Either You Talk To Your Kids About Sex Or Hugh Hefner Will…It’s Your Choice

It has happened: My son has discovered the Victoria’s Secret catalogue. He’s 11…I knew this was going to happen. I tried putting him o2z6xb9tff by telling him to imagine his mom wearing all that stuff when he looks at it, but apparently that only works for so long. Some of you are thinking “I don’t see what the big deal is.” It’s a VS catalogue…he’s been to the pool, he’s seen women in bathing suits, he’s been to the beach in Florida so he’s seen scantily clad women before & he knows not to act like a doofus and stare with drool coming out of his mouth. Fine, whatever. The VS catalogue is not my problem.

My “problem” (for lack of a better word) is that now is the time when he starts to form the beginnings of his opinions on women, relationships, and sex. What those things mean to him, what they’re supposed to be about, and how he will conduct himself when faced with them. I want to be the one that shapes those opinions…not some airbrushed, size 2 barbie doll & late night premium cable, okay? Because that’s where this VS catalogue thing ultimately leads. Soon after him, his sisters will start to become interested in boys, his friends will become interested in his sisters and so on. I know all of this is a natural cycle. The parental controls I’ve had on my television for months now? That’s apparently (& sadly) natural, too.

What’s not natural is how we teach our kids to deal with this. Or more accurately, what most parents as a whole are NOT teaching our children. Do we think by avoiding the subject because it’s uncomfortable that they’re going to magically do what we’d wish for them without guidance? A lot of us have this mentality: “I had to figure it out on my own…so will he. He’ll be fine.” Um…no. That’s just stupid and lazy.

I don’t know about you, but the subject of sex and relationships is a pretty damn big deal to me. Unlike most people, I think our relationships are the most important thing we have in life. I think relationships, respect, & love (familial connections, your friends, and certainly romantic connections) are what life is all about. Not money, not your super important job or your expensive education. Not the car you drive, the house you live in, the clothes you wear, or how fit you are. It is PEOPLE and your connections with them that matter. Family. Friends. You can’t take all that other shit with you when you go. (There’s a country song that backs up my point.)

1246774430rbqjunh-jpgThe imprint you leave on the world is made by the people left behind who remember you, who loved you, and who were important to you. That is why I want my kids to learn to approach their relationships with love and respect from the very beginning. Not just because of the mark it will leave behind when they’re gone, but because I truly believe it will enrich their lives and make them so much more balanced and happy while they’re here. It’s the reason why I encourage them to start building relationships of all kinds – even age appropriate “romantic” ones – now. That’s how you learn. It’s how you grow.

The reason we have so many relationally-retarted & romantically-challenged adults in the world is because they didn’t learn what they were supposed to learn when they were teenagers. As a culture we spend so much time doing one of two extremes: we are either constantly bombarding our children with sex in the form of television, magazines & music, or the kind of example we set for them at home OR we’re trying to avoid the subject altogether & telling our kids to wait until they’re 30 before they even date! Most of the time we’re joking. I know that, you know that…your kids don’t always know that. They’re growing up either having unrealistic fantasies or thinking they’re supposed to wait forever to have all these experiences they should be preparing themselves for NOW. That YOU should be helping them prepare for and guiding them through, especially if you want them to do better than you did. Especially if you want them to be able to withstand & resist the societal norms.

I know I want my kids to do better than I did. I don’t want them thinking that “normal” and “okay” are synonymous. There are a lot of things in our culture that are considered normal. That doesn’t make them right. I want them to be smarter than me &/or more prepared than I was. I don’t want them to struggle unnecessarily. Don’t get me wrong – I want them to struggle – because struggle builds character and it builds strength. You grow from struggling. I just don’t want them to have struggles they are wholly and entirely unequipped to conquer. I don’t want to send them into the world blind & dumb. Sure, part of me wants my kids to stay innocent for as long as possible, but the logical part of me knows they can only do that for so long and I’m only putting them at a disadvantage by treating them like children forever.

