Excellent parenting techniques…for dummies?

Yesterday my friend and I spent a good portion of our day debating our differing parenting techniques.

It all started out with a conversation about whether or not her 14 year old daughter should be allowed to have her belly button pierced.
This lead to the view that perhaps the piercing could be perceived as sexual by the boys her age, and of course, nobody wants their daughter to be viewed as a ho.

So moving along, I bring up the fact that I tell my children most anything about my time as a teen.
She says, “You wouldn’t tell them at what age you lost your virginity, would you?”
I replied, “I absolutely would. If I felt it would create further educational dialogue I would.”

She replied, “I wouldn’t. I think it would only give them license to do as you did.”
Not that I was young or anything.
I was a virgin till I got married at 26.


Now, though, she’s got me questioning myself.
Maybe I am too open and honest?
Maybe my jokes and playful banter could give my kids the wrong idea?

This morning I left my son a note.

I thought I was funny.
I certainly was not saying that if he didn’t have to buy tickets for the high school musical, he could go out and score a gram.

I showed my husband after I wrote the note, and I was like, “I am the funniest mother in the land! How could you turn to drugs and alcohol when your mother is this hilarious!”

However, this is how I found the note after my son left for school.

He had not left me a note in reply saying, “I love you mommy! You’re the best!”
Instead, the note was found in the garbage under a yogurt container.

Was the location of the note suggestive?
Was my son trying to tell me that I am not, in fact, funny?
‘Cause I am! I SO am!

I’m choosing to ignore the symbolism of the fact that the note was found in the garbage can.
Instead I’m going to focus on the fact that it was found in the garbage can, yes, but not in the garbage can UNDER the pile of cat poo we cleaned up from the living room earlier this morning.

Yes, I threw cat poo in the garbage can in the kitchen.
Don’t judge me. It was early. I was tired.
I’m totally going to empty the garbage can…any minute now…for sure in the next hour.

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70 Responses to Excellent parenting techniques…for dummies?
  1. Queen B
    April 15, 2011 | 7:34 pm

    the placement of the note tells me that he read it, digested it, committed it to memory, and now no longer needs the actual physical paper copy ;)

    I love that you have a “say no to drugs” label!

    I vote honesty and realism is a great parenting technique. thumbs up

  2. Mark
    April 15, 2011 | 7:43 pm

    It's exactly because my Mom is funny that I turned to drugs and alcohol.
    You've been warned!
    Your Friend, m.

  3. Kjbikakis
    April 15, 2011 | 7:51 pm

    DUDE I WISH YOU WERE MY MOM! YOUR FIRKIN HILARIOUS! LIKE NO JOKE SERIOUSLY! i really do wish you were my mom (: I'm a good kid you should adopt me! lolol

  4. Audreya
    April 15, 2011 | 7:57 pm

    My parents took a very blunt, honest approach to everything. There weren't “taboo” topics in our house. We had limitations, but we weren't sheltered. If we asked something, we got an answer. If something off-color but funny happened, we all laughed about it. No big deal. And, whether this is what they intended or not, it made me less interested in rebellious teenager behaviors. I mean, if it's not going to freak your parents out, what's the point, right?

  5. Kara Hoag
    April 15, 2011 | 7:59 pm

    I'm going to sneak in here before the 74,000 comments come in, because we all really do think you're freaking hilarious.

    If nothing else honesty gives them the capability to, in turn, be honest with you and themselves.

    Also, I gave you a boobie award.

    visions unto myself

  6. Kathy
    April 15, 2011 | 8:06 pm

    I'm sorry, I'm still so impressed that he threw the note out in the garbage can! You must be a wonderful mother to have taught him that trick! Lol! Very funny, thanks for the laugh!

  7. Mandy_Fish
    April 15, 2011 | 8:06 pm

    More importantly than looking like a 'ho, that poor 14 year old girl will look sooooo 90s. Somebody should have social services step in.

  8. Shannon
    April 15, 2011 | 8:19 pm

    Dude – my mom was sooooo honest with me and I think it made me so much less interested in doing bad stuff. She told me about losing her virginity at 14. I waited longer. She told me about her drug use – I never got into them. It just didn't seem like the cool thing to do since my mom was open about her experiences.


  9. Chanel
    April 15, 2011 | 8:29 pm

    My mother was already the mother of one and pregnant with my lovely self on the way by the time I lost my virginity. She was totally open about how young and stupid she and my dad were when they were teenagers.

    I learned from her mistakes. I waited until right before I graduated, and I used condoms. No accidents, no regrets, and I went on to college.

