This is a question that my 13-year-old son asked me. I recently had my IUD removed and underwent tubal ligation. It was the right choice for me because frankly, the Mirena was killing me and have four kiddos felt complete for me. My son is a natural caregiver and I’m sure the fact that he is being raised by a single mother has amplified his capacity for compassion and empathy.
As a mother, I try to be as open and honest about things as much as I can. Balancing wanting to protect your kids and inform them is like walking a tightrope blindfolded. You have a general idea of where to step, but you can’t ever really be certain. In our home, we speak openly about body functions and parts of the body, feelings and emotions, mental health… there really are no topics that are off limits. I remember as a child and even now, that I could go to my mom and discuss anything. I knew she may not like or agree with what I had to say, but she would discuss with me and support me in any way she could. I hope to do the same for my kids.
So when I woke with the worst cramps in the history of menstruation and he looked at me and asked if it was my fallopian tubes, I wasn’t entirely shocked. It’s what he said next that struck a chord. He said “ That has to be uncomfortable. Women have it rough. You should lay down and rest.” Now, in all transparency, the fact that this made me begin crying like a tween at a One Direction concert could be due to hormones, but I think it was something deeper.
The state of the world today is more than a little concerning. Let’s face it, we’re friends here so I’ll be blunt. The world is fucked up and it is becoming more and more apparent that a lot of the people here on earth are pretty fucked up too. It has become acceptable for people to proudly display various forms of hate. Hate against race, sexual orientation, gender, age you name it. It feels overwhelming and hopeless at times when you think about how we as a society can turn this around. There certainly movements that we get involved in, and I encourage that. I also think the key is to raise good humans. Don’t get me wrong. On any given day, my teenage son is somewhere on the asshole scale – he’s human, and he’s also a teenage boy. When it matters though, he is kind and compassionate. Not just to his family, but to his peers. When a friend was questioning their sexuality they came to him for reassurance and support and he didn’t disappoint them in providing a safe ear. His vocabulary is inclusive and when a classmate made a statement in a class discussion that he perceived to be racially charged and laced with ignorance, he requested a meeting with the teacher to bring up those concerns. I’d like to think it’s because he lives in a home that demonstrates these truths of inclusion, kindness, acceptance, and bad-assness. I’d like to think that it’s also because I grew up in the same kind of home. Can you imagine what the world could be like if a whole generation of children were taught to be compassionate, empathetic, woke as fuck? That’s how the world changes. Hate is loud and obnoxious, but love is bright and multi-faceted and so much stronger. Love has staying power that hate cannot endure.
I don’t claim to have all the answers or even one solitary answer for that matter. I’m a single mom doing my best to not screw up. I often question my sanity and whether I am even mom qualified. I’m also fairly certain that the movie Bad Moms was loosely based on my life somehow… But damn it if this isn’t one thing I got right. This is something we can all do. Something that takes no money which is good because my bank account is drier than day-old buffet chicken. We can try to raise good humans, and when we slip up, which we will because we are humans too, we will try again.