Good judgment comes from experience, and experience often comes from bad judgment.
Rita Mae Brown
One thing I learned the hard way was to be careful who you call “friend.” I was “abused” by a man (well, teen at the time) that I trusted. I went to his house to tell him about problems I was having; he got me drunk (yea, lovely judgment on my part) and took advantage of me.
Another: be careful about choosing a boyfriend. I went out casually with this guy when I dropped out of college. He wasn’t so casual – actually he was bipolar, which I didn’t understand until after the fact. His ups were incredible, but his lows – wow. He told me he loved me on the second or third date – that should have been a clue. He threatened to hurt himself any number of times, and he was incredibly dramatic. I almost found myself tied to him permanently, but I had a sudden “vision” of the two of us say 20 years down the road – me as a downtrodden housewife and him as a verbally and possibly physically abusive husband. I don’t know that he would ever have actually hurt me, but I decided I really didn’t want to find out. He had a horrible temper and he brought out a screaming rage in me (I didn’t even know I had it in me!) so…that was the end of that. Mind you, my parents, my friends, my friends’ mothers, … just about everyone who knew me advised me against him. I started going out with him purely out of boredom and boy did I pay for it in the end. I will say that I never, ever made THAT mistake again.
I wonder how many of my mistakes/consequences I should share with my children – and which ones. Goodness knows, I’ve made some big ones (bigger than the ones above – I cannot bring myself to put them here). I don’t want to encourage repeats of my behaviors as a “youth” but of course not telling children about things doesn’t mean they won’t discover them on their own. I am in a position to tell them about certain things, and about the possible serious consequences. I’m going to have to think about this carefully. Luckily, I’ve got a few years (my kids are 2 years old and 2 months old).
You know, as much as I want to protect my children, I realize that many of the lessons I’ve learned the hard way have really stuck with me. I will certainly try to guide my children in such a way that they don’t make major mistakes, but I already realize that everyone has some mistakes that they HAVE to make in order to grow up, to recognize cause and effect, and to see what true consequences are. It isn’t easy to think of my children making mistakes that can be large and/or painful, but I know that they will. And I know that it is necessary.
One thing I want to avoid is making them think that there is any mistake they could make that would change how I feel about them. My parents made me feel like there were mistakes that I could make that would get me disowned, kicked out. That certainly affected decisions I made and I don’t want to put my kids in a similar position. I will always love my children.
Well, this rambles more than I hoped for. Maybe I’ll clean it up later, maybe not. It certainly comes from the heart. Motherhood is certainly an adventure – and I’m just starting. I’ve really got to try not to get ahead of myself in terms of things to worry about.