This morning I was late for work because I was having a quickie with my husband.
(If you are one of my parents and you have somehow found this blog, I will first apologize for the cursing. Second off, by "having a quickie" I mean, "drinking a chaste cup of chocolate milk and talking about the weather.")
I am thinking about this and, you know, oversharing on the internet about it because of an episode of Modern Family that I recently watched. First off, if you don't watch Modern Family, you are missing the best show on television. In fact, Matt and I have winnowed down our TV time a lot over the past year, but we are literally sitting in front of our tivo like excited little puppies, waiting for a new Modern Family each week. In this particular episode, two parents are caught in the act by their children. However, during the episode that follows, the kids come to the realization that although they are scarred by what they saw, ultimately they are happy that their parents still love each other and are still married (unlike a good deal of their friend's parents).
I can't state enough how important I think it is for two people who find themselves being "parents" all the time to still find time to be "spouses." I would use the word "lovers," but I find that word revolting (and may need some brain bleach since I just typed it there). However, I understand how hard it is to marry these two things. In fact, it can seem highly impossible at times. Especially when it comes to being sex-positive and sharing this with your kids.
I'll just go ahead and admit that everything I ever learned about sex, I learned through listening to Janet Jackson's Janet album. I bought that cd, ya'll, and all of a sudden I knew a) that I wanted to have boobs and have someone lovingly cup them someday and b) that whatever Janet was doing, I wanted to do that too. My mom didn't talk to me about sex, except in terms of "DON'T DO IT." I remember her telling me stories about people she knew in high school who had sex and what happened to them. It included a lot of pregnancy, divorce and misery. Therefore, I grew up thinking the feelings and desires I had (which were completely normal for a teenager like myself) were abnormal and horrible. And of course, when I ended up acting on these desires, I did it without protection (MUCH TOO EMBARSSING TO BUY CONDOMS AT RITE AID, GOD) and ended up pregnant. While being a teenage parent did not equal abject misery in my case, I want my kids to feel comfortable with their feelings and act on them in a responsible and adult way.
Which means that I need to talk to them about sex. And I'll just say that up until this point, I haven't done that like I should have. Because it is uncomfortable. Matt is actually better about this stuff than I am--he has talked to Sam about his "equipment" and answered his questions with appropriate terminology--"penis" and not "wee-wee" or whatever else people usually use. I have broached the subject of changing bodies a couple of times with Gabby and have been met with a stern avoidance. Gabby's personality renders her with an embarassment about the subject that makes a conversation nearly impossible. As Matt has said, she is probably the most naturally repressed person that he knows (not just about these subjects--many others too, and take it with a grain of salt since this is a man who once took a class on porn at Berkeley and wrote a huge published paper with the words "money shot" in the title).
Last night, Gab and I were talking about her school schedule. She mentioned she is in this thing called "Life Skills" which is all about self-esteem and stuff like that right now. I could tell where that was going, so I thought I saw my "in." I said, "Have you had a discussion about...what they call...family life, yet?" And she hastily says no. Then she goes, "What's that?" So I say, "Well, it is when they talk to you about boys and girls and their differences and you talk about your body and that kind of thing...grumble, grumble..trail off." And that is when I realize...THIS SHIT IS HARD YA'LL. (tiny voice not meant to disturb the seriousness of this matter--that's what she said).
I totally get why parents avoid this subject like the plague. And why people get pregnant because of lack of information. And why little girls look to Janet Jackson and Kesha for advice about sex instead of talking to their parents, who, in all honesty, probably know a bit more than a person who is covered head to toe in glitter.
However, I will soldier on, ya'll. But for the time being, I find solace in the fact that my kids are growing up in a house where they can see that their parents are best friends and totally dig one another. Hopefully they won't see that LITERALLY (like in Modern Family). But it is a start in the right direction, and I hope that we are able to build on this to have three happy, well-adjusted, healthy kids.