The Adult Art Of Parentproofing

Illustration for article titled The Adult Art Of Parentproofing

My mother visited from Wisconsin this weekend, and before she arrived, I had to perform a now-familiar sweep of my place to assure that by the time she left, she wasn't convinced that her adult daughter was a deviant.


It may be the inexorable Catholic Guilt (TM) talking here, but whenever my parents are around, I feel like I need to pretend that I'm a lot better behaved than I actually am. I went into full-on giggle giggle I'm a virgin mode about my romantic situation, pretended to be shocked by the smell of marijuana on the Blue Line heading downtown, hid my mail and birth control and hookery-looking red patent leather heels. I mopped my floors with so much Murphy's Oil Soap that when my mom came in, she remarked that it smelled like my "get it clean come hell or high water" grandmother had stopped in first. I fucking dusted. I desperately scrambled to present the face of the adult that I think they want me to be, even at 27.

My parents aren't stupid. I'm pretty sure they know that I'm not an innocent braceface 15 year old kid anymore, and I'm not sure if my bending over backwards charade feels insulting or reassuring. I'm not sure why I bother to do it anymore and I know can be a good adult host for my parents without pretending to be someone that I'm not. I'm not trying to be deceptive to my mother; I just want my parents to be reassured that I'm okay, and I worry that if they knew that I don't always do my dishes and that I have myself some sex sometimes and that I have dabbled in pot smokery, they'd freak out and move to the adjacent unit in my building while they waited for their wayward daughter to straighten out her life. I don't want to lie to them, but I want them to worry about me even less.

What about you, commenters? Do you feel the need to pretend to be well-behaved when your parents come to town? Or have you given up?



I once asked to borrow some socks from my mom on a recent visit home. She told me to help myself, but what did I find in her dresser? Two bathrobes (one leopard print and the other blue with the Presidential Seal ) and vibrators and lube. "Parent-proofing": goes both ways, doesn't it?!