In a couple of years, (if not sooner depending on how his VS catalogue phase progresses) my son will be watching this video. We have an open line of communication, but I’m just not as funny, as blunt, or as eloquent as Mark Gungor so I feel like this is a good option. I thought some of you could appreciate it as well, especially if you have teenagers and you’ve been struggling with how to approach them with “the talk.” Maybe you haven’t even thought about giving them “the talk” and if you haven’t, maybe this will still help you. It’s only a 30 minute preview, but there is a full set on his website that covers a range of topics you may or may not want your kid to hear. I would recommend watching it for yourself before showing it to your teens. It’s discussed in a religious context, but even if you don’t consider yourself particularly pious, there is still a lot of good, logical stuff in here that even someone who doesn’t consider themselves a christian can relate to. Just watch it before you make a judgement. 🙂

I especially love that he talks about getting married young. Getting married young doesn’t automatically qualify you for a life of misery & a future in divorce court. I got married at 18 & here I am almost 12 years later, happily (& yes, sometimes frustratingly) married to the man I’ve had all of my firsts with. 🙂 Not every single moment has been a happy one, but all of it has been educational, enlightening, & strengthening. We’ve struggled through some bad times, but “through” is the keyword there. We always come out on the other side so much stronger than we were. It’s worth it. And to be perfectly honest, if I have to struggle, there’s no one I’d rather do it with than my husband. ❤ If my kids have to struggle, I’d rather them have someone by their sides who is faithful, loving, & worthy of struggling for.

If you like this, feel free to share it or let me know what you think in the comments. Tell me your experience giving your kids “the talk”…should I take the cocktail before the talk? Or maybe a few shots of whiskey?

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My Son The Garbage Man (Support Group For Parents Of Hoarders)

As a rule, I don’t usually clean my children’s rooms for them. It is their personal space, their mess, and their responsibility. For reasons that are not pertinent to this post I have decided to break that rule.

I am sitting, at this very moment, inside the confines of my son’s tiny closet trying to decide whether I should be proud of his attempts to save, recycle, and/or reuse absolutely everything or if now would be the perfect occasion to decide I’m OCD and just start hyperventilating in here.

Fortunately, OCD has never been my thing and I find this too funny not to stop what I’m doing and share immediately.

I am only on the third shelf of the closet and already I have found a strange and varied assortment of odd things my son has viewed as worthy of occupying the meager amount of space available to him.

• 1 empty glass bottle
• 2 empty plastic bottles (all bottles grouped together neatly on one shelf, set upright, and ready to be used for purposes unknown to me.)
• 3 separate assortments of broken glass (one of which happened to be a vase I loved. I expressly told him to throw it away. I just cut my finger on it. *evil eyes*)
• One decorative jar that was once upon a time sitting on the mantle above my fireplace. It now has stale bread and what looks like dried toothpaste inside it.
• Dental floss of all kinds. The roll out floss. The floss on plastic sticks that are packaged and sold for ease of use. Used floss. The only thing that saved me from throwing up my supper is my ability to tell myself, “well…at least I know he uses floss now.” We just have to work on the throwing it away part.
• 1 gallon jug of soapy water which I can only assume is in preparation for the apocalypse.
• A tree. Okay…so it wasn’t a tree. It was just a branch from a dead Christmas tree.
• 2 cheap plastic drinking glasses from Carnival Cruise Lines. We’ve never been on a cruise….
• A wide assortment of rocks & batteries
• The skulls of both a deer and a cat that he found in the yard and my husband cleaned for him so he could keep them. *evil eyes again* I don’t think those have a very good chance of surviving my clean up. We shall see.
• 3 love notes. In one of them he is asked if he can marry & kiss his then-girlfriend. His initial answer? “Maybe.” But I remember this day. He came home and asked me if kissing was appropriate for someone of his age (10) and I said perhaps it wasn’t. He responded again on the back side of the love note saying, “I love you too hunny but I can’t kiss you yet.”
Thank. God.
• 4 hats that he never wears, one of which is just advertising for Jay Auto Mall. ?? Another looks like it may have belonged to an Uncle Sam impersonator diagnosed with a severe case of dementia.
• A license plate literally hanging from a clothes hanger in his closet. I don’t even know why he would want to keep it, but apparently it’s important because it’s hanging up. His clothes aren’t hanging, but that license plate is!! 🙂 At least now I know he does, in fact, know what hangers are and how to use them.

