Being a mother is the greatest job I’ve ever had, and my favorite days are the ones where I get to watch my children learn, grow, and play. As fun as it’s been, though, I’ve also had to accept that motherhood is full of tough moments, which often lead to hard conversations: As a parent, I know firsthand how difficult it can be to talk about sex with every child you see.
Sure, we all want to be effortless super-parents, but I’ll be the first to say that chasing down as many kids on the street as possible and giving them the “the talk” isn’t exactly easy.
Unfortunately, it’s no secret that sex is a sensitive topic, and it takes a strong parent to be open, honest, and decisive when explaining intercourse to every single child that you encounter on this earth. It’s one thing to map out that conversation in your head and try to anticipate all the awkward questions they’ll ask, but it’s quite another thing to actually chase down the dozens and dozens of young, unsupervised children that you see on a daily basis, and have that conversation with them in a way that helps them.
The sex talk is a veritable minefield of doubts, questions, and possible missteps, and I am constantly second-guessing my approach.
I may be a 35-year-old woman, but when it comes to poking my head into an open window in a neighbor’s living room and talking to their kids about the birds and the bees, I’m not immune to feeling awkward. The fact is, I’m always going to get an “ew” or a “gross” when I start pulling out the condoms I keep in my purse to teach a group of random 11-year-olds about safe sex, but I try to remember that every single one of those kids will go home to their respective houses that night understanding a little more about how to take care of their changing bodies.
The sex talk is a veritable minefield of doubts, questions, and possible missteps, and I am constantly second-guessing my approach. For instance, if I see a group of teens at the mall, do I introduce myself first, or launch into my explanation of the menstrual cycle before they can turn their backs to me? Or, if I see some young kid walking to school on my morning jog, should I assume they’ve already learned about sex from the internet, or should I start speaking to them like they live in a hermetically sealed bubble?
In many ways, it feels impossible to know. But as parents, it’s our duty to find out.
There’s inevitably a lot to think about when it comes to teaching all children about sex, and I’ll admit that there are a lot of days when I wish I could give these kids a friendly wave and call it a day. But it’s not enough to just be a passive parent, and that’s why I am committed to having an open, honest conversation about sex with every person under the age of 18 I ever meet, no matter how tough the going gets.