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My Mom’s Dating Advice

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.

My Mom's Dating Advice

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?

Roxanne Jones

Roxanne Jones blogs at Boomer Haiku, a mostly light-hearted, often irreverent look at life as a baby boomer, 17 syllables at a time. When she’s not tapping out haikus, she’s a freelance medical copywriter, enjoys chardonnay and contemplates plastic surgery to get rid of the wattle on her neck.

Roxanne

Sunday 10th of May 2015

Thank YOU for taking the time to comment. Despite Mom's candor about sex, I don't think I got the best relationship advice, either -- which is probably why I didn't get married until I was in my forties!

Dr. Margaret Rutherford

Sunday 10th of May 2015

Great post Roxanne. I have heard that piece of advice, sadly enough, not from my mother. Her bad advice was, "never leave a door completely closed". What I took that to mean was always keep a guy guessing about who you were and what you were really about. I unfortunately followed it for a while. I think I would have preferred your advice, although I can see how it came across to you!!! Thanks so much.

Roxanne

Wednesday 6th of May 2015

Thank you, Elizabeth. Yes, Mom did her best...I see that most clearly from the vantage point of midlife. I appreciate your comment so much.

Elizabeth Havey

Wednesday 6th of May 2015

Amazing post, so honest and uplifting--because you understood your mother and are honoring her for the stand she had to take. I love that she wanted you to protect yourself and that she didn't try to hide her experience and give you some fairytale advice. Thanks for this.

pia

Wednesday 6th of May 2015

Beautiful story. My mother wasn't big on advice. She said "you know best" when I was 11 but I finally realized she was guiding me constantly! And letting me father do the criticism.

Roxanne

Wednesday 6th of May 2015

Sometimes we don't fully realize just how much mothering our mothers did until we're much older, right? Thank you for taking the time to comment, Pia.

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