It's not Personal, I just don't want to hang out with you.

This is going to sound awful. The thing it, it is not personal, I just don’t want to hang out with you. I really don’t like people. I mean, I like them well enough.  I love working with people, I love my career.  I love being a Mom, a wife, and  a friend. I love giving to others. It’s just, I am an introvert and an extrovert.  I fall right on the line, in between the two on all of those personality scales they make you take in school.  So, the thing is, that after spending the day with people, giving presence and support, at night, I don’t necessarily want to hang out. Most evenings, I just want to sit home, give time to my kids and husband, veg, play on facebook, read, do lone tasks that allow me to nurture my introvert side.

Occasionally, it makes me feel like a bad friend.  At times, I have had people get mad at me because they don’t feel like I am present enough for them.  They deserve that. Everyone deserves friends that are involved and available. You deserve someone that can be fully present, that can listen to your concerns. You deserve a friend that will spend hours with you on the phone. You deserve someone that can really help you problem solve. The thing is, I am not necessarily the person that will be able to meet those expectations. If I have worked all day, or had a particularly hard week, I can’t be that emotional support for you. I can’t hang out and listen to your problems. I can’t encourage you, or be your cheerleader.  I can’t because I am having to focus that energy on being present for myself…I have used all my energy for that day.  I can’t choose you over me. Please know though, it is not really about you, it is my need to recharge and revive. I care deeply about you.  I am setting boundaries with you, so that I can care for me. It is hard for me to set these boundaries, it is hard for me to say  “No.” However, I have learned that sometimes, in the line of work I have chosen, I have to go inward. I have to check out. I have to be self centered. I have to self care, or ultimately, I can not do what I do.

Please know, that if I can, I will give. If I can do it without draining myself, I will.  When we do hang out though, I want to be fully present. I want t both enjoy you and be enjoyable.  I want to listen, laugh, and spend time with the people I care about in ways that are meaningful. I want to actually be there for you. So if that means that to be present, I have to hang out less, and exchange quality for quantity, I am willing to do so. Just know, if I say no, I can’t hang out, it’s not personal. I am just keeping a promise to myself to self care.  My hope will be that you will do the same.  I will expect you to not want to hang out, need to self care and I will appreciate the time we have. I will not take it personal.

Love and Healing,

Laura

Like my blog? Follow me on  facebook.

Talking About Sex with Your Kids

So a few weekends ago, my friend and I took  the kids to the Museum of Science and Industry. Now, I am all about educating children about their body parts, so I was super excited about the human body exhibit.  Seeing teen parents first hand, I am all about having your children know what sex is, long before they are contemplating having it. I was a sexual abuse counselor for a lot of years, so it is important to me that my kids know the proper name of genitalia.I know education is one of the best ways to help prevent sexual abuse. Give kids the proper name…a penis is not a ding dong, a weiner, a one eyed snake, it is a penis…empower your kids, give them the tools to be able to tell if someone touches them inappropriately. The best age to teach kids the name of their sex organs is the same time you teach them the name of their head, shoulders, knees and toes….make a couple of extra stops and teach breast, buttocks, penis, vulva and vagina.

The museum had a whole display on the developing fetus (awesome!)…the questions of how does the baby get in there were answered and discussed when I was pregnant with my second. We read the books when he was four and five about how the sperm and the ovum come together, and a baby is conceived. At age six, my son asked me a burning question “How does the sperm get in there Mom?”   My son “really needed to know”, like it was this universal puzzle and he just could not figure it out. So, true to form and in alignment with my belief that knowledge is power,  we had the sex conversation at six. He was informed that each child develops at their own pace, and that it is not his job to educate his peers, their parents needed to this. Amazingly, he followed this request.

The next display at the museum was on the developing body. Since I have boys, and one is nine, puberty is not far off,  we focused on the male body…how the scrotum drops, the penis extends, they get hair under their pits and in their pelvic area. I am standing there thinking “okay this is good…a natural way to bring up the conversation, I want him to be prepared.”  (This is that part of the story, where you feel like a good parent….) A girl came by, all the boys ran in a circle away from the video, and then came running back to gather the needed education. In proud Momma form, I stood by to answer questions, but allowed them to discover.

As my son and his friend ran ahead, while I helped my younger one with another exhibit,  I could see them watching a video. I sat down just in time to catch the tail end of the show. Thank goodness, I did. It gave me just enough to to gather my wits.

Now, I thought I was prepared. I thought okay, sex conversations are just touch ups from here on out.  He has the basics, so around age twelve, we can start having he conversations about condoms and birth control. However, I was not quite prepared for this trip to the museum. You see, my kids learned more science than industry. The barrage of questions started:

  • Mom, what is an STD? A sexually transmitted disease.

  • How can you get them? by having sex.

  • Does everyone get them? not everyone, but everyone can get them.

  • Can you get rid of them? some you can, others you cant. There are different levels. Explained the levels and types.

  • Do they hurt? some do. Some you don’t know you have.

  • Can they kill you? some can.

  • What is the best way to not get them? by not having sex, but you can prevent them by taking care of your body, and making sure you and your mate are clean when you decide to mate

  • Do You have an STD? (WHAT In The WORLD!) Well my love, that is a question you ask your mate, and since you and I are not going to mate, that is not a question you need the answer too. 

For days the questions came, just as they had when he first learned about sex, and he “had to know, how does the sperm get in there.”  I answered each question, just as I had then, in a honest, matter of fact tone…the boring tone that gave facts, not judgement. I answered the questions because he asked, and if kids ask, they are ready for the answers.  Too often, as parents, we think we know when the right time will be, but with sex talk, it is about letting your child take the lead. Allow the conversations to come up, answer honestly right from the start. Sex is a natural part of life, and when you treat it as such, your kids feel safe.  It is hard to have these conversations, it is.  I just believe, that if they can have these conversations with you, then they can have them with their future partner/s and not be embarrassed.

At the end of the week, my son said to me “Mom, you know, I think I am going to wait until I am thirty to have sex, it is just too dangerous.”  With my Momma pride about to burst, I thought:  I hope you make safe choices son,  I hope you do.

Love and Healing,

Laura

For more information on educating your kids about sex:

All About Kids Health

Mayo Clinic/Sex Ed

RAINN/Protecting Your child from Sexual Assault