someone still cared for them.

    • Martha Woods

      I think it definitely depends on the kid, parent and situation–I’ve definitely known some home-schooled kids who grew up without a real good grasp of social skills. It’s funny how some siblings can be so alike you’d know they were related at a glance, and others can be as different as black and white–I’ve always wondered what determines that!!

  • Amanda P

    I read a lot too. I am not as good with the budget, but my dad was a stickler for one and couponing so I end up using coupons and waiting for things to go on sale more than some. I am also a night owl. In fact, it’s 6am and I haven’t gone to bed yet lol. It’s almost always worked out for me because I have usually had jobs where most of my days did not require me to get up early.

    • Martha Woods

      I read somewhere that some people just have a naturally reversed circadian rhythm (or something such) and that’s why they take to nights so well. Don’t know if it’s true though.

    • Amanda P

      Idk about being reversed but I have heard that people tend to be naturally one or the other and function best if they stick with that. Idk if there is research for that either but it is definitely harder for me to get up early than to stay up late.

  • Frannie Pantz

    Good for you and kudos to your parents on the healthy eating habits! My younger kids have it but it never stuck with my oldest son. When we went through our six months of vegetarian eating, it helped a lot because it changed our habits and tastes. I’ve always loved veggies!

    • Martha Woods

      It seems like the less sugar and salt you eat, the more fruits and veggies appeal to you! Or at least that’s how it works with me. Right now I’m hooked on fresh veggies and hummus, yum :)

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