15 People Who Grew Up Poor Share the Things That They Always Thought Were Normal

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When you’re a child, you tend to accept the world around you as normal even if it isn’t. For kids who grow up rich, they might think everyone has a nanny or goes on luxurious vacations. For kids who grow up poor, they might think everyone wears second-hand clothes or has parents who work all the time.

Reddit user LeCharlesMuhDickens asked, “People who grew up poor, what did you used to think was normal?” 

If you grew up poor, you might be able to relate to some of the answers Reddit users gave to this question. If you grew up middle or upper class, this might be quite eye-opening. Scroll down to find out what poor children tend to accept as normal.

  1. Second-Hand Clothes

    Reddit user Kindafancybus wrote:

    For my school’s spirit week, they had a “thrift shop” day, where most everyone dressed in old ratty clothes, or the weirdest stuff they could find in a thrift shop. Needless to say, as someone who’s clothes were 80% second hand, it was an eye opener.

  2. Groceries Are Exciting

    pinkpraire added:

    Everyone in the house going into the kitchen to see what groceries were brought home and being so excited as if it was christmas.

  3. Going Out to Eat

    NormalSwimmer1 shared:

    I was totally shocked when I learned that some people go out to eat more than once a year. Also when I learned there are people who don’t skip meals.

  4. Being Hungry

    LadyEowynOfTheRings explained:

    I grew up thinking food was a scarcity. Whenever we went anywhere my mom would tell me and my sisters to not accept food from people. She didn’t want our hunger to be someone else’s burden. Now that I’m in college and go places (like my boyfriend’s family’s house) it’s seen as rude to refuse food. My automatic response is to politely refuse even if I hadn’t eaten all day. Even after years (and now being able to mostly get by by myself) it still sometimes feels like being hungry is a normal state. I sometimes still forget to eat, my stomach will tell me I’m hungry but because it was so ingrained in me that that hunger is normal I typically won’t realize I’m hungry until I get a headache.

  5. A Staycation

    jlmitch12 wrote:

    Going on “vacation” to the local hotel in our hometown. We got to play in the pool and order delivery pizza (a rare treat) and we always had a blast.

  6. Always Alone

    BMOforlife shared:

    I never saw my parents because they worked so much. When I was in elementary school, we lived in an apartment above the bar they owned. My time with them was spent working in the kitchen, doing homework at the bar, and then walking upstairs to put myself to bed. We eventually moved and I was always alone. From Wednesday morning through Saturday, I would wake and walk to school, come home, make dinner, do homework, and go to bed with no contact from an adult. This continued throughout secondary school, from 6th through 12th grade. I was so incredibly lonely, but it was normal for me. I can’t imagine how my world would have been different if they didn’t need to work so much to scrape by.

  7. No Heat in the Winter

    not_todaybroski explained:

    Growing up whenever winter came we use to pull all of the blankets out of the closet and bundle up at night. We didn’t have working heat and most nights it would go way below freezing. I always looked forward to it though and would love getting gathered up in a million blankets and sit next to the space heater. I also shared a small room with both my sisters and slept on one twin bed with them, my brothers did the same in the room across from us

  8. Only Eating at School

    James-Killian1302 wrote:

    Only having lunch at school. Like. That being the only meal of the day. I learned when I was like 10. Then I started saving my food and bringing it home so my brother and sister could eat.

  9. Working and Cooking After School

    Steak_and_Champipple wrote:

    7 to 14 years old: Going to school then going to work. After school delivering newspapers and also collecting their payments. Never a day off. One time we had so much snow that the Post Office closed. Yet my little ass had to deliver. Latch-key kid at 10 years old because parents worked. Being a girl, I was also responsible for cooking dinner for my father and older brothers and other household chores. I was also expected to excel at school . I did. My schedule was so strict.

  10. Only 1 Pair of Shoes

    toolmantimmy explained:

    I thought 1 pair of shoes was normal till the 10th grade

  11. Kids Knowing the Amount of the Bills

    luisadee19 shared:

    I always thought knowing about bills and the bills amount was normal for a kid. Also knowing the rent amount . I went over to a well-off friends’ nice home and ask what was their rent amount was.

  12. Breakfast at School

    DozerSSB added:

    I thought everyone was supplied breakfasts at elementary school, and the people who didn’t eat it just didn’t have breakfast for some reason.

  13. Where Everyone Slept

    TrustAvidity explained:

    My mom didn’t have a bedroom for a couple years. Our place had two. I got one and my sisters got the other. It never occurred to me where she slept (living room).

  14. Where Things Came From

    ezziemerlada wrote:

    Getting gifts from the Salvation Army. Layaway for school clothes. Fairs for free school supplies. Mom and dad working two jobs. Sharing everything.

  15. Breaking Open the Piggy Bank

    _Nemophilist added:

    Boiling water to take baths, phone/electricity being shut off, parents breaking into piggy banks to buy milk