Sometimes, there are lots of opinions flying about our break

room at work. The ones that when we were growing up, we

were taught to not bring up in social settings, seem to

catch my attention more. You know, like you are spying or

catching a glimpse of someone, sometimes a side you would

not expect.

At home, those who have read a few of my past articles or

posts, you may remember my parents were very open-minded.

We, essentially, at the dinner table talked about all kinds

of things considered, ‘inappropriate.’ My Mom’s high school

students had prepared her, from the fifties through the

eighties, to handle those three subjects one could think about

but, never, ever bring up. We had “guess who’s coming to dinner,”

literally including students from her school, my brothers and my

friends and neighbors, too.

I tended to ‘echo’ this pattern, while a single mother, raising

my three children. We had guests often, we did not limit our

conversation subject matter, (unless someone got ‘squeamish’ or

asked that the subject be ‘squashed.’)

Both my parents helped to make me a more relatable parent. This

meant I did the same thing, let the children have their ‘voice’

and forget about that old, antiquated philosophy,

“Children should be seen and not heard.”

In our country, when you start talking about the three subjects

most consider ‘touchy,’ the general population list: sex,

politics and religion.

I heard it expressed many times before at friends’ and my

ex-husband’s, “We don’t talk about those subjects in ‘mixed

company.'” One of my best girlfriends, who had a mother who

resembled, Donna Reed, wore an actual full, ruffly apron while

she prepared dinner. One time while I was helping set the

table, my friend’s brother started to talk about what was

called, “Sex Ed.” We were in middle school and he was in high

school. Susan’s mother said,

“Jeff, we don’t talk about those things at home! It is not


(Wow! Wonder what that did to his sexual performance, later

in life? Thinking the subject matter was not only ‘taboo’

from discussion but it was, “not nice!”)

I also have heard the familiar expression, “Who opened this

can of worms?”

I was thinking today, of a light hearted post, where people

from around the world, would respond with their ‘off limit’

subjects and also, what it is called when you wander into a

controversial subject. There must be a wide variety of ways

that this is expressed!

I hope that posing this open-ended response won’t start


Just wondered, what did your family consider too personal to

talk about?

What does that mean: ‘in mixed company?’

Was that to refer to men could talk about certain things,

which women’s ‘pretty little minds needn’t worry about?’

I think my Grandma once told me,

“That’s not lady-like to say, Robin.”

Laughing my way through, what some people call, ‘hump day!’


28 responses »

    • I can imagine some parents would be tough to talk to, with some kind of barriers and filters attached. Thanks for letting me know this about films, friends, and t.v. filling in your blanks on things!! Smiles, Robin

  1. Excellent and important post, thank you, Robin. To be silent is “safer and easier” than to openly said to daughter about “delicate” birth control pills theme and what abortion is. To hide under table of “lady like” false manners means your little girl will be informed from another source. Who is responsible for 15 y.o. mothers and their babies? “Lady like” parents in mostly cases.

    • Thanks for this excellent report about what can happen when conversation and honesty are not valued at home! This was a really good comment, Glorialana!! Hugs and kisses, Robin

  2. politics i will skip, but religion and sex … are fine, my taboos are more like football, beer, monster trucks, NASCAR, etc etc LOL Actually, I used to pride myself on being open to talk about almost anything at all, and I tried to pass that on to my daughters once they were of an appropriate age ,much to my ex’s disapproval

    • Michael, I think you seem like an ‘upfront’ and honest kind of guy. I would trust you with informing your daughters of things that needed to be imparted. Being open is a good way to go! Now, for the subjects that are making me snicker and chuckle… hmmm! I like football, not so much beer, am not into monster trucks but my grandsons love them and the car racing has no place in my interest, unless someone offers to take me… I will watch almost anything in person! Smiles, Robin (Maybe it is the junk food offered at these events!)

  3. Robin, you always write such interesting posts and your style of writing flows so serenely. I hope that you are keeping then as a collection for a memoir. They are delightful. 🙂

  4. “seen and not heard” was my Dad’s favorite phrase. And he meant it.
    My Grandparents raised me, and let’s just say she went shopping using a horse drawn wagon. True story.
    I’m much more relaxed around my children. I was thrown out in the world very ,very naiive.
    Great post.

