A Mother’s Wish for Her Daughter About Sex

Friends, I know this is a tricky subject that can be strewn with harsh opinions and great big fears. I share these thoughts as my nineteen-year-old daughter navigates the new world of relationships and only with her permission. My hope is to be helpful to others who may not know how to talk to their adult children about sex. IMHO, this topic applies to daughters and sons, regardless of their sexual orientation, and it shouldn't be avoided, shamed, or brushed over, rather it should be talked about with honesty, compassion and awareness. If this scares you, I get it. If this offends you, I'm sorry. If this is useful, amen. So here goes...

A mother’s wish for her daughter about sex.

It’s conflicted and pulls on my heart relentlessly.

Hopes for true love and gentleness and long gazes mix with images of a little girl who can’t possibly be old enough yet.

Concerns for her heart to be sheltered against the roller coaster of regret and fortified with conviction in a decision that just doesn’t seem to ever have the right timing, at least in her mother’s mind.

But it’s not about me. It’s about a girl who’s always had the ability to read a room and find the safe places there. It’s about a girl who feels fully and deeply with all the emotions. It’s about a girl who isn’t really a girl anymore. 

As a woman, I want her to discover the immense connection that lovers and partners can share. To explore intimacy and discover how to grow in her love, physically and emotionally. I want her to know how the strength of a marriage is partly dependent upon a commitment to loving each other and reconnecting intimately and regularly. I want her to be a good partner and I want her to know what a good partner looks like. She deserves to be loved wholly.

As a young woman, unmarried and exploring the world of relationships, I want her to be discerning, not careless. Cherished, not used. Respected and revered. I want her to take her time. I want her to know that sex is not a tool or a game or a way to barter.

As a Catholic, I want her to wait. To know the sacred bond that exists between partners for life when they give the gift of their whole selves to each other. 

As a human, I want her to know that sex is natural and beautiful and can still be sacred. Finding the balance between timing and maturity is different for everyone. But I want her to know that I will be here if she’s scared or confused or sad. Just as I will celebrate with her when she’s elated and committed and ready.

If I could have one wish for my daughter about sex, it would be that she is loved and knows how to love. That she has no regret in the decision to share the most intimate experience with her partner when she knows the timing is absolutely right. That she’s safe and in control. That her voice and the desires of her heart are heard. And that her partner realizes what a gift, a priceless, cherished gift he holds in his hands.

That is this mother's wish for her beautiful, beloved daughter.

(Photo by HOP DESIGN on Unsplash.)
Holly and Jenn

New School Year Inspiration: The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

-Robert Frost

Wishing everyone a happy, adventurous school year. 

Photo cred: Jens Lelie on Unsplash

Holly and Jenn

Please Don't Judge

I'm afraid for summer to end because I know in my bones how much this transition is going to hurt.

For the last ten weeks, we've enjoyed almost no routine. The three teens in my house have been living rent-free in this awesome place where someone cleans and stocks the fridge and all they have to do is make curfew (sometimes they fail at this) and do a few chores (sometimes they fail at this too). To fill the time they're not hanging with friends doing amazing things, they have video games and Netflix and all sorts of fun distractions. And then there's been napping. You guys, they haven't napped since they were toddlers. But now, we have naps again.


So herein lies the problem: they are out of practice. Reality practice. And maybe I am too, a smidge. Confession time.

My kids might not know how to read anymore, or at least read fully-formed, punctuated words in a book. Practicing math facts, novel-reading, current events...not a clue. Sorry future teachers.

I might've forgotten how to cook. No one is ever home for dinner, with work schedules and ALLTHEFRIENDS. So I haven't regularly cooked for five for a LONG time! And can someone tell me wheat kids are eating for lunch these days? I have carefully, lovingly filled the fridge with all sorts of great lunch and snack foods, but I'm pretty sure they would rather use the precious five minutes it takes to assemble lunch, to sleep or scroll or streak, so they're going to head off to school without enough fuel to nourish their brains to do the learning. (And I refuse to make their lunches...they have to learn...it's a choice not a punishment.) CRAP...see the trouble I'm in?

Also, they don't sleep in the nighttime. They go to Corky's, they have friends over to play video games and watch movies, they do those things at their friend's houses, but sleep is not a high priority. Which also means I don't sleep. Because they are like elephants with big stomping feet that can't enter a house quietly. And you better believe they become Master Chefs at 2 a.m. and cook all the things with all the pans and every possible appliance. I love waking up to a kitchen full of splatter and crumbs and shit. It's my favorite.

And how is it they don't know how to silently open/close a door? I mastered this skill as a teen who had to sneak out of the house in order to go to a 24-hour diner for onion rings at 2 a.m. because there was no way my parents would let me go to a diner at 2 a.m. for onion rings. But our kids just wake us up, say they're heading to Corky's with their friends and we say OK because SUMMER and onion rings are awesome. Oh to be young. In the meantime, we've robbed our children of learning a priceless skill of covertly/quietly opening and closing doors. So I guess it's my fault that I haven't slept through the night in 10 weeks. Thus, the desperate need for a nap.

This nocturnal behavior also means they've forgotten how to wake up early. Unless work or something fun FORCES them to set an alarm, they just haven't heard one this summer. Proof that next week is going to be really painful. I'm also not sure the last time my boys used shampoo. Rinsing off after a surf counts, right? And didn't I read on FB that chlorine kills more germs than Pantene? So maybe they're fine. At least they do their own laundry and they don't stink.

So here's the thing...I think we're all going to need some re-entry grace around here. Like Jen Hatmaker says, we just can't expect much from our kids the week or two that they're getting back in the routine of things. I'm here to declare that it goes both ways.

Kids, please know that this transition is hard for parents too. We don't want to nag. We don't want to have to remember all the things YOU need to do while your brain re-learns how to think and plan and execute multi-step tasks. I don't want to check School Loop daily because you ignore it. To me, School Loop is offensive because it implies that I am somehow responsible for your homework. I am not.

But I will look at School Loop. I will assist with lunches. I will help with lists. I will check up and check in. FOR TWO WEEKS ONLY. Really. I'm giving you a two-week grace period to figure it out. And believe me, if you put your phone down for two minutes, I know you can do it.

Friends, if any of this sounds familiar, I stand with you in solidarity. Let's give them two weeks to get their shit together. And then, we start smashing devices and taking away driving privileges. Okay?

By the way, I might need a vacation. Is it summer yet. Is it just me?

Peace and strength be with them, and us.

Holly and Jenn