This is just the closet. Only God knows what resides in his dresser, under his mattress and inside the toy box he never opens anymore. May the force be with me as I continue the pursuit of cleanliness.

What weird things do you find in your kids’ rooms (or anywhere else: your car, purse, refrigerator)? Am I the only one whose offspring is an aspiring garbage man? Please tell me I’m not alone…

Your Bossy, Overbearing Parents And Why You Can’t Wait To Get Away From Them

Dear Kids,

You’re dying to be grown aren’t you? Can’t wait to get out from underneath your parents’ crazy rules and their nearly constant badgering over where you’re going, what you’re doing, why you did that, what you’re thinking, is your homework done, why are you failing, are your chores finished, where’s your common sense, who’s that kid you’ve been hanging out with who smokes, and just what is that fungus growing beside your toilet?! etc…the list is endless right? They just won’t leave you alone. 

You know why they won’t leave you alone? Because they care about you. They love you. Yeah, yeah, you know that already. They tell you constantly. It doesn’t seem like they love you though, does it? I mean really all they do is boss you around and yell at you when you don’t perform the way they think you should. They tell you they want what’s best for you and somehow you don’t see how telling you who you can and can’t hang out with is ‘what’s best.’ You don’t understand how passing calculous is going to make you a better person or why your parents are always up in your business.

It’s not like they ever made any sacrifices for you. It’s not like they give you a place to live, sleep, bathe; it’s not like they provide you with clothes and food or stupid frivolous things like game systems and cell phones just because you like &/or want them. Oh wait…yeah…they do. (And they make sure to remind you of that constantly, right?) But they expect you to earn those things by keeping your grades up and doing chores so it’s not like they’re really giving it to you. You deserve it because you earned it. You earned it by being their child and by (mostly) listening to them. Or did you? Do you REALLY deserve it? What makes you entitled to anything? Your parents have to work for everything they have. Everything YOU have. So how did you earn it?

I’ll tell you; you didn’t. They did. Your parents bust their asses for you to live the life you have and yeah, there are a bunch of people who don’t have it so great and a bunch of parents in the world who, frankly, shouldn’t be. But I promise you, there are people out there in a much worse position than you are. You control your own outcome; why not make sure it’s the best one you can have?

So, I say all that to say this…

Suck it up. Stop racing towards adulthood because being a kid is awesome. The only thing you’re racing toward is a string of crappy jobs, early mornings and late nights, little to no appreciation, too many bills and not enough money to pay them, relationship problems, credit problems, stress, endless hours usually spent at someone else’s disposal, worry, wrinkles, grey hair, sacrifice, always having hard choices to make, sickness, cracking bones, weight gain and erectile dysfunction.

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I’m not saying your adult life can’t be amazing and that it’s inevitably going to suck, but I am saying that it’s not the party you think it is. There’s no one to take care of you when you grow up except you. Yeah, you’ll have a support system if you’re lucky and people that are always there to help, but no one is going to just give you things or do them for you. You have to learn to be self-reliant and responsible and THAT is what your parents are trying to teach you now. They want to see you grow up to be a well-rounded, amazing, contributing member of society and all the things they’re on you about now are just lessons and values they’re trying to teach you to help you succeed in the future. They’re trying to prepare you for adulthood because they know it’s not the carnival ride you perceive in your head. And no, not everything they do and say is going to be right or helpful, but they’re doing the best they can because they really do want what’s best for you. Sometimes, they’ll screw up because we’re all human. Cut them some slack.