  10. Kristina P.
    April 15, 2011 | 8:38 pm

    Umm, I was a virgin until I got married at 26. I am like a mythical unicorn.

  11. Portia
    April 15, 2011 | 8:43 pm

    I have always been open and honest with my kids both with sex and drugs. I grew up in the 70's, there was pot. My sister on the other hand lied to her son. “Oh no, I'm not going to tell him, I'm going to lie!!” This is what she told me when I asked if she was going to tell him about her past.

    Interestingly enough, MY kids do not do drugs, drink much alcohol (they are both over 21) and party. HER son lives for his next joint. It's all he wants to do. We're talking late 20's here.

    Was my approach better? Were there other factors? Who knows, but kids are amazing lie detectors!

    OH, and I am FUNNY too!! My kids roll their eyes a lot! But we also laughed a lot as well.

  12. Raven
    April 15, 2011 | 8:46 pm

    I'm very open and honest with my kids too, though I do sometimes skim over some of the details of my life just cuz they don't need to know some things. But, having said that, those things that I skim over are few and far between as I want my kids to be able to feel like they can talk to me about anything.

    I think you're a freaking riot!!

  13. Mynx
    April 15, 2011 | 8:58 pm

    I would look at it that at least the note was in the bin and not screwed up in a pocket ready to go through the washing machine and leave hundreds of bits of paper everywhere cause mum doesn't check pockets

  14. Rebecca
    April 15, 2011 | 9:00 pm

    Totally didn't realize that you are from Canada….Canadian money? Right? Wow. I feel so cultured.

  15. Jessica
    April 15, 2011 | 9:05 pm

    I would save emptying the garbage for the husband or one of the kids.

  16. CkretsGalore
    April 15, 2011 | 9:27 pm

    I would've found that note hilarious! Only because I probably (definitely) would've spent it on weed.

  17. Kristen
    April 15, 2011 | 9:30 pm

    I think you totally ARE hilarious and loved the note… hehehe. But 14 is just way too young for a belly button piercing. Maybe when she's 16.

    I wouldn't read into the note being in the trash… he probably doesn't get the humor behind it. Typical for a teenage boy! lol

    I love this blog :)

  18. NerdyRedneck Rob
    April 15, 2011 | 9:56 pm

    Your note was AWESOME! My son went through his “embarrassed by dad” phase even though his friends were laughing “with” me (I am pretty sure) but now that he is 24 we can go to the beer garden and start bantering and have the folks around us just rolling in the aisles.

    The best part is some near sighted people think we are brothers! Oh yeah, that totally makes my day!

  19. Gigi
    April 15, 2011 | 10:03 pm

    PAT YOURSELF ON THE BACK! At least your son KNOWS where the garbage can is and how to use it. Mine? Would have just crumpled it up and left it to lie wherever it fell.

  20. Monkey Man
    April 15, 2011 | 10:09 pm

    Did you throw your virginity away in the garbage can under the cat litter as well?

  21. Bridget
    April 15, 2011 | 10:26 pm

    I'm sorry, what did you say after you mentioned that you found the note in the trash?? I'm just about to draw a map to the trash can for my guys!

    I'm finding that parenting a teen is the hardest thing I've ever done…

  22. Making It Work Mom
    April 15, 2011 | 10:41 pm

    1. 14 is too young for a belly button piercing. I don't know why. It just is.

    2. We fall somewhere in the middle. I could and would lie if I thought it was in the best interest of the situation. But I am also cool telling most of the truth.

    3. I am in awe of your son's trash throwing away skills.

  23. Misfits Vintage
    April 15, 2011 | 10:45 pm

    You can buy a gram there for forty bucks??? I am so moving to Canadia.

    OMG is belly button piercing coming back? Or is she being 'retro inspired'?

    Sarah xxx

  24. NerdyRedneck Rob
    April 15, 2011 | 10:46 pm

    Yeah “Making it Work Mom” has a point! Your teenage *son* throws trash in a TRASH CAN! What kinda freak you raising over there? Huh?

    Do you know how many squirt guns/baseball bats I went through before my son would do that? Hint- He was in college first!

  25. gayle
    April 15, 2011 | 10:46 pm

    I think 14 is too young for a belly button ring but then I'm old. I was sorry I let my girls get their ears pierced when they were little.

    I do think you can be too honest with your kids. Sometimes some things are best left unsaid. It just depends on what it is.

  26. XLMIC
    April 15, 2011 | 11:02 pm

    Cat poop in the garbage? I'm sorry… if people de-follow me because I admit to liking Barney… you'd better watch out. Or is liking Barney WORSE than cat poop in the garbage? Is it the kitchen garbage?

