Why It’s Hard to Explain Parenting to Non-Parents

explain parenting
Why it’s hard to explain parenting.

Lofty, existential questions run rampant through the cultural conversation about child bearing and rearing. Deep thoughts like when is it more responsible not to have kids? Or, how about this one: do we lose our own identities in our kids? Whoaaaa nelly.

Honestly, though, it’s much easier for me to have those conversations than to explain why I give Eskimo kisses to a stuffed sheep named Baaaaaa-b every night.

Everyone has a perspective on the deeply personal, philosophical questions. It’s what we humans do, looking for meaning in this life.

But I’ve found that not everyone has a perspective on whether Bitty Baby deserves a cake for her 4th birthday on Wednesday when she just had a cake for her 3rd birthday on Monday.

Because every Bitty deserves cake on her birthday.
Because every Bitty deserves cake on her birthday.

I’ve also discovered it’s not always appropriate to answer “Have you been to this restaurant?” with “Oh yeah! My kid threw up there!” Not only that, but to some people it’s odd–inappropriate even–to allow a naked 3-year-old to do the tree pose in the front door.

Unless someone has been to the pretend pet store, it can be really tricky to explain that you’re emotionally exhausted because the pretend pet store didn’t have the pretend turtle you ordered because they “don’t carry sea animals.”

Or that you really just need a moment to yourself after searching three hours for your misplaced wallet only to find it in a shoebox under the dining room table.

Is it possible to truly rationalize for someone the logic behind why you convince your children that a fat man with a big beard in a red suit is watching them day and night, or a creepy little elf doll, if that someone has never craved peace and quiet in total desperation? Or why you spent most of your trip to New York City underground, riding the subway? Because trains.

Being introduced to a new acquaintance isn’t typically an emotional experience.  So try to describe the tears that come when you’re introduced on the playground as, “Her name is Jessie. But we call her Mommy.” Especially when the enthusiastic reply is, “We call my mommy ‘Mommy’, too!”

And oh, how to convey the absolute devastation when the golden soap dispenser your first-grader bought at Big Lots for $2.99 breaks? It was declared the “fanciest” thing in the entire house when first purchased with hard-earned cash, making it truly priceless.

When soap is not just soap.
When soap is not just soap.

Not to mention that it can be awkward to ask your shopping buddy to avoid the honey booth at the farmers’ market just because last time you were there your kid gagged on lemon-flavored honey when the saleswoman insisted it would cure that darn asthma cough.

Best to lay low for a few weeks. At least there wasn’t actual vomit that time.

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Jessie lives in Essex Junction with her first grader and fourth grader, her husband, and the family's "furry baby” Yorkshire terrier. Adopted by her husband’s home state of Vermont more than a decade ago, Jessie loves the Green Mountain state for its Midwestern affability, all things lakes and mountains, and a foodie scene to rival any other. Jessie works as a marketing strategist, and when she can wrangle free time, she's usually found kicking back with friends and family, cooking up something in the kitchen, reading a book, or–yes–browsing social media.



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