Back during the last big recession, about 20 years ago, I briefly waitressed in an establishment where scantily-clad ladies took the stage to perform acrobatics for a mostly-male audience. The stint didn’t last long, and I kept my own clothes on the entire time, but it was a definite life-changer.
Why do I mention it? Because a co-worker and I were talking lately about what we would or wouldn’t tell our kids about our crazy, messy youths, and it occurred to me that, despite the fact that I learned so much about myself and my beliefs during that time—i.e., stay in school so, during a recession, you have the luxury of fully-clothed coworkers—I will never, ever, ever, tell my kid about any of it. (And neither will you. Shhh! I’m sharing in confidence, here. Besides, you don’t want to make a toddler cry.)
My parents were like that: Don’t ask, don’t tell. And now that I’m a parent, I think I swing the same way. Underage drinking? Never happened. Dating? I held hands. That trip to Montreal? I don’t know what you’re talking about. The last thing I want is my kid getting any ideas. And believe me, there would be plenty to get, despite my current persona as a placid suburban mom. I mean, if you met me, you’d never guess. And that’s the way I like it: I want my youthful indiscretions to stay in my youth.
My co-worker, on the other hand, felt the opposite about it all: She says she’ll share her misadventures, so her kids can learn from her mistakes. So that made me wonder what all the other moms out there are doing (and hiding). Who is a Teller and who is a Hider? Do worse mistakes make for less sharing? C'mon, spill it: You're among friends.