    You ARE a funny mom. I wish you were MY mom. But that would be impossible.

  27. Opto-Mom
    April 15, 2011 | 11:11 pm

    I think Gayle hit the nail on the head. Some things are best left unsaid. You just have to use discretion.

    About sex, you can inform them that maybe you got pregnant too young and that you had to work twice as hard to get where you are, or that you had sex with some idiot, and wished you had waited for your husband.

    But, details are not necessary. For example, if you had unprotected sex all the time, they don't need to know that. After all, things are much more dangerous now than they were when we were youngsters.

    If you did drugs, you can mention that you experimented (only if they ask…don't offer unsolicited secrets!), but that it never did you one bit of good. After all, who has ever had great things happen to them because of drugs? They usually just screw things up.

  28. Sparkling
    April 15, 2011 | 11:12 pm

    you are sooooo funny. they have no idea how much they should appreciate your humor. you're the mom i wish i'd had.

  29. Lazarus
    April 15, 2011 | 11:17 pm

    I would guess that's why they put the picture of the Queen (or is that Helen Mirren) on Canadian currency – so that you'll look at her and feel guilty about buying drugs with her face. Here in the U.S. we have athletes and hip hop artists on our currency so that it doesn't inhibit us from drug buying. Actually, I'm not really sure who is on our currency, mine is always rolled up like a straw!

  30. Lin
    April 15, 2011 | 11:18 pm

    I'm with ya on the honesty and the “joking” about booze and drugs, but there is a line with sharing details. You can get a message across without telling them exactly what you did at their age. Things are different now for kids and when we got in trouble for drinking, they REALLY get in trouble nowadays. There are serious consequences to be paid, so we keep our exploits to a minimum at our place.

  31. Annabelle
    April 15, 2011 | 11:33 pm

    It's all been said but you really are hilarious.

    Absolutely be frank and honest and work blue, I am of the opinion that not only keeps the dialouge going it demystifies the temptations. And if they do experiment they know they can talk to you…eventually.

  32. Belle
    April 15, 2011 | 11:49 pm

    My parents were perfect – virgins when they married – never drank – nver smoked; I couldn't talk with them about anything. Everything I did shocked the hell out of them. I like how you talk with your kids.

  33. Julianna
    April 15, 2011 | 11:50 pm

    Be happy he found the trash…

    Now if he had taken out the trash while he was at it…

    …imediately proceed to the next drug screening locale… do not pass Go… do not collect $200…

  34. LOLA
    April 15, 2011 | 11:50 pm

    I was totally, or pretty much, honest with my kids. They both fucked around and used drugs. I think they've settled down, but I haven't. They probably got sick of it all because I didn't object. They don't even bother to object to what I do. They've given up on me.

    Infinities of love,

  35. The Family Stone
    April 15, 2011 | 11:59 pm

    I am pretty honest with my kids, but I don't tell them everything. I do let them know what I did that I regret and why.

  36. becca
    April 16, 2011 | 12:34 am

    i want to be a kid again so you can adopt me you rock as a mom

  37. Bibliomama
    April 16, 2011 | 12:41 am

    What — did you think he was going to scrapbook it? :) I have no fucking clue if being honest with your kids is the way to go or not – I'm winging everything. Truthfully, I think a lot of kids are going to turn out how they turn out no matter what you do. So you might as well entertain yourself along the way.

  38. Jill
    April 16, 2011 | 1:02 am

    Your note is hilarious and I think it's awesome that you have an open dialogue with your kids. Much better then pretending to be anything less than human.

  39. HulaBuns
    April 16, 2011 | 1:07 am

    For the record your handwriting looks like a child's (so does mine though). LOL

    I love the note, it's hilarious! I think next time you should put a question at the bottom that says “Isn't your mom the funniest mom in the world?” then have a check box that says “Absolutely” and another that says “No” and in small print next to it put “if you check this box you're grounded”. :D

  40. Coffeypot
    April 16, 2011 | 1:56 am

    How old was I when I lost my virginity? ummm! Is that with or without the right hand? I do remember that my first hand job was in the church bathroom.

  41. The Onion
    April 16, 2011 | 2:39 am

    That boy is so used to you, I can see him shaking his hat head, crumpling it up and tossing it in the bin, thinking “my Mom…” in a good way.

