Parenting: You’re Doing it Wrong

I wrote this as a very long reply to a post on someone else’s blog, but it’s important enough that I wanted to give it some more prominence here where my faithful readers, all three of you, can see and comment on it.

I have several “recovering crossdresser” friends — see the links at the right — and we have had discussions about whether crossdressing in and of itself is harmful. I contend that the simple act of wearing clothes meant for someone of the opposite sex is not harmful in an way, but like any other hobby it can get out of hand when it interferes with your relationship with God, your relationship with your family, your job, your finances, etc.  Read on to see the hard lesson I had to learn about not letting the crossdressing take over my life.

Between having an understanding (if not overly enthusiastic) wife and an employer who lets me work from home, I get to stay dressed, albeit behind closed curtains indoors, just about 24×7.  I only throw on my “man clothes” when I have to go to church or the store in town.  Also, at my wife’s request, whenever the children are over visiting even though they know about my odd clothing choices.  And for my own safety, any time ANYONE else is over visiting.

So anyway, I relish spending every moment in my favorite dress or skirt.  But as I mentioned, my wife has always requested that I don’t dress in front of the children.  Since this is her one and only restriction, I have faithfully abided by that request for over 20 years.

When the children were small, they stayed in the house nearly all day every day with us — first because they were too young for school, and later because we decided to homeschool them.  They rarely ventured into our bedroom, though, where I had my office so I was still able to stay dressed most of the time while I worked.  I had a good feel for their habits, and took advantage of times I knew they were asleep or out playing to go out into the kitchen to get a meal, or watch TV, when I knew I had the house to myself.

What does this have to do with the topic I started at the beginning of this long story?  Two things, which 20 years later I still kick myself over:
1) A few times, my son surprised my by wandering out of his room when he was supposed to be sleeping or doing schoolwork.  In my embarrassment I blew up at him, screaming like he had just committed murder.  I literally weep when I replay those scenes in my mind.  
2) Although I did try to set aside time on the weekends to play with my children or watch them play in team sports, more often than not I found excuses not to… because doing so meant having to put on my jeans and t-shirt.  I was so caught up in the pleasure of wearing my favorite clothes that I let it take priority over time I should have spent with my children.

We will have an entire lifetime to dress as we please in privacy.  The time we have to share with our children before the leave home is extremely limited, and when it’s gone it will be gone forever.

My children, now in their 20s, have a fairly good relationship with me.  My son has gotten over the understandable hatred and resentment he felt in his teens and is now quite sociable and shares his life with me — you can bet I drop EVERYTHING whenever he wants to talk or come visit!  My daughter still lives in a shell, all too accurately imitating my hermit lifestyle.  I wish I could help her improve her social life, but that would fall under “do as I say, not as I do.”

Look upon my parenting failures with  horror and learn from my mistakes, ye men who still have children at home with you.

About Ralph

Male. Straight. Married.
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3 Responses to Parenting: You’re Doing it Wrong

  1. BroadBlogs says:

    That’s a really thoughtful post. Yeah, dressing as the opposite sex doesn’t really matter in itself. And in some cultures it has been common for men to wear dresses and skirts. The problem is more how you treat others, especially those you love. And clearly, a person can both cross-dress and treat people well.

  2. Vivienne says:

    Hi Ralph,

    Many thanks for having the courage to post this heart-rending and powerful post. You can be assured I have taken its message completely to heart.


  3. Sorry it took so long for me to get over here Ralph. I noticed you only have two comments, so I thought I better make it an even three. I hope others with kids take heart and don’t let “hobbies” get in the way of family time.
    ps, nicely self plagiarized…;)

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