    • Oh, that is too bad, Teela! I feel bad about the being thrown out in the world being very, very naïve. I now understand a little bit more about your life. I was not naïve but I had high expectations and the ‘bar’ was high with my parents. They made marriage and partnership ‘look easy.’ I would hear promises and not get the returns that I expected from my giving my marriages my ‘all.’ So sorry about your Dad and although your grandparents were old-fashioned, I hope they showed you love! You deserve lots of love, Teela! Hugs, Robin

      • Thank you Robin.
        My Grandparents were an unending fountain of love.
        I miss them very much but they are always in my heart.
        Hugs right back.

      • I cherish your thoughts of your Grandparents being an unending fountain of love. This would make an excellent post. I will have to check to see if you have shared this before. Thanks, Teela! I am honored for your hugs and thoughts. I hope that you have little memories that soothe the yearning for them. Until you meet again… Smiles, Robin

  5. I love this, Robin! Although my mother didn’t wear a ruffly Donna Reed apron, she was a minister’s daughter, so we never talked about sex when I was growing up. Everything I learned, I learned in “Sex Ed”…pretty scary, huh? 🙂 Happy Hump Day!

    • Thanks, Jill! I think this fills in some more background on you. This helps me to know you better, which since we are friends, I really want to pay attention to the details! My Mom, interestingly enough, gave me about five different aprons over the years. She thinks I am a cook! She was a hard working high school teacher, who between pot pies, t.v. dinners and going out to eat, it was a really rare treat if we ate something “homemade” around our house, growing up! Smiles, Robin

  6. I’m one of six children raised by my mum, eventually joined by our step dad. No subject was taboo so long as it elicited a laugh…:-) in other words, the only thing taboo was a complaint. Our opinions were not given serious weight until we left home. A ghost of “seen and not heard” remained. I found that profoundly frustrating. In my own home, no subject is taboo apart from anything medical…hubby has no stomach for gore. But religion? Politics? Sex? No problem.

      • I was running out of time last night… I think that it is interesting how they would listen if it wasn’t a complaint but that your opinions weren’t given much credence. That is sad, in that part. I meant when I said ‘your’ home’ and mine, as adults… we have the common need to allow our children a voice and we share our thoughts. Good ideas and practices. Thanks again! Smiles, Robin

  7. I am from Mexico so you can imagine my family did not talk about sex, they still can’t lol.

    I think I will be like you if I have kids, now days is so different, they know more than us with television and computer.
    good post.

    • You are so special to share your hopes as a future parent, Doris. Also, your childhood not including talks about relationships (sex). Doris, you are so right, t.v. and computers do have a lot of information, but I felt by telling my girls, especially my private thoughts and how I got so attached to the ‘first’ man that this helped them to wait until they were older. I told them I made it to age 19 and still hurt when it didn’t work out. So, they both heard the ’19’ and waited until then. At least they made it out of high school! Thanks for the compliment, too! Take care, off to read some posts… hope I can catch up on Saturday if not tonight! Smiles and hugs, Robin

  8. I think, Robin, like you? I was super fortunate to have a family that really didn’t consider anything taboo at the dinner table. I followed that tradition, and really, nothing was off limits with the boys and me. I got cool points with their friends, too, in that they would come over for supper and spill their guts, which was probably TMI, but they felt better for it, as did I, because, apparently, I’d reached that whole “cool parent” status that I had wanted to achieve, even when I was a teenager.

    They way I see it, looking back, is if they couldn’t talk to their parents, at least there was ONE adult that would hear them out in a judgement free zone. 🙂

    • I love these comments, Julie! You have a great outlook, especially how you provided a good set of listening ears to your own sons, then allowing their friends to spill their guts, too! I was always open and gave honest answers when asked, but liked to help them make their own decisions. I guess we were just plain lucky that our parents treated us, ultimately like we had minds and our own ‘voices.’ Thanks so much for this addition to my post! You seem really ‘cool’ to me! I wasn’t cool, until I got past high school. I was a busy ‘nerd’ in h.s.! Smiles, Robin

    • I thank you for telling us this. I am always happy to hear Dads who listen and are willing to have an open mind! You are a great guy, can tell that from the way you write and ‘talk’ to us… Smiles, Robn

  9. i was the same with my daughters and now with my sons in law. sometimes we horrify them, but they deal with it and have grown used to it and are not shocked by too much anymore )

    • I love the way you say this, Beth! Ha ha! I have shocked a few adults in my ‘day’ but my kids’ partners must have gotten the ‘head’s up’ before they met me! Not once did they act shocked! (Admitting that I wished I could have gotten them shook up a little bit! Darn!) Smiles, Robin

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