Is This a Boomer Thing or Bad Parenting? — Woman's Mother Is Rewriting History

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Dec. 18 2023, Published 9:54 p.m. ET

Memory is a tricky thing. I have a notoriously bad memory. For example, I have almost no memories before high school and very few from that time. There are flashes from my 20s that dip in and out when they feel like it. Although my 30s aren't that far behind me, they are fading away just as quickly. For the most part, this is a gift. If someone did something to slight me, it certainly won't stay in my brain for long although I can hold a grudge.

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I do envy the people who seem to have near-perfect recall of their lives. When a woman took to TikTok to share a story about events in her childhood that her mother claims never happened, I could see both sides. It's possible the mom simply forgot these stories. She undoubtedly has more to sift through than her daughter. It isn't a fun story so I'm also willing to entertain the idea that the mom blocked it out or is rewriting history. Let's get into it.

Milk being poured and missing a partially fully glass
Source: Unsplash
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Who remembered it better? Boomer parents are rewriting history.

For brevity's sake I'm choosing to call TikTok's @kinggordonfam, Kim. While clutching a plastic container, Kim launches into a story about her childhood that collided with her present day.

Based on this story, we had vastly different childhoods, although I'm familiar with the flavor of hers. Growing up, Kim's family was part of the Clean Plate Club. I have no doubt this is a holdover from a time when people didn't have enough to eat. Scarcity behavior can really dig its claws into you.

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One thing I do find interesting is the involvement of milk in Kim's family's dinner. I don't know how old Kim is but I can say that milk played a huge part in growing up in the 80s and seemingly most decades prior. Who among us hasn't been told about all the strong teeth and bones that come from drinking milk? No offense to the lactose intolerant of the world.

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At Kim's house, it wasn't enough to finish your dinner. They also had to drink the glass of milk that accompanied it. She doesn't mention water, but it wouldn't surprise me to learn that this wasn't part of a meal. No one started talking about drinking water in a healthy way until the 2000s. It's a wonder any of us are alive today.

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If I grew up in Kim's family, this milk rule would be a piece of cake. For years I mostly drank milk. When I tell people this, they are lightly horrified. Those same people consumed a lot of soda whereas I barely touched the stuff. To be clear, this is me passing judgment on the soda drinkers who passed judgment on my love of milk.

Unlike me, Kim isn't a fan of milk. There were many dinners when she would wait too long to drink her milk at which point, it was warm and disgusting. Here's where things take a slightly not-OK turn. What happens next isn't abuse. I firmly believe we toss that word around too flippantly. It's definitely a recipe for some possible disordered eating habits in the future.

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Instead of landing on a solution that didn't involve always drinking milk, Kim's parents would simply add ice cubes to the warm glass of cow juice. That is more awful than any warm glass of milk. I would prefer hot dairy products poured down my throat, to watered down milk.

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As if this wasn't upsetting enough, when reminded of these dinners, Kim's mother claimed she had no recollection of these events. Kim has her own daughter now so the subject of childhoods and raising children was broached with her folks. "My mom said it didn't happen," said Kim looking pained.

The caption below the video attributes this denial to the fact that Kim's parents are Boomers but this doesn't feel generational to me. It probably isn't even a case of a bad memory. Unfortunately, when people inflict pain upon others, it's easier for the hurtful person to forget. For Kim this was a core memory and for her mom, it was just dinner. The silver lining here is that Kim won't do this to her own child.

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