At some point, most of us have had a sudden realisation that something we thought was common to the western hemisphere was actually a unique family quirk.
And for some people, this moment of realisation was actually that their financial situation was tougher than their friends.
When Reddit user Karnaf0 asked, “What was the moment you said to yourself ‘Jeez I’m poor’?” the thread soon became a place for people to share the ways that, as kids or adults, they had learned their family was not well-off.
Here are some of the best examples of the heartwarming lengths parents and other adults would go to to try to make kids feel like they weren’t missing out.
‘We “snuck” hot food from the canteen.’
Redditor ReadMoreWriteLess shared that while reflecting on how “crafty” they and their sister were as seven and nine-year-olds sneaking into “hot lunch line” at school without paying, they had a realisation.
“Then we look at our kids and realise they could never get away with that. The teachers knew we had nothing. They looked the other way.”
“This led to us uncovering tons of other times when were kids thinking we were getting away with something realising that the adults knew full well. We cried a little.
“Thanks adults who knew.”
Meanwhile, one in seven Aussie kids think cash from the ATM is free money. On This Glorious Mess, we discuss why they don’t understand money. Post continues.
‘My family had “camping nights”.’
Houndstooth37 said they only realised years later the true reason their parents decided to have ‘camping night’.
“They would set up a tent and we would play board games by candlelight.
“Talking to my mother about it, my parents couldn’t pay the electric bill and they came up with camping night to not alarm the children.”
‘I didn’t realise most people didn’t eat mostly canned food.’
Reddit user WhatAmIDoingAwake said they had fond memories of the “monster mash” their mum would whip up from pasta and whatever canned food was in the cupboard.
“She’d make a huge vat of pasta and feed us with that for the week. She was not a great cook, but she could work miracles with random canned goods, in combinations that always seemed to pan out well.
“I didn’t realize other people didn’t primarily eat canned meat products and dollar spaghetti till I was in middle school.
“No regrets, that was delicious.”
‘My friend’s parents rigged a raffle for me.’
TheSwearPolice said he was “getting all emotional” thinking about what a friend’s mum did for him when he was about eight years old.
“Everyone has super cool ninja turtles action figures. I wanted one real bad,” he explained.
Then, while at a friend’s birthday, he “just so happened to “win” the mystery prize giveaway drawing at the beginning of the party – my very own turtles action figure”.
“Probably 20 years later I sit up straight in my bed in the middle of the night and realise my friend’s mum knew I didn’t have the means so she gave me an awesome gift at her son’s birthday party.”
‘My dad’s “stingy” habit was actually selfless.’
Seeyouyeah said as a child, at restaurants their dad would always buy one main meal to share between the two of them.
“When I was a little kid I always wondered why he wasn’t hungry, and as a slightly older kid I always wondered why he was so stingy.”
“It was only later that it clicked and I understood what he was going through and what he was trying to do for me.