My husband and I screwed up so badly last weekend that we didn’t even try to blame each other. Imagine that, a giant screw up in which neither spouse points the finger at the other. Yep, that’s how obviously awful it was.

You know how the scary movie always begins with a scene so idyllic it seems cliched? The young, happy couple heading out on that perfect picnic at an empty park, or the adorable, young family embarking on a beautiful hike in remote hill country. The audience knows what they don’t, that the crazy clown serial killer or mutant hill people are just off camera, waiting to wreak havoc and destroy innocence.

the innocent beginning of the sleepover

the innocent beginning of the sleepover

That is how my 11 year old son and his 10 year old best friend came to watch the movie Deadpool. With my permission. Under my roof.

Allow me to set the cliched opening scene. Two boys, friends since the day they were born (because their parents are the best of friends) spend the afternoon riding in Dad’s cool pick up truck, then ice skating, then romping around their huge yard, throwing tennis balls to the playful golden retriever. Mom and Dad grill hamburgers and hot dogs and make brownies — all the boys’ favorite foods. There is much laughter and sugar consumption as the 10 and 11 year old discuss which movie they will watch after dinner. Mom and Dad are in a particularly jovial mood because their daughter is away at Girl Scout camp and the boys are entertaining each other. Mom and Dad discuss which movie they might watch while the boys enjoy theirs.

“Deadpool! Deadpool! Deadpool! Deadpool!” When I walk into the living room, the two of them are chanting, pumping their arms, their eyes dancing. I look at the TV screen and see what looks like a super hero wearing a mask.

And this is when I made the world’s worst parenting decision. I did not look up the movie. I had vaguely heard of it. I read the two sentence blurb on the screen that, in my mind, sounded like a typical superhero movie. Like Spiderman. But different.

“Okay.” They cheered and I left the room to clean up the kitchen. I should have noticed that my son doesn’t normally cheer when allowed to watch a movie. I should have paid closer attention to the almost desperate look on their faces. I chalked those things up to buddies having a great time.

I would later learn that Deadpool was the stuff of lore at school. Some kids their age bragged they had seen it, but those kids were not to be believed. Why not? Because Deadpool is filled with graphic violence and nudity and sex and is Rated R. It is a profane, critically acclaimed movie that is for adults only, not 10 and 11 year old boys.

In ignorant bliss, I continued my major parent fail by suggesting the boys watch it upstairs alone, so my husband and I could watch something in the living room. They sprinted as if chased, probably still stunned that mom had said yes.

So how did we finally realize our huge mistake? My husband went upstairs when the movie was almost over, to check on them. He walked downstairs, his face ashen. “Uh, I just heard f*&! said about five times in a row.”

I almost fell out of my chair grabbing for my phone. I googled the movie. I actually heard myself groan when I read what was in it. It was filth. As in dirty-dirty-filth. I can’t even share with you all that’s in it. I can’t. It makes my stomach hurt.

We had to fess up to our dear friends who had entrusted us with their son for the night. They were appropriately horrified. They knew all about Deadpool, because adult family members had seen it and told them, “Don’t EVER let your kids see that movie.”

You’re welcome. Deadpool watched. With adult permission. Check.

I am accused, quite regularly, of being overprotective of my children. I find that journalists are pretty paranoid, because we often see the dark side of human nature. I am the mother who has more smoke detectors than recommended. I am scared to let my son walk two doors down to his friend’s house. I do not let my children go on just any play date. I don’t let them attend pool parties without me. I don’t let them have any screen time after school during the week. I don’t let them eat high fructose corn syrup, for goodness sake. I am suspicious and scrutinize everything  and my kids would probably tell you, with big, sad eyes and great self pity in their voices, that mom says “no” far more than she says “yes.”

I sure made up for lost time.

I waited until the morning after to tell them that we had made an awful mistake. They were still giddy. I was very stern. No, Daddy and I made an awful mistake. They reassured me the movie was very funny. It wasn’t that bad. No, they weren’t scared. My son’s friend said, “I’ll work it out with my parents,” like an attorney arguing leniency for his client. Even he knew I was screwed.

My son begged to be Deadpool for Halloween. No.

When I asked about naked people, the look they gave each other can only be described as the sort that will be remembered when they are grown men, recalling that time their mother let them watch that filthy movie. Alone. Upstairs.

Who knew I was such an effective defiler of innocence?

At some point I realized, ‘Oh my God, I’m that mom who buys her underage kids beer.’ We all thought that mom was cool until we grew up and realized she was the bad mom.

Just like that, I’m that mom.











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27 comments on “Deadwrong
  1. Cindy Simmons says:

    WOW! I saw the movie at the theater and saw parents there with young children. My thought was that no person under 17 should be allowed to watch the movie and the look on those parents faces were priceless. The stunned look of their faces but not one got up to leave the movie.

  2. Mike Hassinger says:

    If this is the worst mistake you make as a parent, your kids are going to be fine.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Thanks, Mike. Sadly, I’ve been on a mistake roll from the second they were born. It helps to know I have company. Thanks for reading.

  3. Andrea Rizk says:

    I did the same thing with the movie Dodgeball. I just didn’t remember that it had that much terrible language. Uuugggghhhhhh! We’re all just trying to do our best. Surely your friend understands that.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Andrea, thank you. Our friends have been great. She actually urged me to write about it. But it still stinks that I inadvertently stripped away a chunk of innocence. and note to Dodgeball!!

