25 Ways You Know You Were a Parent in the 90s

For those of us who became parents in the 1990’s, there are things that we experienced that young parents of today will never understand. Like how devastating it could be when a VCR tape broke. Or when a roll of film was over-exposed and none of the pictures from your kid’s birthday party could be developed. You know that happened. Here are 25 things you remember if you’re a parent of the 90’s.

1. Your maternity clothes were pretty much all really ugly, and your diaper bag was pastel colored.

2. You breastfed, but not for as long as you thought you would.

3. You missed out on nearly all of the music of the early 1990s because you were busy listening to Radio Disney. Your car radio was no longer in your control.

5. You wore overalls because they had lots of pockets for all of your kids’ junk – almost more than because they were in fashion.

6. You can still sing the entire repertoire of Raffi songs, and will run screaming from a room if someone even mentions Barney the Dinosaur.

7. Your children wore clothes from Gymboree and Gap Kids.

8. You watched Friends and missed being single, then watched The Cosby Show and felt glad you had a family.

9. In the early years, you wore mom jeans, not ironically. Also vests and pleated pants.

10. You watched The Little Mermaid at least a bazillion times on your VCR.

11. Ditto Beauty and the Beast.

12. Ditto The Lion King.

13. You had Snackwells cookies in your house – for you, not your kids.

14. Your kids played with at least one of these things: Beanie Babies, Power Rangers action figures, Tomagotchi pets, Pokemon cards, or Pretty Pretty Princess. You bought a Razr scooter (or two, or more) for an obscene amount of money when they debuted because they were impossible to get.

15. If you had a daughter, she wanted an American Girl doll.

16. The hottest toy ever was a Game Boy.

17. Your house in the early years had one of the following: a dried wreath or flower arrangement, stenciling,  whitewashed furniture or floors, sponge painting, an ivy trellis border, golden yellow walls,  a distressed wood dining table or a Chevy Suburban in the driveway.

18. You were startled the first time you realized you had to buy a second (then third and more) computer for your house.

19. Nickelodeon was the television channel of choice, and you knew the characters from Doug and Rugrats as well as Lucy and Ricky, Marcia and Greg, Mary and Lou. You heard the channel’s jingle in your sleep (Nick nick nick nick, ni-nick nick nick, Nickelode-ON).

20. You were shocked when More magazine debuted in 1998 and you realized you were their target market.

21. You were first reintroduced to popular music after all the years of Radio Disney when your kids started listening to NSync, 98 Degrees, Britney Spears and Destiny’s Child.

22. You had to explain 9/11 to your kids and didn’t know what to say, because you had never experienced anything like it.

23. You grappled with whether to get your kids cell phones when they started high school.

24. You snooped on your kids MySpace or LiveJournal pages.

25. You sent them off to college in a way parents never had before, connected on a daily basis through texting, Facebook and other social media.

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37 Comments

  • My first child was born December of 98 so I’m at the tail end of this, but you did bring back some memories, especially as an aunt buying gifts for my Godchildren. Thankfully my son was only 2 when 9/11 happened, but I will never forget him saying, “People are jumping from the buildings” and realizing that we could not have the TV on in front of him anymore! Thanks for bringing back some memories and making me feel really old! Lol!

  • Nailed it. Drops mic. Peace out.

  • Thanks for bringing back all those happy memories of raising kids.

  • You bring it all back. The Pokemon, the game boys…I would just add the Spice Girls, the soundtrack to the 90s! Such fun.

  • Wow, you nailed it! Great post.

  • Wow, you nailed it! Great post. That darn game boy went with us everywhere we went. And my daughter watched friends with us, until we realized it was way inappropriate for a 7 year old.

  • Love even the decorating details. I just watched a video of my house in the 80s–wow I had a lot of stuff everywhere. But I also had a wonderful time raising my children and loved every minute. Thanks, Sharon.

  • Helene Cohen Bludman

    My third (and last) child was born in 1989, so my memories are of Sesame Street and Mister Rogers, the Smurfs, Transformers, Cabbage Patch kids and yes, Game Boy.

  • Oregon Trail. All those gloomy choices and disasters of nature. This thing was on all the time in the nineties. A few months ago my husband and I were in a Manhattan bar next to a bunch of late-twenties executives from Cantor Fitzgerald. They stood around talking shop – all business – until someone mentioned “Oregon Trail” – then they became college sophomores. It was hilarious. I texted all of my kids who thought it was REALLY hilarious.