Listen to the wisdom your parents and grandparents have to offer you and apply it. Enjoy and appreciate your youth. It really is a beautiful, magical time. It will make adult-hood a much easier transition for you if you try to apply all the positive things you’re learning now & you’ll be happy one day that you didn’t race toward that finish-line called “get out and get a job.” Once you get there, you’re on your own…there’s no going back.

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Dear Mrs. Perfect

You know who this is. We’re all terrified of her, jealous of her & desperate to be her. She is known by many names.

The Perfect Mom &/or Wife. Super Mom. Octomom. Mrs. Perfect Prissy-Pants. Call her what you want; it’s the same woman & we hate her more than we hate Swimsuit Models.

She cooks with a smile, she cleans with a smile, she reprimands her child with a smile. She performs every domestic task with – you guessed it – a smile. And surprisingly, not a creepy one like you’d see in a Stephen King movie adaptation. But is it real or does she just have really great prescription drugs? With this, I present you with letter number two.

Dear Mrs. So Perfect You Make The Rest Of Us Vomit,

Why do you torture us so?

And by “us” I mean the collective band of mothers & wives everywhere that only want to be 100% accurate at all times. It’s not that we’re unreasonable or that we simply want to control everyone we meet. Our desire for perfection stems, mostly, from our need to please those around us, make their lives easier & less complicated & get all matters of domestic engineering right 100% of the time. The happiness & success of our families is a direct result of how perfectly we care for them & as such, is a direct reflection of our worth as women. You would know the deep longing for such an unattainable perfection if you did not already have possession of it; the perfection, I mean – not the longing.

And the part that tears us up on the inside is the fact that you have it naturally. There is no effort required. No rigorous planning. No never-ending pile of books written by self-proclaimed experts (that probably don’t even have children) to dive into on a regular basis. There is no need for you to call your mother or your even wiser grandmother to get child-rearing advice. You are the only creature in existence that would not need to Google – ever. Elephants will Google before you will.

There is no need for you to call girlfriends for advice on what you should get your husband for your anniversary, or even to ask him for that matter because you already know it – every single last detail – like a book that is written in ink only you can see on the inside of your favorite apron. There is nothing you can’t do, no task you cannot accomplish with inhuman grace, precision & efficiency. Those around you consistently call you for favors, advice, instruction, recipes, knowledge, wisdom….and the list goes on. You give all of these things freely with a smile, a kind word of reassurance & never fail to deliver no less than 110% at all times no matter the situation. God forbid you ever get sick & be out of commission.

You do all this while still managing to maintain the immaculate appearance of your home where there is never a thing out of place. Even when there are babies in the vicinity, one would never know because not only is your home free of diaper-stench, but you are miraculously able to keep the little ones from crying. Ever . Even your hair is perfect. You keep up your youthful, vital appearance & constantly maintain clean, polished nails. Your sanity never threatens to evade you – you are always perfectly poised to handle any disaster, but such a thing rarely occurs in your realm of existence; the worst thing you will endure is something banal…like your homemade apple pie coming out a bit too juicy. You can be trusted not to threaten your own life or the lives of others with sharp utensils and one would never in a million years even dream of seeing that certain little vein throbbing in your forehead from anger.

Your voice never need be raised for any reason & you have the attention & submission of your entire family with a single twitch of your eye & the slight down-turning of your mouth. All your loved-ones’ wrongs are suddenly made right again immediately upon receiving such a look & they dare not argue with you. You know how to cure every ailment, you know exactly what approach your son should take to amend a broken relationship with a friend, the most rebellious thing your teenage daughter will ever do is wear a dress above her ankles & you will speak precisely the right words she needs to hear to make her understand what an atrocity that is without insulting her girlish innocence or making her cry. The talk will end in a hug & your daughter will go on to pursue an occupation in virtue. You know automatically what your husband should do to impress the new boss at his job even though you’ve never done his job a day in your life & probably have no idea what it is that he actually does. He listens to everything you say with rapt attention because you have never been wrong a day in your life. You bake complicated sweet concoctions for new neighbors & make friends with an ease that makes my skin crawl with jealousy. There has never been, nor will there ever be, a situation in your mothering & spousal career that you will not know how to handle flawlessly; instinctively.