  4. Barb McWethy says:

    I have to admit I laughed, but probably because my boys are grown, and believe it or not it could be worse. At some point in our lives we are all that Mom. Why? Because we are human, so don’t beat yourself up too much over this.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      It is so okay to laugh. We have laughed about it, in that dark, embarrassed, isn’t-it-awful way. Thank you for reading. I am sooooooo human, ie. flawed.

  5. Laura Watkins says:

    Oh Jen, I have made many parenting mistakes. The boys will be OK, less innocent but, OK. I always try to make my mistakes “teachable” moments. The best thing that I see is your son will see you as someone who can admit your mistakes and that is an invaluable lesson. He might not realize it now but, will appreciate it later in life! You’re a fantastic Mom!

  6. Amanda says:

    Oh man I just laughed hard. While I was on a girls trip Eric took our two older kids (they were 17 and 15) to the theater to see it….with their grandparents!! They DID get up and leave after one of the “filthy filthy” parts. He was horrified!! The kids thought he was overreacting. I rented it the other day and Holy wow it’s filthy, BUT….for adults it’s really funny and Ryan Reynolds is HAWT! Forgive thyself my friend, you just created a crazy family memory!! Lol!

    • Jaye Watson says:

      OMG, your family walked out and they were ‘big kids’ as Jude says. Good grief. I swear I’m NEVER going to watch that movie. Never. I will never get it over it if I do! To know that he not only watched a violent, sexual movie, but one that almost garnered an X rating…well..agggghhhhhh!!!!!!!

    • Stan still the man says:

      I tried watching. Worst movie ever. Couldn’t get past first 20 minutes. My daughter, whose 21 raves about it.
      Go figure

  7. Leslie says:

    Trust me when I say that this will be one of your family’s favorite memories to bring up for many years to come…perfect for family reunions, baccalaureate dinners with the grandparents, and talks around the fire with new friends. Reminds me of the time my darlings talked my husband and me into posing for a family photo with a “family gang” sign…learning only AFTER I posted to instagram that it was actually a symbol…well…I don’t even know how to explain it but that it had to do with orifices . Except that ALL of their friends knew exactly what it meant. Years later it is still a screen saver on one of their phones. Good times. Everything will be OK.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Your story is so awesome. I’m laughing picturing you all making whatever orifice sign that was. Your story helps. Several friends have shared wonderful screw ups with me today. It doesn’t undo my stupidity but at least I’m laughing! Thank you.

  8. Doug De Cola says:

    Your not the bad mom! If you were you never would have fessed up to your son and friend. Thank you for your story. It brings back memories of my two daughters when they were young and innocent.

  9. Robert Nebel says:

    I am guilty of renting “Step Brothers” when my daughter was about 10 and her friend 9. I am no prude, but that was the first DVD I had to shut off. I bet they have seen things far worse since that time…..

    • Jaye Watson says:

      You are about the 5th person to tell me about Step Brothers. So funny. I’ve never even heard of it. Kind of like Deadpool. We all learn the hard way, huh? Thanks for reading, Robert.

  10. Marsha says:

    jennifer, in the grand scheme of things that’s not too bad. When I was a little older than JUDE mom and dad took me and my friend to see Irma La Duce. Ok so you never heard of it right? Well all those decades ago it was considered racy! Needless to say after the first 15 minutes my dad fired up the station wagon and off we went. They were horrified, lol. Thankfully, it didn’t screw me up too much, hey STOP LAUGHING. I’m screwed up but not from Irma La Duce

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Marsha, you’re hilarious. Kenny and I were like, “Irma who?!” I know. He’ll be okay. But for a boy who has never seen anything to suddenly see full frontal naked people and sex…ugh, kills me. Can’t undo. Onward and hopefully, upward! xx

  11. Pauline Long says:

    As bad as it seems to you, we all as parents make mistakes and shuddered that we could make such mistakes with our children. However, it is not only the lesson we learn as parents but it is a lesson your children will one day remember when they become a parent. You are still a loving parent and that is what matters most! Thank you for sharing your story, just shows we are all human and make mistakes!

  12. When your son is grown the retelling of this blunder will be funny.
    I know you are not laughing now, but you will, trust me.
    You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t experience some awkward, embarrassing moments. It goes with the title of being a mom.
    Enjoy your blog so much. Thanks for sharing the good and the not so shining moments.

  13. Whit Lanier says:

    I read this post when you wrote it, and enjoyed it. Then, today I saw this and had to wonder if you were the inspiration:–54460

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Wow. This is so awful and funny…the best combination. Thanks for sharing. Write me back when you accidentally show your kids a dirty movie, please.

  14. Amy says:

    Thank you for writing about this! I came across your post because I am trying to lessen some guilt regarding my six and a half year old accidentally accessing a graphic rated R movie on the computer through my Amazon account while I wasn’t closely watching her. Hoping the incident won’t scar her for life.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Amy, just seeing your message. Your six year old will be fine. I’m telling you that as I pray for the same thing for my kid. I wish I could tell you all the stories I heard of ‘bad parenting’ that made me feel so much better!! Mistake made. Move on. Thanks for reading…

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