A lot of us look back on the advice we were given by our mothers – at first dismissed – and realize that they were right. Roxanne Jones is no exception. Read more from Roxanne on her blog, Boomer Haiku.
I did not have a “Leave It to Beaver” upbringing. For starters, I was born out of wedlock – illegitimate, as they so elegantly put it in the fifties. Back then, “nice” girls didn’t get laid – much less pregnant – outside of marriage.
Mom endured a lot of judgment to bring me into this world, and she carried a lot of shame throughout her life as a result – something that colored many of her choices, particularly when it came to relationships.
For example, when I was five, she married for the first time to a man who adopted me, becoming my legal father. Years later, she told me the primary reasons she married him were to get out of her parents’ house and put a father’s name on my birth certificate before I started school.
They divorced after a year and she married again, this time to a man who physically abused her. She left him numerous times, once when she was pregnant, but went back one more time after my baby sister was born. After their last fight, when she jumped off a second-story balcony to get away from him, we finally left for good. I was 14 and my sister was three.
Mom never remarried, but she did date – and even got pregnant again when I was a sophomore in high school. That baby, a boy, was stillborn.
As a result of her experience, Mom was more of a realist than most of my friends’ parents when it came to counseling me about dating and sex when I was a teenager.
Sure, she hoped I’d remain a virgin until I was married. But she made it clear that if or when I decided to forego that ideal, I should see her gynecologist and get on the pill which, thankfully, was an option when I came of age in the seventies. I was not to follow in her footsteps and start a family without a husband.
Plus, should I consider succumbing to some horny guy’s entreaties to go all the way, she offered this pearl:
Mom’s dating advice:
A stiff prick has no conscience.
Her take on scared straight.
Another piece of advice she gave was, “Do as I say, not as I do.” As a teen, I bristled at what I saw as the hypocrisy of that. But in hindsight, I think mom had it right.
And I’m glad I listened.
So, what advice did you get from your mother about dating, relationships or life in general?