Vintage Parenting in a Modern World


Pinterest is blowing up with everything vintage and repurposed. Go ahead, search the word. Just try it. I did. 

Vintage Parenting in a Modern World | Duluth Moms Blog

Up popped pictures of exquisite jewelry and a vintage vespa.  Old doors are made into headboards, and old headboards are made into benches.   

Why is it such a trend? I think it’s because of the natural high we get when we seek and find, display and repurpose. What once had no value, is now greatly valued. 

Now, not everything that is vintage is a treasure.  Let me give you two examples on this rabbit trail.

Presenting, The Water Bed.  Sorry, but not sorry, “inventor of the water bed.”  I am sure you made a pretty penny, and I am happy for you.  But, we are glad that the vintage water bed is not on trend.  

Also, I just found a vintage item called a baby cage.  NO JOKE! 

Get this: it was a cage used to hang outside a window so your babe could get some fresh air.  Don’t think that one would pass our modern day 5 point harness inspection. 

Still, I do love that our society is increasingly finding value and enjoyment in the vintage world.  

The term classic is given to movies and music that has stood the test of time. So just like classic movies are valued, can “classic vintage” parenting still be valued in our modern world? I would argue a resounding YES! Can it become a trend?? I sure hope it does! I hope it becomes more that a trend. I hope vintage parenting moves from trend, to CLASSIC! 

Vintage Parenting in a Modern World | Duluth Moms Blog

Parenting has been around since the beginning of time, and I believe there are cherished values and practices that should be continued.

Love and Kindness

It’s kind of simple, but we tell our kids we love them. Often. Out Loud. And we hug them. My husband tackles those big teenage boys to the ground, even though his back aches the next day.

We are intentionally kind with our words. This is hard, and we haven’t been perfect, but we strive to speak kindly to one another. Words like stupid and idiot are common now, but I believe they are very painful for anyone to hear. I don’t want to be called either one, so I’m sure my kids are the same. 

We give back to our community and world as a family. Show kindness and love with your time and money in generous ways. 


Please, and thank you. And you are welcome. All the time, to everyone. As soon as they can talk and understand. PERIOD.  

Always hold the door open. 

Also, I think that parents are teaching kids to be disrespectful by how they openly discuss and degrade other people in front of their kids. We’ve done it.  It’s so easy to do. Bite your tongue and discuss in private.

Responsibility and Hard-work

Old school chores here. Our kids do laundry and dishes, pack lunches, make some simple meals, clean rooms, do the dishes, sweep and wash the floors, mow the lawn, and pull weeds. Countless hours are spent hauling and stacking the firewood we heat our home with. They earn a whopping 3 cents for each nail pulled from a board. 

When done with one chore, we’ve taught them to ask, “What else can I do to help you?”  

They earn, spend, gift, and give away with their own money. 


I have always talked to my kids about lying. I’m like a broken record. But, it’s not the conversation you might expect. Instead of asking the kids, “Are you telling the truth?,” I try to bring up conversations about honesty. I want to give them the opportunity to explore the topic. Really, I think that most kids don’t even realize they are lying. I know as a kid, I didn’t. You get into the habit of “little white lies,” it becomes your reality. We have also worked hard to make it easy for the kids to be truthful. When they do screw up, and need to fess up, they won’t get pounced on.  

Along with instilling VINTAGE values, here are some examples of our VINTAGE parenting practices.

We don’t play with our kids. As toddlers they sat down with the legos by themselves. They colored at the table alone, they built forts in the basement. Yes, you will find us engaging with our kids, but in the more classic, vintage ways. Nightly supper around the table, a family board game, or catch outside.

Our 15 year old doesn’t have a cell phone. GASP!!!! He walks a mile and a half to school each way, all year long. (Although I did give him a ride when it was -17. I must be getting soft.) 

We have given each child a knife. Let it be noted, it has been taken it away when not used properly.  

We’ve gone weeks without screens. 

Play happens outside, all year long. (I have been known to lock the door to keep them out.)  

Our three boys ages 11, 13, 15 share one room. We should buy stock in Febreeze. 

Sport and Activity moderation. Our kids participate in one activity a year. Soccer camp, gymnastic lessons for 6 weeks, etc. We’ve also spent two summers playing scheduled pickup games of soccer, baseball, and football with our friends and neighbors. On Mondays, we head to the park and play together, all ages, kids and adults. A four year old girl hits the ball off the tee, and teenage boys cheer her on and tell her where to run. Who wouldn’t love this?!

Christmas is simple. One cozy gift for each kid (PJ’s), and then one gift for them together. Last year their together gift was a long weekend family trip to Chicago. 

No fancy birthday parties. When it’s cake time, we may call our neighbors over to have a slice and sing “Happy Birthday.”  

Here me loud and clear mama’s. I am not telling you, “It’s my way, or the highway”. Each family is unique. I will argue that vintage parenting works when paired with some modern twists. We talk about everything. Our predecessors in vintage parenting usually didn’t engage in hard or uncomfortable subjects. Not us. We have talked to our kids about boy and girl parts (using the correct lingo), sex, STD’s (this was a recent dinner discussion), drugs, and pornography. Start talking early and often. 

I urge you to mine the depths of vintage parenting. Hold fast to the values that matter to you, teach them to your kids through vintage ways, in our modern world. 

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Anna sheepishly admits she may be the messiest member of her busy family of six. Her patient husband Nathanael, of sixteen years, has learned to live with her messy downfalls. After meeting at UMD, the two were quickly engaged, and married a year later. Young and in love, they began growing their family. Before the age of 30, Nathanael and Anna had 3 biological boys and an adopted daughter; Isaac, Lincoln, Samuel, and Amilia Bailey. Take a step back into the 1950’s, and that’s what you’ll see in their Lakeside neighborhood. Families share meals and kids play pickup games of ball. Anna is passionate about building community like this, and investing in her amazing city! Now, back to the mess. Anna, is a creative to the core, and organization falls short on her list. Her teenage boys seem to keep things in order more than she does. Somehow in the midst of her creative chaos, Anna runs her own business making and selling re-claimed art and furniture. Sawdust is her girl glitter, and power tools her best friends. She is also is a singer-songwriter, and you may just catch her singing at the local pub or pizza place. Instagram Facebook


  1. Really enjoyed this post. Thanks for sharing your parenting values. Did you come up with all these on your own, or have some good books you recommend?

  2. Thanks for reading and commenting Amanda! I wish I had some extra resources to shoot your way, but I don’t! So sorry. We’ve just narrowed down our parenting values as time has passed, and this is where we have landed.

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