I am willing to bet that at one time or another, every woman in America has wanted or will want to be you. Not just take on your inexplicable perfect-personality, talents & characteristics, but they will literally want to climb outside their own bodies, crawl into yours and assume another existence where they don’t have to think their own thoughts or feel their own emotions or admit their own defeat. You’ll be a Stepford-Wives housing station…

But what kind of life is that?

For the average female, the constant strain to be perfect is one that does nothing but give us gray hairs, wrinkles & produces an inordinate amount of anxiety that we must deal with before performing any and every task. Getting out of bed on a daily basis is considered a “task” when you are that weighed down with the pressure of obtaining an existence that is so implausible. We all know it is ineffectual & unnecessary to spend our lives chasing after something we can never reach, yet we insist on continuing our plight to be YOU; Mrs. Perfectly Perfect Perfection Lady.

Well, this is what I think about exhausting myself with trying to be perfect all the time.

 

It may not take much effort for you, but it would consume every mili-second of my life that would be better spent trying to enjoy & appreciate all the imperfect, fascinating things around me. I’m tired of trying to be you because honestly…for all your flawlessness, you sure are boring. Life is a little more fun & definitely more interesting when you bend a few rules, make a truckload of mistakes & wake up to some kid-made catastrophe in your kitchen most mornings. Sometimes we need to be furious, we need to scream, we need to cry…we need to have emotions; we need to feel real.

When you’re old & decrepit, sitting in your shiny, polished rocking chair knitting throw rugs & blankets with effortless repetitive motions, what memories will be running through your mind? What will stick out for you more than anything else? Make you smile or laugh to yourself? What are the fondest memories of someone who’s every day was perfect? I would think there wouldn’t be much to celebrate if all your memories were gathered on the same floor of your consciousness; nothing a step higher or lower than anything else. Nothing wiggling around on the edges of your brain. Just immovable, stagnant, neat little rows of memories, all of which you had to put very little work or thought into to create. No friendships with substance or trials & tribulations to make you stronger, rough roads to travel that only make you work that much harder to achieve your ultimate goal. How can you have the capacity to really & truly appreciate something if you’ve never had a negative thing to compare it to? How can you be proud of a particular accomplishment if it was the norm for you rather than being a bonafide accomplishment?

One definition of accomplishment is this: An activity that a person can do well, usually as a result of study or practice. If you never have to work hard for anything how can you truly appreciate the results? What do you have to look back on? Was there ever any fun in your life? I consider a fun day one where nothing goes right, but somehow it’s perfect anyway because of what you choose to do with all the imperfections you’re given.

So, Mrs. So Perfect You Wouldn’t Even Really Be Alive Even If You Did Exist; you can have perfect. I’d rather be fun, exciting, interesting, hard-working & happy.

Sincerely,

~Bethylicious~

PS. Please send me one of those blankets when you get done because lord knows I’ll never make one.

To everyone else:

Here are few funnies I thought I’d leave you with. Enjoy being imperfect!

 

Where Are Dorothy’s Red Slippers When You Need ‘Em?

It’s me again, Margaret!

Oh…I forgot, there are some of you who aren’t country like me and have no idea what that’s from…I feel obligated to educate.

My parents are at the airport. Still. They’ve been there since about 7ish this morning, but weren’t able to catch their scheduled flight out today because all the seats were filled & they’re flying on buddy passes. If you’re military, you’ll understand what I mean when I say it’s sort of like space A. If not, think “on a space available basis only.” They’re going to try again tomorrow, but hubs and I are trying to figure out a way we can go get them, or at the very least, take them some euros so we know they can at least get something to eat while they are waiting. It bothers me that they are only two hours away from me and I can’t go spend time with them while they’re still here due to not having a vehicle at the moment. Maybe my brilliant husband will pull some awesometastic plan out of his arse here in a few minutes…he’s been known to do things like that on occasion.

