“How many times did you & Dad need to have sex before you got pregnant?”
Wait. What now?
“You know. How many times did you have to do it until you got the baby?”
Ok. Well, then. So, we’re having this conversation.
The front seat of the car seems to be where my 10-year-old son & I have our best, most interesting conversations.
I promise to always be appropriately honest with him, and he hears the truth unflinchingly, always responding with another question to make sure he really understands.
This particular one led us to a chat on sex for pleasure vs. procreation. Sometimes there’s a bit of silence, but not today. He forged ahead.
“So, how do you make sure you don’t get the babies if you don’t want them, then?”
Sigh. Birth control conversation, here we are!
When I was a kid, we never talked about any of this good stuff. It was a very non-naked house, where openness, vulnerability, & questioning was NOT encouraged.
I found out about sex on the bus in 4th grade, horrified! He puts his WHAT in WHERE!? Noooo. That’s disgusting.
I asked Mom about it, and she told me the truth. But it was clearly an uncomfortable topic, and I was happy to steer clear from asking more.
In 6th grade, I heard a dirty joke by a 9th grader that I didn’t understand: the punch line was “nothing beats a blow job”, and I laughed even though I didn’t know what a blow job was.
It would be years before I found out – and again, I was horrified. She does what WHERE?! Nooooooo!
As a tween & teen, I made conscious choices to keep awkward questions to myself – and wound up feeling uncomfortable, shocked, stupid, & unsophisticated.
I want it to be different for my kid. I’ve been on a mission to break that pattern from my childhood.
Some days, lordy lordy, it would be far easier to evade Jack’s questions!
And then I remember so clearly feeling awkward, dumb, and confused because I refused to ask.
I made many uninformed decisions. Was embarrassed by everything.
For my kid and me, this strategy of straightforward conversations is working. At 10, he’s still close to me, tells me all the things, and comes to me with his big & small questions – so far.
My job, as I see it, is to continue to break old patterns from my childhood.
I want communication, affection, and education in my relationship with my son.
As a parent, I work daily to break patterns that don’t serve our family – or me.
AND! Before I can break any pattern, I need to see it.
Don’t fool yourself – seeing it takes a LOT of work. This part is fricken hard.
You have to have self-kindness, [which I lacked for years].
It took therapy and coaching to allow me to look back without judgment & say,“Wow, this happened. This was my childhood.
And the outcome was that. And I don’t want that anymore.”
And then I had to DECIDE what to do about it. And I try to do that every single day.
Even when it’s hard. Uncomfortable. Surprising. And of course I’m not perfect. I screw up a lot.
BUT… (and this is a big but!) my son is having a completely different childhood than I did – and I’m proud of that. That’s what I’d consciously decided I wanted for him.
Your past does not define your future.
I’m living proof that if you stay aware, notice, and manage self-judgment, you can have anything – any relationship – job – thought – feeling – that you want.
I’m hell-bent on it. Relentless. And perfectly imperfect at it. It feels awesome.
Just give it a shot. Xo, Jen