Did Your Parents Make Breakfast for You?

We recently watched the final season of the excellent show PEN15 on Hulu, which includes an episode from the perspective of the mother. It’s a great episode, but it also reminded me of a trope I’ve seen in many TV shows and movies (but have never really noticed).

The trope is the parent (often the mother) making breakfast for the family in the morning as the kids rush around and barely make it out the door in time for school. It’s often used in TV shows and movies to show how busy and underappreciated the parent is, and honestly, it’s a great way to convey that concept by showing instead of telling.

However, here’s my question: Did either of your parents actually make breakfast for you when you were a kid, particularly on school days?

If so, that’s great, and I’m curious what they prepared. My experience was definitely not that, though. I grew up in a two-parent, three-kid household, and each of us made our own breakfast (usually cereal or leftovers) and then packed our own lunch.

This isn’t a knock on my parents at all–they were our parents, not our private chefs. And they still often made something special on the weekends for breakfast, which I’m grateful for.

So I’m curious if your experience echoes that of parents on TV shows and movies. If not–if the vast majority of kids grow up in houses where they make their own breakfast–where does that trope come from?

7 thoughts on “Did Your Parents Make Breakfast for You?”

  1. We got breakfast made when we were little and before my mother started working. I was always self-sufficient and was making fried eggs for both my father and me when I was 5 yrs old or so. There was also instant oatmeal (made with milk). We weren’t really dry cereal kids. Mom wouldn’t buy any cereal that actually tasted good, and neither of us kids liked milk, so that was that. I remember on weekends we’d sometimes get pancakes or French toast. I learned to make eggs in different ways – also sometimes it was a PBJ. I dunno… it wasn’t as we chaotically ran out the door though because we didn’t have to take the bus to school. Elementary school was straight out the back gate, and we walked or rode bikes (or sometimes my horse) to school. Hard to believe that was right here in what is now Silicon Valley. We were latchkey kids, and we’d probably have had CPS called on us if half of that stuff happened these days. I can’t think of a better time to grow up. Thank god social media wasn’t around yet!

    • OH and Cream of Wheat! I knew I was forgetting something! And we had some of those Swanson’s microwave breakfasts in the freezer. Those were nice and gross. I still love Cream of Wheat though. We were also only supposed to eat General Mills products whenever possible.

  2. Two things came out of my childhood experience which I’ve carried to this day. My mother, definitely the more pragmatic of my parents would ensure that we had a healthy breakfast, which could be cereal with a slice of banana or oatmeal, especially on a cold day during the week. On the weekends, my dad took charge of the breakfasts and it’s how I learned to make omelets and on Sundays, we bought fresh bagels from the Jewish Deli (which always made my dad smile curiously as his Roman Catholic family visited them after church) and then home for bagels, cream cheese, lox, and tomatoes.

    Today, I eat oatmeal, usually topped with honey and a seasonal fruit or banana almost every day of the work week and I splurge on the weekends, most notably because I have the time to make French Toast or omelets.


  3. I believe, up until high school, my Mom made all 4 of us breakfast. After that, we were on our own. Instant Breakfast was my Go-To each morning in high school. Remember those?
    For my boys, I made breakfast for them in elementary school each day, usually cereal. But, when they were in high school their friends would gather at our house before walking down to the high school a block away.. Each morning my husband would make them bacon, eggs and toast as they got “dressed” in our dining room–tucking shirt tails in and tying their ties. Needless to say they received tardy slips almost daily! However, what do my sons’ friends remember most when they gather at reunions? Mr. Byrnes’s breakfasts! He never regrets that he did that since he was responsible for one of their fondest high school memories. It’s the little things in life that are sometimes the most cherished.


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