Confessions Of A Bad Mom: Having The Talk

I’ve read a couple blog posts recently that revolved around parents having ‘the talk’ with their sons. They were funny and sweet and guilt inducing.

You guys, I’ve been a bad mom and this is one of my spectacular parental fails.

My older son was many things as a child. He was smart and funny. He was inquisitive and extremely physical. He was also stubborn.

I’m talking professional level stubborn.

Trying to get my son to do a chore or clean up after himself was a never ending battle. He could dig his heels in and hold on with a tenacity that could move mountains. But not mountains of dirty clothes, because he wasn’t picking that shit up.

You could nag, plead, threaten and punish and he wouldn’t do what he was asked to do. I grounded him, took away TV privileges, confiscated his electronic devices and made him stay in his room with nothing but a book and he would wait me out every time. I did not have his stamina.

I’m a stubborn person, but I am an amateur compared to my son.

Then, when he was around 9 years old, something miraculous and unexpected happened when I decided it was time to have ‘the talk’ with him.

I grew up in a household where sex was not discussed. Not ever. I learned everything I know about sex on the mean streets of Dry Ridge, Kentucky. I wanted it to be different for my children. I didn’t want them to feel uncomfortable with asking questions about sex or feel ashamed about themselves. I wanted a goddamn open dialogue.

My son, however, did not.

When I approached the subject of sex, I saw something happen that I had never seen before. He wavered.

His defiant exterior didn’t crumble, but I did see it weaken and I immediately seized the opportunity. I am not proud of what happened next.

I didn’t want to push the subject of sex on my child, I didn’t want him to have any of the hang ups that I’ve had to work through over the years, so I backed off.

What I should have said was: Okay, Zach. That’s fine. I just want you to know that I am here to answer any questions you have about sex. You have nothing to worry about and I will always be available when you are comfortable with discussing sex with me.

What I said was: That’s fine. We don’t have to talk about sex. Instead, you can unload the dishwasher.

I didn’t have to ask a second time.

For the next year I got that kid to do all of his chores by giving him a choice between two things. Either complete the chore or we could have the sex talk.

Eventually, that tactic no longer worked, but for a whole year, that kid had a clean bedroom and I didn’t spend half my waking hours nagging a fourth grader to get his homework done.

He’s 27 now and has been living with his girlfriend for two years. I’m pretty sure he’s had all of his questions answered and if not? Well, I am no longer willing to discuss his sex life with him.

In fact, if he tried, I’d probably volunteer to unload his dishwasher.

Add your comments below. Profanity is encouraged, but not required. ;)
    • Michelle says:

      Hahah..I actually do feel bad about that…it wasn’t fair. But it DID work. For a while

      Reply
      • Marilynn says:

        I just found your blog….too fucking funny! When my teenage son was being annoying (read horrible) and I wanted him to leave me the fuck alone I would start stripping off my clothes while yelling ” here comes the pants..what’s next?” The sight was enough to send him out of my sight. BTW..he’s married with children, so I know he will get his just rewards.

        Reply
  1. Sounds like mine at that age. Amazing what can be done with some “real talk”.

    Before he left, I told him to not drink, not do drugs, don’t smoke and if he has sex to “wrap it up” and that the prescription mastercard he has would also pay for condoms if needed. He was shocked and his dad couldn’t believe I said that.

    I just looked at my ex and said, “Do you want to be a grandparent right now?”

    He had to concede, luckily the kid is used to me throwing this topic out like this every so often. He’s right at the age I was when I got pregnant, so why not? Just too bad he was leaving and couldn’t vacuum before he left.
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  2. Oh, I don’t know…. I think that if that got him doing his chores, you did a good thing — and at least he didn’t turn out to be a vegisexual. What two or more humans do in the privacy of their bedroom is none of my business, but I draw the line at fucking produce.
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  3. AlienCG says:

    I swear, if I ever have kids and have to have “the talk” with them, I am going to write it out in technical manual form and let them read it.