They did so much for us while they were here. For a whole two weeks I didn’t have to do laundry or wash dishes and I barely cleaned a thing! My parents took care of all that and they helped us pack a lot of our stuff up so the movers wouldn’t be able to just throw it around whenever they do finally come to help get us moved. I love them so much! My dad took my dog out all the time and he took her on really long walks, let her chase rabbits & spoiled her even more than she already is. Sayte LOVES him now – it’s so sweet!! 🙂 We also ate A LOT of icecream. The girls had the cutest Mickey Mouse icecream at the Eiscafe downtown.

Have I ever mentioned that Europe has THE BEST icecream in the world? So much better than what we have in the states. That will definitely be missed…

My parents managed to discover a park right across from where we live that we have neglected to find for the entire two years we’ve lived here! And they find it a week after they get here!? I’m thinking we should probably have explored more, but whatever. I have a ton of other pictures, but here is one of my li’l man hanging out on “PawPaw & Nanna’s Park.”

 

Yesterday, we walked around downtown to do some shopping and spend some quality time with my parents before they left this morning and I FINALLY got to see the inside of that uber old church!

Here’s a building that I’ve always liked…or at least the viney tree things climbing up it. You’ll have to forgive my lack of botanical/floral intelligence.

I also like the girl standing on a lion head at the top of the door.

We stopped for a quick tourist-style shot of my parents against one of the doors to the church. My hams girls just had to jump in!

Here is another *better* shot of the parental unit. I figured I had better take this one so they have some pictures of themselves to hang on their wall. I’ve only seen one or two pictures of them together in my whole life!

I’ve been finding lots of graffitied walls lately. I love them! 🙂 I wish I had found them earlier because I would have done some photo shoots there. At least I got my kids!

I got one of L’il J, but he wasn’t thrilled that I made him stand up against a wall that was mostly pink & purple with a giant red heart so I’ll share some others of/with him.

 

We went to a German place to eat yesterday afternoon and I snapped this shot of my hubby. He says he looks old, but I think it’s a good shot. Simple & honest.

I have other pictures I’ll probably be sharing periodically, but this is it for now.

I suppose several of you are wondering why I’m out and about if I still have what is, for simplicity’s sake, a broken neck. The answer is that I still have working arms and legs and Bethy does not do bed-rest very well. Also, I am immensly enjoying the fact that I now look human again.

I was supposed to stay active so my lungs would heal up and it feels like they have healed up most of the way if not entirely. I still don’t want to just lay around though. It makes me feel worse because I get all stiff and achy if I sit still too long. I’m supposed to have that referral to the orthopedic specialist coming through, but by the time that gets here, I’ll be healed (incorrectly probably…grrr) or gone. And when I say gone, I mean my whole family and I mean for good.

It’s official, folks!

We got briefed on hubby’s medboard and he’s being permanently medically retired!! We got the ball rolling on everything he needs to do between now and the time that his orders are cut and we get to go home so hopefully we will have definitive orders in hand in as little as a few weeks! Then we won’t have to dish out a ton of money to fly home because the Army will be paying for our move! Next on the list is getting his VA benefits taken care of, but that is a long process.

We also have someone buying what’s left our truck for salvage so we should get a couple thousand out of that assuming we can get it taken care of by the 26th. I know all this paperwork and red tape is driving my poor husband nuts, but he’s good about getting things done so I think we’ll be okay. That money will definitely come in handy once we get back home.

God, I can’t wait!!

So, that’s it for the update this time. Hubs wants to watch a movie with me & if I keep him waiting too long, he’s going to turn on that God-forsaken game that I hate. Die, Black Ops, Die!!!!

Until next time….