Nothing says Happy Spring like a column about condoms!

Happy Spring, Happy Easter, Happy Holiday of your choice! In honor of Spring, the season of new life, and in order to spend the day with my family, I am posting an encore presentation of part of one of my all time favorite blogs! I had just signed on with BlogHer and had to let them know which ads I was willing to allow on my page! My number one choice for ads to run alongside my blog was contraceptives.

Why, do you say, would a mother of 4+ children want to advertise contraceptives on her page? Well other than the obvious (I gave birth four times in eight years) maybe it is time I confess one of my secret identities. That’s right, the teenagers all know but many of you don’t. I am THE CONDOM MOM.

For those of you who judged my personal life after seeing me buy boxes of condoms on sale at the drug store, now you know the truth. Believe me, it was not all fun and games. Standing in front of a condom display and choosing between “his pleasure” and “her pleasure” or regular size and Magnum Super Size for condoms that very well may be used by one’s own teenage children is uncomfortable to say the very least! However, this has been a calling of sorts for me. I have been providing condoms to teenagers since 1998. That’s right, for 14 years, since my oldest child was a freshman in high school; I have been purchasing and making available condoms of all varieties!

Of course, my free condoms come with lectures and lessons on self respect and commitment.  There is always a catch isn’t there. They also came with the knowledge that there was at least one adult in your life that you could come to with questions, any questions, who would not judge you, ever!

I had assumed that at some point, in all these years, at least one parent would come to me and say “what the hell are you doing?” None have so far. None have yet to say thank you either. If they only knew, I’m sure some of them might have. I always hoped if there was something one of my kids couldn’t talk to me about that another parent would be there for them. It does, after all, take a village sometimes.

There have been lots of funny stories connected with this calling of mine. My favorite story was when my youngest daughter was about nine or ten. She had a couple other little girls over for a sleep over. The next morning I went in the upstairs bathroom and found that not only was the floor very slippery but the trash was full of unwrapped condoms. Knowing none of the older children had been home that night I went into my daughter’s room to cautiously ask what they had been up to. It seems they weren’t exactly sure what the condoms were really supposed to be used for but they did discover that if you slipped them over your feet you could slide all over the bathroom!

There has been more than one teenager my children brought to the house for the first time who was stunned into silence upon discovering that the kids could talk openly with me and that there were free condoms in a jar in the upstairs bathroom. There were also those awkward conversations had with young people whose parents had not even prepared them in the smallest way for the world they were living in. But we all got through it and grew closer because of it. I hope that some of them went on to make at least a few choices that were better than those they made before.

I remember one young man who came to my house. He was 18 years old. His mother had found condoms in his room and she had TAKEN THEM AWAY FROM HIM. She had told him that her religion was strictly against him having sex until he was married and that from now on he WAS NO LONGER ALLOWED TO HAVE SEX. Now really, really, how effective does anyone really think that was? I do not mean to disrespect anyone’s personal religious beliefs however, when those beliefs conflict with reality there is a time when one must say “WHAT THE HELL IS THE MATTER WITH YOU?” Her son was being responsible. He had educated himself and was protecting himself and his future. How about saying something like “these are our family’s religious beliefs however, if you find yourself in a situation, or chose to follow beliefs of your own this is how you protect your health, your future, and the future of the person you are with.” Or maybe, “wow son, I am very proud of you for taking care of yourself.”

No matter what you believe, no matter what your child decides to do, do you want him/her to risk their very life because you would not “allow” him to purchase condoms? That’s right Mom & Dad. Things are different than they were in our day. Nowadays, lives can change in ways that a simple prescription of antibiotics will not cure. If you believe your child would be making a mistake by having sex at his or her age, is it a mistake worth them dying over?

Maybe some of this is personal. I was a mom at 19 years old. I do not regret that. It was and still is the greatest thing I have ever done! However, I would have been a better mom if I had waited until I got older. I would have been a better mom if I had gone to college first, instead of after, in order to better provide for my children. Not admitting that is irresponsible and not warning my children of that would be irresponsible too. I have always told them, you can change any decision you make in your life except one. You can change your school, where you live, your partner, or your career. However, once you bring another human being into the world, you can’t change that! You will love this little person so much, so incredibly much, that you will want the best of everything for them. You will want them to have the very best parents in the world. So before you do that, before you make that decision, make sure you are ready to be the very best parent in the world.

Life happens and there are so many things in our lives that are beyond our control. The choice, however, to create life or not, is in your hands. The choice to create a life for yourself, the choice to create a life for the person you love, and the choice to make a life together is yours. It is a blessing to make a life and it is a blessing to have the choice not to make another life. Our fore-mothers fought long and hard for you to have those choices. Take it seriously. Go out and make a life for yourselves.

In the meantime, if you need condoms they are on the second shelf in the linen closet in the hallway.

 

 

Karen Foley

About Karen Foley

Karen Foley, has successfully been writing her blog for the BDN since May 2011. By successful, she means a few people read it, and she has not been sued, stalked or fired since starting it.