11 Things From Your Childhood Your Mom Pretends Never Happened

My mom and I have a warm, close relationship built on love and mutual respect... and I'd really like to highlight the love and respect, as I'm about to playfully drag her. Because my mom is, like all moms, a human. And like all humans, sometimes she did stuff that was just weird or inexplicable or nonsensical. But when I bring up those peccadilloes insofar as they relate to my childhood, she "doesn't remember." Suuuuuure. So here are things from your childhood your mom pretends never happened, at least based on my experiences with my mom.

Another aspect of all this is, I'm sure, plausible deniability. You see, my mom raised us in the '80s and '90s and the things that were totally standard in the '80s and '90s are just no longer... what's the word... legal. (What can I say? It was like the wild west, folks.) Or at least those things are no longer considered to be a "best practice."

But you know what, you guys? In 20 years our kids are going to be horrified by the things we did to keep them safe and happy and well-balanced and we'll probably turn around, look them straight in the eye, and say, "What? That never happened. What are you talking about?" So here's to continuing the cycle of amnesia, one misremembered moment at a time.

Spit Baths

I have vivid memories of my mom keeping a stash of napkins (usually from McDonald's) in both her purse and glove compartment and, before we'd head out, folding one up, licking it, and rubbing my face with it.

It's as vile as it sounds.

When confronted with these facts, my mom swears that such a thing never could have happened. "Because," she explains, "My mom used to lick her thumb to clean us off and it was so disgusting I promised I would never do it to you kids."

"You never licked your thumb," I'd tell her. "It was always a napkin."

"Oh, well that does seem less disgusting, so maybe? But I certainly don't remember and I think you're wrong."


(And, yes, the cycle continues, because I absolutely clean my kids with spit. I'm ashamed but not sorry.)

Just How Often She Left You Alone In The Car

I'm not talking about forgetting us on a hot day or anything dangerous. It was more of a "I need to run a two minute errand and it's a 60 degree day. Keep the doors locked and read your book, I'll be right back" kind of thing.

This is one parents will probably admit to, but they absolutely downplay just how much it happened. And, honestly, I don't judge: there are times now — on a mild day when I only have to run into a store for two minutes — where literally the only thing keeping me from leaving my kids in the car while I run into a store for two minutes is the thought that someone might call the cops on me. My kids would be just fine in the car and, if I'm being honest, I'm jealous of the many two-minute vacations my mother must have enjoyed in the aisles of A&P in the '80s and '90s. But she acts like it's something she only did a handful of times and, yeah, whatever lady.

The Awfulness Of That One Haircut You Got

I feel like this is a universal conversation between adult (or adult adjacent) children and their parents:

Mom: Awww! Your second grade picture!

You: Oh my God! Look at that haircut! It's even worse than I remembered.

Mom: What are you talking about?

You: Why did you let me get that haircut? What were you thinking?

Mom: Oh it was adorable.

You: It was not adorable.

Mom: You were so cute!

You: I wasn't. Are we looking at the same haircut?

The Awfulness Of That One Haircut *She* Got

You: *bursts into laughter at your moms terrible '80s perm*

Mom: What?

You: *continues laughing*

Mom: This was the style.

The Movies You Were Allowed To Watch

Things were just different in the '80s, dudes. Should I have been allowed to watch that creepy cult leader rip out a man's heart in Indiana Jones? No. Did I? I did. Pretty much every day.

My mom will admit I watched the movies, but will always age me up in her memory.

Your One Sibling's Hijinks

Obviously I don't know how this goes for only-children, but speaking as one of five I can assure you that my mom has a kind of amnesia specific to my siblings' more obnoxious habits. "Oh, they didn't go through that phase for that long" or "It wasn't that bad" and, like, yes they did and yes it was but you blocked it out as a means of survival.

The Fact That Rules Changed All The Time

For some people, this means the goalposts were always moving — sometimes your curfew was 1 a.m., sometimes it was 11 p.m.; sometimes you were allowed to wear a crop top, sometimes you weren't. Fortunately (or, depending on the ruling, unfortunately) my rules were pretty consistent. In my case the variation was between me and my siblings. As the oldest, I was basically raised in a convent and my younger siblings were all allowed to join a biker gang... when they were in middle school.

To be fair, my mom doesn't really pretend this didn't happen. I just needed a safe space to complain about it, 20 years later because she shows zero remorse.

The Death Trap That Was Your Car Seat

"Oh it was fine," she assures you.

Ummm, I'm pretty sure that thing was made of asbestos and broken glass and wasn't even actually attached to the back seat in any way.

Just How Much Everyone Was Smoking

According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), , just about a third of people smoked in the mid-'80s. By the mid-'90s it had dropped further, but was still just about a quarter of adults. That's a lot of people, and far more than today's current historic lows (about 14 percent). My childhood, especially when I think back to the summers, are just a haze of cigarette smoke (and my parents didn't even smoke!). My mother absolutely doesn't remember it the same way... probably because when she was growing up almost half of people smoked, so a third was a serious improvement.

The Fact That You Were Basically Unsupervised

"I was watching you the whole time!" my mom assures me every time I bring up the fact that the things I was allowed to do in childhood would absolutely not fly in a modern context.

(Again, no judgment. I turned out fine and I feel like more kids could use with slightly less supervision because, let's face it, it builds character.)

All Those Times You *Did* Behave

It did happen... on occasion. (You had to sleep sometime.) Credit where credit's due, woman!