Growing up, I was never taught anything about sex, tampons, or how to be a grown-up. My mother never sat me down to have “the talk” about sex. Instead, she whispered in my ear, telling me to hold onto my virginity until marriage.
I accepted that and decided to agree with her — but I never questioned why or how sex worked.
When I first got my period, I declined learning how to use a tampon, so she stopped pushing me. I had a feeling that inserting a tampon into my vagina would hurt like hell so I didn’t do it. Therefore, I knew nothing about this device.
I was so terrified to be a grown-up, I allowed my mother and father to do critical “life stuff” for me: banking, car problems, handling my student loans, and anything else that left me puzzled.
My father and mother’s parenting styles were so different. My father took more of an off-hands approach, while my mother always needed to know the tiniest details, like where I was, who I was with, what time I left, and what time I was coming home. Even when I reached my 20’s, she still needed to know this supposedly imperative information.
At 25, I had to have a talk with my parents explaining that I was a grown-up and could make decisions on my own but they weren’t convinced and told me I was still very immature. I partially blame them because they kept my brothers and I in a bubble.
I love my overprotective mother and wanted to be close with her but I didn’t understand her desire to know every little detail that went on in my life. I told her the most important aspects and left out the ones she may not have approved of.
For instance, she had no clue I signed up for online dating, tried weed and lost my virginity because I viewed them as private. Why would I need to divulge that stuff to her — hell, to divulge it to anyone, for that matter?
Now that I’m an adult, I’ve had a hard time blossoming into a legitimate “grown-up” because my parents always did everything for me.
Instead of saying, “No, you need to do this on your own,” they just did things for me. I didn’t have my opinions because I always listened to them before myself.
When I moved 800+ miles away with my boyfriend, I had a panic attack. The first few weeks living on my own were pure hell. I felt so lost without family or friends circling around me.
I’ve never been one to rely on just me, so I often sought attention from my boyfriend and had a tantrum when he wouldn’t give it to me. I was so used to getting my way that I began having tantrums, until he had enough and told me to stop.
I had to learn how to pay bills and care not just for myself but my boyfriend and dog as well. I purposely chose NOT to call my parents if I had to make a huge decision. At first, it made me feel uneasy because my parents were always there to tell me what to do but little by little I made decisions on my own — and it felt great!
Being an adult is scary — but it had to happen and from the experience, I learned I’m a lot stronger than I thought I was.
In retrospect, I wish my parents hadn’t coddled me when I was feeling sad or freaking out because even now, I look for my boyfriend to do the same. He’s told me, “I’m not babying you, Hope.”
Instead of coddling me, I wish they would’ve comforted me, but allowed me to take care of the situation on my own. I never learned anything from the way my parents coddled me.
Sure, my parents love me unconditionally and would do anything for me but they were afraid of us growing up too quickly — but it scarred us in the long run. We’re still a bit immature.
So to all those protective mothers out there: be careful how much you coddle your children. In the end, it hurts more than it helps.