    “The MAN-93N15 Unit adapts perfectly to the FEM-V461N4 input socket. The two components are capable of great amounts of friction…”

    I think this would get the point across perfectly.
    AlienCG recently posted…Sandusky HouseMy Profile

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    • Michelle says:

      HAHHAHA..That is awesome. You should do that.

      Our younger son was fine with the talk, we got him a book..he read it..he asked a few questions and then went on his way. No issues at all.

      Reply
  4. YOU GOT HIM TO EMPTY THE DISHWASHER????? That trumps him knowing anything about sex. I mean, they all learn from the internet, eventually, right?

    I have two sons and we have a pretty open line of communication. Every once and a while they ask me something, like I duuno, “where is a girl’s penis?” or “if boys play with their pee-pees, what do girls do?”, and I try to be honest without ruining them for life. They knew the term vagina before any of their friends. But I admit, I’m nervous about the sex talk!
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    • Michelle says:

      I did! It was a glorious time!

      I was uncomfortable with it, but dealt with my own shit..I didn’t want that to be a part of their lives. I wanted them to be open and not be all uptight like their momma.

      Reply
  5. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! This is absolutely brilliant. I might have to remember this strategy as my son gets older. 😉
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    • Michelle says:

      It was good while it lasted..eventually, he called my bluff. I mean, he still wouldn’t listen. I don’t know that I EVER had a heart to heart with my older boy about sex. The younger one? Man, he’d pull up a chair and ask questions all day long. Well..when he was younger. He’s 16 now and I’m pretty sure he’d be mortified if I brought it up.

      Reply
  6. Vanessa D. says:

    I’ve never officially had the talk with either of my boys, but going by how shocked their friends are by business as usual at my house, I guess we’re pretty open.

    I know for sure they practice safe sex because I’ve had condoms pilfered.
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  7. Linda says:

    I have to say this is a parenting win – a double win even. You not only got him to do his chores – you also taught him that sometimes the only choices you get in life are (1) bad or (2) worse. A lot of kids grow up believing that there is always a way to win. You taught YOUR son that sometimes you are going to lose no matter what. I think you deserve a gold star for that!

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  8. Jhanis says:

    LMAO! Oh my goodness. I will never want to go there. No. No. No. I’ll take the dish washing duties please. I have appointed the husband to be the official parent to do that stuff!
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  9. qwertygirl says:

    My oldest went through a great program at his school, and after I asked if he had any questions, and told him I was always here if he had any. So far, nada. I think he may still be in that state where you learn where babies come from, and then spend the next six months eyeing your parents in disgust. I was also worried he would spill the beans to his younger brothers and sister, but so far he’s grasped that some things are need-to-know and they do not need to know this yet.
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  10. kdcol says:

    Parental fail? Nope, try parental genius! I think I’ll test this out on my kids. How much cleaner my house could be! 😉
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  11. I agree with kdcol – this is brilliant! I can’t wait to try this out on my eight year old. LOL
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  12. My laugh of the day. Thank you.

    My son, a little older than your chore-avoiding boy, responded to the sex talk with, “You mean you did that to Dad, four times?” (4 kids = 4 times, right?) I responded, not wanting to lie, or go into detail “At least.”
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  13. Kristine says:

    Too bad my son is not at all embarrassed to ask questions after the talk. I could have used this 3 years ago. Thx for nothing! 😉
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  14. Twindaddy says:

    This is not a parenting fail. I would have done the same thing.
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  15. Mary-Anne says:

    OMG! Why didn’t I think of that? My daughter insists that instead of having ‘the talk’, I surreptitiously left a copy of Our Body, OurSelves, on her bed.
    That is not how I remember it.
    However, my son? He would ask me all sorts of questions about sex, and tell me all sorts of things about his sex life. To. This. Day.
    It is wonderful he is so open, but sometimes?
    Too. Much. Information.
    Mary-Anne recently posted…Depression – mine and othersMy Profile

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  16. ManicMom says:

    So freaking funny. And I wouldn’t call it a parental fail at all. I never thought about leveraging that kind of thing for housework, although we do get our boys to go to bed by threatening to talk about boobies and watch something on television with a lot of kissing.

