When you are a mother, taking your child with you to the bathroom is status quo, especially in public spaces. Even if you have a little boy. I mean, where else are they to go?
Yesterday was no different from any other outing. Except, well, someone was listening.
I entered the bathroom. Removed a tampon from my purse. And, without fail, the questions poured.
What’s that, Mommy?
Why do you need that?
Now, if you are not yet a parent, I’ll just be honest. This is what ground zero humility looks like. If you are a parent, maybe you, too, have encountered the full frontal assault of inconvenient questions.
This time, however, my son was loud. And we weren’t alone.
When we exited the stall, a woman who appeared to be about 65 years of age shot us the death glare.
You see, we don’t make sex a taboo topic in our home. We talk about it. Literally, whenever our children inquire. This is our approach to parenting. With four graduate degrees between us, my husband and I want our children to understand the dimensions of sexual intercourse, including menstruation, from an early age.
Experts say that if you wait until after third grade to approach “the sex talk”, you’ve missed the boat. Really. Everything you teach them after this time will be remedial.
So why not start early, and why not start when the questions begin?
Though not organically inspired to do so, I smiled at the stranger who cast all doubt on my parenting – on my transparency.
But isn’t this the essence of parenthood – to do the hard things in the face of overwhelming challenge?
One day I hope my son’s curious questions will lead to:
- Empathy for a future wife.
- A deep understanding of women’s hormonal cycles.
- An admiration for the unavoidable physical discomfort of womanhood.
So that, perhaps in my son’s generation, children will already be equipped with the basics to make informed decisions.
And wouldn’t it be amazing if fathers could one day do the talking?
One Year Ago: The Ugly Years
Two Years Ago: Watch Where You Park