Growing up my parents were fairly strict. We knew our limits, and we were reigned in close. Looking back, my mom was a little bit "crunchy". Our clothes never had wording or brands displayed on them, often the were homemade. She baked/cooked everything from scratch. We were allowed to watch a bare minimum of TV everyday, we didn't have cable. Our toys were fairly gender neutral, except for the few knock-off Barbies I had or were given as gifts. We all played with the trucks, the Legos, the games; my sister and I read a lot of books.
I don't remember my mom playing with me, not that she was neglectful, but getting down on the floor to play? Not in my recollection. I do remember that she would color with me at night sometimes. Sometimes. She expected us to play on our own, and we did! My mom emphasized things like, good food, a comfortable house, togetherness. We did a lot together as a family. All vacations were taken together. We ate dinner together every night. It was a rare day if we left the house, more often than not we spent the days at home. My mom stressed consistency, routine. We were her focus, her life and everything she did was with us in mind.
Now that I am a mom I'm shocked to see how much my mom has (subconsciously) influenced my parenting.
I don't buy clothes that have labels or logos on them. Rare is it when the Little Lady's clothes have words on them. We don't have cable and I try and limit the amount of character based TV that she watches. Dora is the exception. She loves it so hard, she interacts with the characters and I can actually see her learning while she watches it. I'd rather see her watching Shaun the Sheep or Fraggle Rock. I don't play with her as much as my friend's do with their kids. The Lady plays well on her own, for whatever reason. We play together outside and we read a ton of books everyday. But mostly she reads to herself or plays with her dollhouse.
I make dinner most nights and it's not from a box. My house is never very clean, but it's comfortable. I like to think it's the type of house that you would call cozy. The only real difference is that the Little Lady and I leave the house everyday, at least once. We would go insane if we stayed in all day. That's just our personalities. Weekends and weekday nights are family time. Ninety-five percent of all trips we plan, we take the kiddo with. She goes where we go. We try to eat dinner as a family every night. It's hard with the Mr.'s erratic schedule, but the Lady and I hold out as long as we can.
I can't believe how much I'm turning into my mom (there are other things, but I don't want to scare you away today). The most amazing part is that I'm glad that my mom imparted these traits onto me. I never felt like I missed out on anything (well, a Mr. Potato Head, but that's another story) and I'm glad for all of the time we spent together as a family.
I just hope the Little Lady feels the same way in twenty-odd years.