Moms are human, too
Moms are great. Moms are a fountain of knowledge. We get a lot of our basic information about life and the world around us from our parents. We trust what they say and are woefully disappointed on the rare occasion they happened to be wrong.
Our parents do their best to equip us with everything we need to be responsible and functional adults. However, they know so much about life that they sometimes forget to fill us in some of the finer points. Sure, they make sure we understand the big stuff, but the itty bitty details sometimes are lost. Don’t blame them, it’s not their fault. There’s a lot to know and its not like anyone gives them a checklist.
So, in the interest of helping out everyone’s parents just a little bit, here are a few things that might have escaped their attention before you went out on your own.
That isn’t chicken in that nugget
Desperate parents do desperate things and sooner or later we’re all desperate parents. So, don’t judge that frazzled looking mom sitting in the drive-thru or picking up that blue box that claims to have cheese in with the tiny little macaroni pieces. Processed food exists for one reason only: to make the lives of parents easier. So no, there is no real chicken in the nuggets or cheese in the mac and that’s not really anything resembling meat on that frozen pizza. That’s okay, though. You survived. Your kids will survive, too. Just try to give them a home cooked meal every once in a while.
No one notices your underwear when you’re in an accident
It’s a necessary lie parents tell us when we’re little to make sure we’re actually wearing clean underwear. If you’ve had children, you understand the problem and have probably repeated the lie. The fact is, however, if you’re in an accident that is serious enough for someone to see your underpants, then underpants are the last thing anyone is worried about. I mean, you’ve lost your pants for any number of horrible reasons, you’re probably bleeding profusely, and you could possibly die. No one cares about your damn underwear. If you’re just going to the doctor for a checkup, though, then yeah, by all means, wear something clean or buy something new.
You don’t have to be nice to everyone
Parents do their best to raise friendly, well-adjusted people. Despite their best efforts, though, not everyone in the world is nice. When we encounter people who are not nice, we are not obligated to be nice back. Sure, we want to try a few times, give them the benefit of the doubt. But when someone is consistently an asshole you do not have to be nice. In fact, it is probably better for everyone if you are not nice. One of the primary reasons assholes continue being assholes is because people keep trying to be nice and they take advantage of that. You don’t have to put up with bullshit.
Beware of friends who never read
A little bit of fine tuning: there’s a difference between people who can’t read and people who don’t read. If you have a friend you can’t read, then they need help with that issue more than anything. If you have a friend who is perfectly capable of reading, though, and they don’t, then you have a problem. People who don’t read are ignorant. Their reasoning skills are underdeveloped and their logic is flawed. Even reading fiction improves one’s mental abilities and acumen. Reading not only broadens our mind, but it spurs our imagination so that we are able to expand beyond what is our direct realm of experience. You don’t need friends who are ignorant. They are dangerous. Be careful.
If it costs more than you make in a week, buy the extended warranty
It’s always that question lingering in the back of your mind anytime you’re making a major purchase: do you buy the extended warranty? The old saw is that if you buy the extended warranty you’ll never need it, but if you don’t buy it you’ll wish you had. So, what do you do? The solution is a matter of finances because the ultimate question is whether you can afford to easily replace whatever it is you’re buying. If you’re making a purchase for which you had to save and save, then by all means, buy the damn warranty. If something happens, you’re screwed. You can’t afford to get it fixed or buy a new one. If you’re making a purchase that represents pocket change, however, then maybe it’s not so important. The general rule is that if it costs more than you make it a week, buy the extended warranty. Better safe than sorry.
A good pet is worth the trouble
Some people grow up with pets and learn the responsibility of caring for one. Some don’t. Some go their lives without pets. Some have pets thrust upon thanks to a spouse or lover. Pets can be a lot of work and some of them can be an incredible amount of trouble. They poop where you don’t want them to poop. They eat things you don’t want them to eat. They knock things off tables and shelves and annoy the hell out of guests, especially if one of those guests starts nuzzling up close. Guess what: they’re worth every second of trouble they cause. Sometimes, all we remember are the number of times a parent cursed at or about an animal. What we don’t see are the moments when a pet was curled up in that same parent’s lap. They give soooo much love in little ways that, as children, we never see. Take a chance and feel the love.
It’s okay to be happy when mean people die
Our parents tell us to respect the dead, that people dying is not a good thing. We’re generally taught that we should not rejoice over the death of people we don’t like. Bullshit. As I’m writing this, officials in California are pretty much waiting for convicted murderer Charles Manson to die. When he does, there will be a lot of people who are happy. Not only are nine people dead because of Manson and his “family,” he left behind a wave of influence that was violent and frightening. Him being dead is a good thing that, quite honestly, should have happened a long time ago. Mean people such as Charles Manson don’t deserve our respect. He’s not dead yet, but when he goes feel free to throw a party.
It’s okay to pee in the shower
I know, I know, that flies in the face of everything your mom told you when you were growing up. You know why she told you that? Because it took for freakin’ ever to get you to go in the toilet in the first place. She’s damn sure not going to risk ruining that habit by telling you it’s okay to pee in the shower. Now that you’re an adult, though, you should know that not only is it okay, some people claim it’s actually healthier than peeing in the toilet. It’s cleaner, it’s more hygienic, and it even saves water to boot. There is a limit, though. Only do this when you’re showering alone. Not everyone thinks peeing in the shower is cool and if you’re in there with someone you like a lot you are probably putting that relationship in danger if you pee in front of them. When you’re alone, though, by all means, go for it.
Sex sometimes hurts
Granted, if your parents were anything like mine, sex wasn’t a topic that came up very often. They got through the birds and the bees thing with a certain amount of anxiety. The last thing most of our parents wanted to do, though, was provide any details about sex. They tell you it feels go and can be a lot of fun, but that’s about as detailed as they want to get. The problem is that sex doesn’t always feel good and it isn’t always fun. There are dozens of reasons why sex can hurt, most of which are not life-threatening or even controllable. Not every body provides enough natural lubrication. Stress can cause normal sexual activity to feel painful. It’s not your fault and most the time there are things you can do to change the situation. It happens, though, so be ready for it. Don’t run screaming to the Dr. just because you got into a tight (literally) situation you weren’t expecting.
Cursing is sometimes a very effective form of communication
“That’s an adult word. Don’t say it.” Did your parents ever tell you that? Did your mom ever wash out your mouth with soap? Most parents are very concerned with the language we use growing up. They want us to be respectable adults, not someone people shy away from because they can’t complete a sentence without an expletive or four. For the most part, your parents are right: don’t say those words. They’re rude and often demonstrate a lack of civility and reasoning. However, there are times when cursing is totally acceptable. If you smash a digit with a hammer or in a car door, for example, know one is going to fault you for letting a few fucks fly out of your mouth. If you need to dramatically emphasize to someone just how fucking serious or angry you are, an expletive here and there helps make your point. Most the time, yes, you want to be polite and use words that are not offensive. But every once in a while … go for it.
That’s our short list. We actually have several more things like this in my book, Now That You’re 18 … which you can buy by clicking on that link. If you live close, I’ll even autograph it for you. There are a lot of things parents either don’t have time or don’t think of telling us. It’s okay. We’ll make the same mistakes and probably add to the list. We’re human. Go with it.