  42. ModernMom
    April 16, 2011 | 2:40 am

    I will continue to talk to my kids about my teen years until they tell me to shut up. It's the only way I know how to keep the line of communication open..l.plus I was a virgin forever so I'm covered:)

    PS No 14 year old girl living in my house will have a pierced belly button, her Dad would have a FIT

  43. Jenner
    April 16, 2011 | 3:35 am

    I think it's awesome that have an open and joking relationship like that. My mother was nothing of that sort and I plan to follow your lead. I'd rather have a kid that can talk to my about anything than to never know what they are thinking. Piercings? Eh, I'd probably make a 14 year old wait. I pierced my own nose when I was 15, but my daughter doesn't need to know that!!

  44. Big a
    April 16, 2011 | 4:18 am

    i think he appreciated it :)

  45. Yvonne
    April 16, 2011 | 5:12 am

    I'm pretty sure he “got” your message and it's now embedded in his brain. And you are HILARIOUSLY funny!

  46. Garden of Egan
    April 16, 2011 | 5:22 am

    Ok, you are about the funniest blog comic I have ever laughed at. Where have you been?

    I'm laughing at your study avoidance/checking facebook post. As much time as you spent looking at the word pneumothorax you should write a paper on it. We had one today, so there! You could so work for me!!!

    You are right I probably won't want to come home from Florida.

  47. Impulsive Addict
    April 16, 2011 | 5:25 am

    Anything is better than what my parents said to me at the age of 13.

    “If you have any questions about sex, come talk to us.”

    Um….I so didn't. I ended up having s-e-x at 14. No joke. If Emma tries any of that funny business, I'm locking her up.

    I thought the note was super funny! I can learn from you.

  48. Mamarazzi
    April 16, 2011 | 8:11 am

    hilarious…love the note, so funny. and at least he did something with it. as mom's we usually complain that no one picks up after themselves.

    i know, still not great.


  49. Jo-Anne Rambling
    April 16, 2011 | 10:10 am

    Well at least it looks like he read the note…..

    I have alwsys been honest and open with my girls about pretty much most stuff especialy money matters as I think kids understand more if they are involved.

    I wouldn't let my 14yr old get her belly button pieced or her tounge pieced. My response would be when you are old enough to get it without my ok then go do it if that's what you want to do.

  50. Deborah
    April 16, 2011 | 11:59 am

    When my young uns were really young that's exactly the approach I had! If they asked I told them.

    Totally gave my wasband gray hair!

    BTW – they turned out great. The truth will set us free! ha and wink

  51. Mrs. Tuna
    April 16, 2011 | 12:42 pm

    You don't think you're reading a teeny tiny bit too much into it. Mommy guilt?

  52. Anita
    April 16, 2011 | 1:04 pm

    Belly button piercing at age 14 – I have the same question you posed to your friend. When I see a young girl with lots of belly exposed, sporting a belly ring – I think, “sexually active and hot babe” I could be totally wrong, but…that's what pops into my mind. The child could just be artsy and enjoy the feeling of freedom, but she'll be TREATED as a hot babe.

    The reality of life: “Perception IS reality” in the mind of the viewer, listener, toucher, and smeller. :)

    Are those words? :)

    Anyway, catch your son in a good mood and then ASK him what he thought about the note. Let us know. :)

  53. Mountain Witch
    April 16, 2011 | 1:27 pm

    Honesty is totally the best policy! I'm to the point now that whenever I hear my boys ask, “Mom, can I….?” I'm like, “wear a condom!!!”
    Great post! Hysterical as ever. God you make me laugh!!! :)

  54. Laura@livingabigstory
    April 16, 2011 | 1:29 pm

    Yeah, like the other commenters I'm totally amazed that he would think of throwing it in the trash — if my son threw something in the garbage, I would feel like my job as a mom was done and pack his bag for college … yeah, he's only 8, but whatevs.

  55. " Hit It......."
    April 16, 2011 | 1:30 pm

    I agree with your friend about being too specific about what you did in your past. I have 3 step-kids and when we have given too much info, they end up throwing it in our faces. I caught my step-son screwing his girlfriend when he was 16…! His reply was that dad had sex at 15 why couldn't he? I pulled the old “this is my house rant,” and kicked the girlfriend out.

    Teenagers are hard!

  56. Tonya
    April 16, 2011 | 1:31 pm

    I think honesty is the best but only when your kids are ready to hear that honesty. Though I would say joking about serious things like drugs is only making light of it and could give them the wrong impression like it really isn't a big deal to try drugs, just my opinion though.

  57. myevil3yearold
    April 16, 2011 | 1:45 pm

    I think you had a win win. He looks like he handled the note so he probably read it AND he actually threw it away. I can't teach my kids that trick no matter how hard I try.