  • With one born in 1982 and one born in 1994, all of this rings true for me! Thanks for the memories, Sharon!

  • You really hit the nail on the head. For me as a music lover, I lost so many years, that I had to make up eventually when my kids got older. Hated Barney, but loved the Disney musicals. They were the beginning of the new Disney. And buying software games for the kids because there really wasn’t anything oneline and with dialup it would have been too slow anyway. Those were the days. So much simpler.

  • You did indeed describe my 90’s to me. I remember parking in a Surburan-filled parking lot to see Britney Spears. My daughter had on Girl Scout socks because they were her favorite socks and a Britney t-shirt.

    • My daughter dressed up as Britney Spears for Halloween in 1st grade. And her first concert was NSync. I was as excited as she was! Sigh.

  • OMG. Do you know I still have that copy of Demi Moore pregnant on the cover of Vanity Fair? I’ve kept it all these years…and I don’t even know why. LOL.

  • I love when women lead parallel lives; makes it less lonely. But truth be told, I loved every minute of parenting a young child. I love Disney – it’s true Utopia – and I enjoyed Sesame Street. Barney? Not so much.

    I loved going to the Disney store the day a movie came out on sale because you just HAD to have it for your child.

    Gymboree? OMG.

    I tried to be mindful because I knew how fleeting those moments would be. And I was right.

    Loved this post. Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane!

  • I never want to see overalls again, though the were really comfortable! Don’t forget about Ninja Turtles and Power Puff Girls. Fun memories.

  • Yes, yes and yes! #’s 4, 6, 7, 10-12, 14, 16 & 19. I miss some of those old Nickelodeon shows, that was all the entertainment I got back in the days when the kids were babies (Rugrats, Rocket Power and Ginger were all faves). And, Tamagochi’s – OMG, I had forgotten about those things. Fun post, Sharon!

  • Oh my! I remember all of those! And since my stepchildren grew up in the 90’s but my son is a child of the last decade I have such a wonderful knowledge base. This is going to make me a good Jeopardy contestant some day, right? Please say all of that knowledge is going to have some good use someday! ~ Bobbi

  • Love this, Sharon! You totally nailed it! My kids were born in 1989 and 1992 so this was like looking through their scrapbooks!

  • My daughter was already 10 in 1990, but I can relate to most of this. Especially the overalls!

  • Becka Saunders

    I knew all the words to Arthur and loved that song!

  • My boys were born in 1993 and 1997 so I can relate. I got more than my share of The Lion King and Pokémon cards. So funny how my older son had to write a report on why he should get a cell phone for his 8th grade graduation, and my younger son had one in 5th grade! Good story and good memories.

  • So … Are you trying to say I should get rid of the dried flower wreath and paint my yellow walls? *smirk*

    Great post!

  • I have to admit that yes I am definitely a 90’s parent, even though some of the things were a little different here in Australia. We had the children’s group called ‘The Wiggles’ here who sang ‘Dorothy the Dinosaur’. I still know all the words! Wow this has made me feel really old.

  • And some part of your life involved waddling little critters with TVs on their bellies, and then some blowhard thought one of them was gay, and you laughed, because they were in love with nothing except those pancakes they were always throwing at each other. (I could be remembering it all wrong. The days were hazy with sippy cups and diaper changes and all the rest.)

  • Beanie Babies and Tomagotchis! Wow, those bring back memories! Every year our town puts on a 4th of July fireworks show from the public golf course. One year we were there with a bunch of our friends when one of the kids lost her Tomagotchi. Her dad went back the next day and found it buried in a sand trap. What a dad!

  • My 2 oldest boys were born in the 90’s (’91, ’94) and I was obsessed with dressing them in Osh Kosh B’Gosh clothes, LOL! Fun post!

  • Cheryl

    Wow! Made me sentimental for those days again. Thanks for reminding me!

  • All of it… and I was a REALLY young mom. 21 in 1990 with no friends who had kids. It was lonely and yet freeing to just do my own thing with our girl. I think we were pretty lucky except for the pleated pants and missing the music… because of Raffi! Ack.

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