    As it is now, they’ll probably always keep a regular bed time, but probably will make it all the way to adulthood never having learned to scrub out a toilet.
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  17. This is just so weird. I grew up in Hebron then moved to Williamstown when I got married until we moved to SC 3 years ago! My son is 25, we probably walked right past each other and didn’t even know it!
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  18. Sarah says:

    Absolute epitome of parenthood. I am not so afraid for that day anymore.

    Reply
  19. Kathy Radigan says:

    I love you even more now!!! This is brilliant! And thanks for a well needed laugh today!

    Reply
  20. Gigi says:

    If it had been up to ME to have that conversation with my son? It probably would have went down exactly the same way. As it was, I appointed my husband with that task and I can only hope & pray it went well.

    I figure it’s better that I don’t know the details.

    Reply
  21. REDdog says:

    It’s confirmed Mich, you need a cape! Please right this book.

    Reply
  22. Yes, yes, YES! My kids are all adults now and they WANT to tell me about their sex lives! I seriously plug my ears and say, “Lalalalala”!!!!
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  23. That is fuckawesome. I wonder if it would’ve worked on me? If it’ll work on me now? I mean, not talking about sex, but like…”Hey, do you want to talk about politics or do laundry?” “Yeah, I’ll do laundry. Deuces.”
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  24. Deb says:

    Seriously. Laughing. My. Fucking. Ass. Off.

    That is all. 😀
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  25. Lori says:

    My husband was 27 when I met him, soon to have his divorce finalized, and the father of 2 children. He didn’t know that women had a urethra. He thought the pee just came out of the “vagina hole” (has quite a way with words, he does). I’m pretty sure he had no idea there was such a thing as a cervix and that he assumed the vagina was a sort of tunnel that opened directly into the uterus. I still married him though (and that’s all on me). He’s since had his knowledge base expanded. He is admittedly horrified when this occasionally happens and claims his life would be better if there were things he didn’t know….but I disagree. Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-hah…..ha…ha
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  26. bodynsoil says:

    Great strategy to get the chores done, much better than an allowance.. I love the way it ended with you, potentially, emptying that dishwasher yourself..
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  27. Steph says:

    Oh my God Michelle you are the greatest mom ever. That is so fucking hilarious.
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  28. You’re brilliant, period. The end.
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  29. Well played!! Tip of the imaginary hat!!
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  30. LOL! I guess that won’t work with the 2-year old & picking up toys. Ha!!!!
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  31. Patty Gale says:

    THAT is awesome! I never had ‘the talk’ with either of my sons. I can only guess their dad did? Who knows. They’re now 30 and 28.. the 30 year old is married, so yea.. I’m assuming all his questions have been answered by now.
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  32. Lynne says:

    Hahaha! I may try that!!
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  33. hahaha! I’ve never heard of that parenting technique and don’t have kids myself. But I wonder if that would work with friends or relatives….. Hmmmmm…I’ll have to give that some thought!
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  34. Heather says:

    Maybe threatening to talk about YOUR sex life would have kept the chores going indefinitely? 🙂
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  35. Doug in Oakland says:

    Let’s see… do my chores or face up to the reality that my parents (and all of my friends’ parents) not only had sex before I was born, but in all likelihood continue to do so… Where do these dishes go?
    It’s still brilliant whether it was intentional or not.

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  36. Eric says:

    I guess now you can hope that chores are getting done by sex being withheld.
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  37. Joy Christi says:

    I knew you were a COMIC genius, but a parental genius too? Impressive.
    I wish I had thought of that! OH how I wish I had thought of that when I had our super uncomfortable talk, that my son did not want either. Ugh.
    I have 2 girls now. I feel like girls are a lot easier. I may just eat those words in a few years. I’ll follow your lead, and see what you come up with!

