By swears, I mean those things we swear we aren’t going to do when we become parents. For example: “I swear I’m never going to use that sad line ‘because I said so’ with my child”, “I swear I will create an open and honest dialogue with my child about sex,” “I swear I will do all those good things I see on Pinterest so that my home runs as smoothly as possible,” “I swear I will always dress my baby in the latest fashion and wouldn’t dream of putting him/her in something from wal-mart”. Yeah, rave on dumbass.
Oh, it’s ok, you don’t mean to be a dumbass, you just don’t know any better yet and you are so full of hormones you couldn’t figure it out anyway. You see, I did the same thing and so did a lot of my friends and family. We all swore the same stuff. Guess what, it never works out. You can try to keep it up for a while and then poof! One day you will have every bodily fluid that baby is capable of producing on your shirt and possibly in your hair and you will not care what you promised and swore when you were pregnant. This will be a very bad day, but it’s one we all have to go through. The good thing is you will go whole hog into giving yourself a break. It is a very liberating day. You will realize the little 3 for $10 onesie your grandma gave you from Wal-mart is actually pretty comfy for your little bundle and as long as he/she is comfortable you will get an extra few minutes of rest. You will realize people only pin things on Pinterest…you never see people who actually DO all that shit. After you have a kid, your whole idea of structure flies out of the window and you have to reassess what actually constitutes clean and organized and it’s actually on a more fluid scale now. LOTS of things are on a more fluid scale now like: being on time, (if you get there the same day it counts as on time), good food (if it’s not burned or comes in a wrapper), clean (if the Health Department hasn’t shown up yet you’re good), romance (a quickie in the laundry room while the baby sleeps and your parents are visiting counts as a date night) and what constitues a crisis, (hint: not much). I once came out of a Barnes and Nobel after midnight, because I was buying the last Harry Potter Book, to find my husband had wrapped a Dollar General bag around our child as a diaper and it didn’t bother me in the least. I thought it was pretty inventive actually. We found a 24 hour CVS and the crisis was averted so there was no foul.
This isn’t to say I am some paragon of parenting virtue however. No, quite the opposite. I have had to keep one of my swears because I just can’t get out of it. I swore I would keep an open dialogue with my child about sex. I figure I couldn’t allow myself the luxury of hiding my head in the sand in this day and age because it could be a matter of life and death. So a few months ago when my son started using the S word a lot, I sat down and asked him if he knew what sex was. My heart caught in my throat while he mulled it over and thankfully started back when he announce he did not. I asked him if he had any questions about sex and wanted to be swallowed up by the earth when he did. Thankfully, I got over it and I think he and I are well on our way to having that open dialogue. At least for now. He is 7 and I realize he may be fine discussing things in the age appropriate ways that he and I discuss them, but one day his questions may be a little more R rated and Dad will have to take over, so for now I hope I’m just laying the foundation. It gets tough, though, like this morning when he asked me “Mama can I ask you something private?” It was a pretty easy one…..NOT!!!! This morning he asked me if I thought he would ever get to have sex. In my mind I was screaming NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! DON’T EVER HAVE SEX BECAUSE GIRLS ARE EVIL AND WILL RIP YOUR HEART OUT OF YOUR CHEST AND FEAST ON IT FOR THEIR OWN AMUSEMENT!!!!” But my mouth said “Yes. You are handsome, charming, smart, funny and genuinely like women, so yes, I think when you are old enough and mature enough, you will do just fine.” He did a fist pump and said “YEAHHHHHH!!!!” Now, I must interject here, he does not know the mechanics, but we did discuss that sex feels good when he asked why people have sex. Even though I told him it was for making babies, connecting to your spouse, communicating strong emotions and all that other committed sex stuff, but what he took away from it was it felt good. Even though I still have to table some questions for age appropriateness, I try to answer as much as I can, and caution him that what we discuss is private and not to be shared on the playground, I just know I’m going to have a parent/teacher conference over this.
As he walked away, I pulled him back and said “Just promise me you will take it seriously, wait until you are old enough and ready and protect yourself.” I was cupping his still baby face in my hands and looking into those huge blue-green eyes and he said “Don’t worry mom, Dad gave me a pocket knife, I’ll take that because a bigger knife might scare my girlfriend.” Off he went content. There I stood with a broken blood vessel in my eyeball from holding back the laughter. In it’s own way it was very sweet to know he was still innocent enough to think protection meant arming himself, and he didn’t want to take anything too big so as not to scare his girlfriend. I felt really immature also when I thought of all the size jokes I could make while incorporating “scare” into it. But I went on about my housework and chuckled about it the rest of the day.
Being a parent is a constant learning curve. Sometimes I’m on top of it, and sometimes I’m on the bottom of it, but the important thing is to just hold on as tight as possible because they will try to throw you off every chance they get.