  58. Heather
    April 16, 2011 | 1:55 pm

    Loved your note and I would write my kids the same kind of note. I want to be honest to my kids and hope they will come and talk to me about stuff. My parents never talked to me about things. I really wish they would have.

  59. Hilary
    April 16, 2011 | 3:26 pm

    Ha.. I don't doubt your kidlet appreciates your humour and wisdom. If not right now, eventually.

    I have two very different sons and their differences dictate to me how much I reveal about my youth to each. Not much to the judgmental one.. a bit more (though with caution) to the accepting one. It's a fine line between offering what appears to be knowledgeable advice and what comes across as permission. A mom's sense of humour, on the other hand is an acquired taste. ;)

  60. sarajo
    April 16, 2011 | 3:40 pm

    Parenting is hard. Finding the right balance is tough. I think if you know you have good kids, there aren't any problems are school, then you are doing just fine!

    I thought the note was funny!

  61. Linda Medrano
    April 16, 2011 | 4:40 pm

    I was pretty honest with my own kids, and even with my grandkids. I told them how I had lost my virginity at 15 to a boy who swore he would love me forever and then dumped me and told everybody I was a whore. The bad news is it ruined my reputation. The good news is, I always had a date for the prom.

  62. Lizbeth
    April 16, 2011 | 5:01 pm

    OK, the note was in the garbage…but that means he read it, right? So he got the message. I'd rather have open and honest parents…trust me. I grew up a repressed Cathoic and the blew up in my parents faces…

  63. Lola
    April 16, 2011 | 5:19 pm

    I don't get it. You just proved that you are a stellar parent by specifically asking your child NOT to use the money for drugs. Where'e the controversy in that? You get “Mom of the Year Award” as far as I'm concerned.

  64. BusyWorkingMama
    April 16, 2011 | 6:12 pm

    OK, he should have totally recycled that. It's paper. Speaking of which, is that a plastic yogurt tin in there?! Gahh! Sandra! OK sorry, I'm a recycling nazi. And you ARE so funny!! He should have enjoyed the note!

  65. Boobies
    April 17, 2011 | 6:33 pm

    We SO parent the same..when my daughter has friends over, I give them the same bedtime run down:

    No drinking.
    No sneaking out.
    No sneaking anyone in.
    No drugs.

    They all look at me horrified…but I don't care. If you don't outline the obvious, they'll find a loophole.

  66. meleah rebeccah
    April 18, 2011 | 5:06 pm

    I am also way too open and honest with my 14-year-old son. And, I just let him get his ear pierced. I'm probably NOT going to be winning any Parent Of The Year Awards.

    You're lucky your son threw the note in the trash, instead of crinkling it up and throwing it on the floor like my son does!

  67. Cake Betch
    April 21, 2011 | 4:08 pm

    Aw SHIT, you're CANADIAN? What is up with all these awesome Canadians coming out of the woodwork now? I should have guessed with the hockey, but sometimes you just don't know.

    And I would LOVE to get a note like that from my mom. Actually, I'm pretty sure my mom would write me notes like that. I did buy some drugs, but I waited until I was older, and I don't buy drugs anymore and am semi-normal. I think your kids will be okay.

  68. Toriz
    April 21, 2011 | 11:25 pm

    Personally, I'm of the opinion that open conversation is the best bet. I mean, sure, because you talk so freely to your kids they may follow your example. On the other hand, at least you'll know about it because they wont be afraid to talk to you. I wouldn't like to have a teenager who's having sex, but I'd much rather have a teenager I know is having sex so I can make sure they are using protection, than to suddenly find out my teenage daughter is 4 months pregnant and has been doing it in the bike shed for like the past year, or my teenage son has gotten some other teenage girl pregnant in similar circumstances. Better to have kids who know they can be open and honest with you than kids you never know where to find, and never know what they're doing or who they're doing it with. I don't know, maybe I'd feel differently if I had kids. But that's how I feel anyway.

  69. Mrs4444
    April 22, 2011 | 4:05 am

    You are a real treat. I've enjoyed my visit tonight. It's great to “meet” you :)

    I would really love it if you'd stop by my blog JUST KIDDING!! I HATE IT WHEN PEOPLE LEAVE THOSE ANNOYING MESSAGES IN THEIR COMMENTS, DON'T YOU? drives me crazy

  70. The Adorkable Ditz
    April 28, 2011 | 9:59 pm

    Don't read too much into it I throw away notes mom writes me when I'm done with them.

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