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      Why thank you!! Although anytime I hear ‘genius’ or ‘guru’ I want to dig a hole and hide in it. haha.

      I sincerely hope the strategy works out for you. It’s nice to get a break from ALL the chores. 🙂

      Reply
  38. stef says:

    Oh funny! Not a fail at all, lady. Because CHORES got done! We don’t have a dishwasher, so it’s a ‘you’re washing the dishes’ thing around here, which is worse.

    My oldest just went away to college, (as in MOVED ALL THE WAY OUT), and her room is just as messy as it was in 7th grade, 5th grade, 3rd grade. So, I see *that* as an epic mom fail somehow…

    I took her back to college yesterday after only her second weekend home (where she studied literally ALL NIGHT/ALL WEEKEND), and I hadn’t had the heart to say to her “If you don’t stop that studying and get that room cleaned, young lady, I will rent a backhoe and and shovel it all out through your window while you’re gone.”

    Instead I bit my tongue and said, “You know, I know you had to study. But aside from the fact that itshouldhavebeencleanbeforeyouMOVEDOUT, you *have* to come home and get it sorted out, because we can’t just have a whole room of our house boarded up until we die and/or sell the house.” She agreed, so maybe there’s hope.

    As for “the talk”…at this point, with both teen girls who I talk to about everything, I have left it at basically, “Save it til you’re married–it will save you a TON of headache and risk. After that…feel free to get your freak ON. And you can ask me anything you want, then.” It’s fun to watch them cringe a little… (“MOM! Just. No. Stahp.”)
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    • Michelle says:

      HAHAHA…yeah..my youngest’s bedroom is appalling. Seriously gross. I clean it by closing the door and not taking a deep breath when I walk by. Seriously, I have no idea how he sleeps in there.

      Reply
      • stef says:

        Ahh, yes, that, exactly. Her door just stays closed when she’s gone. Unfortunately, she’s really moved out and left it like that, so…yeah.

        Houston, we have a problem.

        Reply
  39. This made me laugh. My parents never delivered the sex talk to me and my brother, and my wife and I avoided the sex talk with our two children (who are now both in their 20s). Parents, I think, are the last people in the world that children want to talk sex to – I guess it triggers grotesque images of their parents “doing it”. Incidentally, I loved the way you used the threat of it as a lever; that’s what I call thinking outside the box (if you excuse the pun!)
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  40. May says:

    Ha ha – I am so doing this! They already load the dishwasher but this could get them cleaning their rooms. You should write a parenting book. Seriously – this is pure gold.
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  41. Michelle says:

    Both my boys begged me to sign the release that would excuse them
    from the school Health Education, aka sex ed. I refused. I wonder how many chores I would have gotten out of that!

    Reply
  42. Ginny says:

    Not sure what age but I gave my oldest a choice. It was have a talk or pick out books and ask questions if he needed to later. He chose books. We picked them out together. He never asked a question. When his brother got old enough he passed the books to him. Needless to say I have a 5 yr old granddaughter. I think he missed a section on how not to make babies. His brother however is learning from him on that.

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  43. The ENTJ Mom says:

    My oldest was in 4th grade. He too, has the power to hold out like no other I’ve met, & I’ve got serious stamina. He slapped a girl’s butt (ok, his teacher – he’s an over achiever) after watching her husband do the same that morning, she admitted. I took the gentle approach and started with puberty and ‘the morning rise’ – it was obvious he knew where it was going. He turned bright red and begged me to stop talking. He got a full hour of humiliating descriptions & decided he will adopt bc he will never touch a girl again. Probably didn’t help his mental imagery that I was very pregnant with his brother. He’s now 13…anytime he attempts to defy, one look and he knows better. I haven’t done his laundry since he was 9, his friends (who have received the same look when they’ve pushed it) are the most polite and helpful gentleman in my house (hockey players!) and he almost cried when he told me that his GF kissed him. I’d dare to say that this approach wins every time – no shame in taking the win where we can!

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