Wife. Mother. Author. Seeker of the Extraordinary.
I adore being a mom.
I was never even sure that I wanted that honor but when those boys came into my life, so much finally made sense. The missing pieces came together and I was complete.
They gave me purpose.
They also taught me the value of laughter and forgiveness. I’ve learned to laugh at myself which I’ve always struggled to do and I’ve learned to forgive myself too.
With boys, nothing is sacred and the fact that they find humor in anything, has been good for my soul. They also forgive fast and love hard and they’ve given me far more than they can imagine.
Before them, my serious nature prevented me from seeing opportunities for joy but because of them, I seek it out every day. I’ve learned to laugh at the ridiculous and inappropriate and I’m so thankful for everything they’ve taught and continue to teach me.
But, being a mom has always carried so much responsibility and as they grow older, I’ll admit that I’m freaking out. I see the window of our daily time together quickly closing and I don’t know if I’ve taught or given them enough. There are still years left but it’s going fast.
Recently, I told my youngest that we were going to have The Talk which unexpectedly weirded him out. Inquisitive by nature, I didn’t anticipate how icked out he would be about our conversation. He insisted his older brother be there for “support”, so we had it where we have many of our important talks.
In the car.
Driving home from sports.
When I had the talk with the oldest son a couple of years ago, we were in the grocery store. I vividly remember walking through the freezer section and telling him that STDs can make it burn when you pee and a few other gross details.
He responded with the appropriate amount of disgust, then I had him hand me a box of Uncrustables and asked him if he wanted any frozen waffles.
It was an easy, albeit awkward, conversation and afterwards I realized it wasn’t as embarrassing as I thought it would be. Nothing exploded and a veil of knowledge wasn’t lifted, instantly changing him from a boy to a man. He was still my kid, with a little more knowledge and hopefully enough fear to keep him safe.
But with the youngest son, I expected questions.
So many questions.
He usually has questions for his questions and then even more after that!
We’ve always indulged his curious nature expecting that it will be serve him well in the future. We’ve covered too many topics to count but this one made him squirrelly and he didn’t attempt to disguise it.
His older brother’s presence did give him comfort which made my heart so happy. When I dove into the talk I asked what he already knew, which were the basics. Then we had an open conversation about sex, STDs, babies, condoms, the sacredness of sex, and the peer pressure that they’ll face. I used clinical words which he didn’t like and I talked to him like sex is the most natural thing in the world, because it is.
Even though neither son wanted to talk about it with me, I told them it was better than talking to their dumb friends who wouldn’t know any more than they do. I don’t know if they believed me but since I had a captive audience, I just went with it.
I’d always imagined that the conversation might result in one of us rocking back and forth in a corner but I was relieved when it was over, because it was truly very unspectacular. Just like when I had the talk with his brother.
It took about ten minutes to cover the important points and then I reminded them both that I’m always there, for everything and anything. Good, bad, ugly, and uncomfortable; that’s what a mom is for.
At least, that’s what I plan to be there for.
Even though they didn’t want to have these conversations they were necessary and important and I think they understood that.
While they may think they know enough, they’ve never considered the shame of an STD, or a broken condom, or raising a baby as a teen parent, They don’t know that when their friends start having sex it’s okay for them not to, or that kissing doesn’t have to end in intimacy, or that “no” means no. We didn’t dwell long on the actual act because experience is the best teacher and they understand enough. But we did talk about everything else that they don’t teach you in sex education.
The things you only learn from screwing up life or from someone older who will tell you all the ways you don’t want to mess up. I hope that at least some of what we talked about will sink in.
Especially, how crucial it is to choose wisely, even when hormones are telling you otherwise. Even more importantly, sex isn’t random, it’s meaningful.
And it can be life-changing.
In a culture where hooking up is the norm and girls move just as fast as boys, I don’t know how else they’ll learn these things if they don’t learn them from us.
There will be more in-depth conversations about when girls say No, and the importance of respecting women and yourself. There will be follow-up conversations about falling in love and heartbreak, but I think these conversations are ongoing and not necessarily wrapped up in one event.
While being a mom has given me so much, it’s also taught me the importance of preparing them to live in a world where choosing well is the most important thing, and relationships between men and women are complicated at best.
I’ll admit I was nervous about having The Talk with both of them. While my husband certainly could’ve done it, I chose to because I wanted them to feel comfortable talking to a woman about something so personal, even if it was their gross mom.
There will be many important conversations in our future and I feel fortunate to get to have them. Being a mom of boys has been the best thing that’s ever happened to me and I can’t imagine having these talks with anyone else.
No matter how uncomfortable it can be, it’s always worth it.