Oops!!!! Skeletons out of your closet!

My kids love to play cricket at home. On one such Sunday morning one of them hit a ball on my bedroom dustbin and out came all the contents on my bedroom floor. Amongst the garbage were a few used sanitary napkins that were due for disposal. Both of them stood there motionless, speechless not knowing what to do and when I came rushing to the room I wished I could do the disappearing act. In another instance, I asked my son for some help to reach out for some stuff on the top shelf of my wardrobe. When he finally jumped and managed to pull it out, along with it came a used pregnancy test kit with the tablet showing ‘minus’. Ohhh!!!

And I don’t even want to mention the moment when I was clearing my closet and suddenly out of nowhere an old album containing some very adventurous photos of me and my husband when we were on our honeymoon decided to show up or the times when we forgot to lock our bedroom door.

All these episodes left me feeling so embarrassed in front of my kids. Although this is pure assumption but I somehow felt that my kids had started looking at us in a different way. There would be awkward silence for some time before either of us would speak and I had to try my best to camouflage what I was actually thinking. It kept bothering me for quite some time before I made up my mind to speak to a counsellor friend casually because somewhere I knew that with boys around there would be more such awkward moments and I had to know what was the best stance to take.

The first thing the counsellor remarked was ‘why is it bothering you so much?’

After some deliberation I was able to surface my real fear. Parents have to be almost perfect role models in front of their kids and with loopholes like these they face the risk of being termed slack (in morality). What if my kids felt the same about us? What if they were thinking that ‘our parents were supposed to be careful and behave’ What if they had begun disliking us for knowing that part of us that was best unknown?’

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My friend nodded and brought to my notice that my fears were a result of the negativity I was attaching to life’s most simple, natural and common occurrences. Menstruation is taboo. Sex is taboo. Out of the blue pregnancy after sex is taboo and so is PDA.(public display of affection) And this unfortunately has been the lacing of our society where we are conditioned to feel awkward or embarrassed with anything connected to love whereas we can blatantly portray our dislike or hatred towards others. She went on to add that the discomfort was probably in my mind first and with my reaction I had passed it on to my boys. Indirectly I was whispering to them that what they saw was bad and improper. How was it improper? She asked. ‘Were you doing something illegal? Or was it something that you were not supposed to do. It was a different thing that you thought that it was not supposed to come out in the open but were you really not supposed to do it? You get your periods like all women do and they all use sanitary napkins. Seeing you and your husband happy together only proves that you both are one hell of a couple and they have a secured family. I would be more worried if they saw you fighting more often!’ she joked. That having being said and sorted internally, we moved on to the practical ways to handle similar situations on an external level. This was crucial because according to many psychologists it is this attitude of resistance and denial to talk frankly to their kids about these realities of life that pushes kids towards other sources and become victims of misinformation & faulty outlook.

So next time something unwanted decided to pop up, I had to relax and treat the secret like just another common thing. Yes, the important thing to keep in mind was that I had to show I was in charge of the situation and I was ok with it. I had to just ask for the ‘secret stuff’ to be handed back to me sternly or in the case of the dustbin I had to quickly clear the mess and get done with it. But I had to clearly let my kids know that what they had just seen was not something banned and was a part of life.

After bailing out everyone from the awkward moment, I had to patiently ask them if they had any questions or if they wanted to talk or to me or to their dad about something. A friendly, casual and relaxed disposition would be perfect to encourage them to open up.

And finally wrapping it up with a word on moral coding. About what was appropriate and what was not and mentioning that what they saw unfortunately was something very personal and they ought to respect that space in themselves as we all in others.

I felt relieved after having that conversation and although I would make sure I was a little more careful in future with the storage, disposal of my stuff and of course the locks, but should a situation like that did arise I now knew what had to be done. Phew!!

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