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Sooo, I’m going to go a little out of the DIY orbit to focus on something a little different today. Periods. Yep, Maturation. Aunt Flo.
Awkward? Nah, it doesn’t have to be!
Little known fact, I have a degree in secondary health ed. I was supposed to be a high school health and physical education teacher but, much to my grandmother’s dismay, I am not.
In college I studied nutrition, physiology, anatomy, sports medicine… I even did rotations in a 9th grade sex ed class while I was 9 months pregnant. Oh the irony! Picture me in your mind: 60 pounds of weight gain, cranky as heck, with massive swelling in my hands, feet, and face. I’m talking SWELLING, people. As in, the only shoes I could wear were Old Navy flip flops and even then I had to go bare foot by afternoon or the swelling cut off the circulation kind of swelling. My brother made whale jokes. Yep, it was that awesome. I’m telling you, if prego with a man-child me didn’t scare those junior high kids into celibacy, I don’t know what would!
Flash forward 14 years and I’ve become the mother of tweens and teens. I don’t know how that happened, I swear they were just 3 but here we are. I feel like most blogs are devoted to little kids, and us mamas of the teenage-hood are pretty darn overlooked. Like it’s so unbelievably scary that nobody will talk about it, which is basically true. It’s terrifying. Having teens makes me want to hide under my bed and not come out. I nearly raised the white flag this week trying to get my kid to turn in his 13 missing assignments so he can graduate 8th grade. Yeah, I can’t even. Why? What?
The other day a family member called from the big box store asking what she needed to help her granddaughter who had just started her period for the first time. It got me thinking, if I feel like there isn’t a lot of info out there for mothers of tweens and teens, maybe there are others out there feeling the same. So forgive me for the random post but I’m going there.
We’re talking menstruation prep.
As if the tween years weren’t hard enough, the average girl starts her monthly cycle between the ages of 10-15.
You’re going along, raising your daughter, minding your own business and bam! Suddenly she’s coming to you in tears because “it” happened. Hopefully by this point you’ve already had several talks with your girly. If you haven’t, oh girlfriend! Put your cutie in the car right now and take her out somewhere special for dinner, just you and her. Have a good long chat and explain the awesomeness that is being a woman. Don’t be afraid, and for the love, please don’t freak out and make it awkward. It’s natural, it’s normal, and really kind of amazing if you think about it. Her body is prepping for motherhood, how cool is that!
If you aren’t quite sure what to say, I recommend THIS book series. You can read my review HERE. It doesn’t have to be weird, I promise. Tell her about how you felt when you first started. Make things light and share from your heart. This is one of those unique chances you have to strengthen trust and deepen your mother/daughter bond. Choose to make it special.
Now that she understands the what and why, it’s time to focus on the how.
I thought I’d share with you today a little gift I made my daughter that has helped her navigate Aunt Flo in the midst of middle school. You don’t have to do it exactly like I have, but hopefully it gets you thinking and gives you some ideas.
Put all the supplies in a zippered bag and you’ve got a care kit.
This kit fits easily in a locker or backpack and nobody has to know what’s in it! It just looks like she’s carrying around makeup for a touch up or something. For the first 6 months or so, I highly recommend the ziptop bag and extra pair of panties. If an accident happens, she can just seal the dirty pair up in the ziptop bag then hide them in her kit to bring home and wash after school. Help her understand that accidents/leakage is totally normal and not to feel dumb. Being prepared can totally help rein in the embarrassment factor.
Keep in mind that every girl is different and every kit will be too. Maybe your daughter isn’t ready for tampons, if so feel free to leave them out. Do what works for her and makes her feel a little more comfortable at a time that can be anything but.
On the home front, carve out a little corner of the bathroom cabinet that is just for your daughter. Help her stock her corner with the necessities she needs for her monthly cycle. Let her try out several kinds of pads and tampons so she can figure out her tastes. Don’t assume that because you use something that she will want that kind too. I know these items aren’t cheap, but be willing to put down some cash in the beginning so she can learn what she likes and doesn’t like. Let her ask ALL the questions and allow her to share her worries and concerns. Listen, listen, listen. Did I mention, listen?
By putting forth a little effort and love, you can help make this transition from kid to developing teen as easy as possible.
Mama friend, I know that all things maturation are scary. I so totally get it. This is a whole new ball game you’ve never played in, but it can be a special bonding experience too. Be there for your daughter, be sensitive, and be open. After all, the goal is trust and safety right? As mothers, it’s our job to create that. So take a deep breath, say a little prayer, grab her hand, and welcome your sweet girl as she takes her first steps into womanhood.
You can do this mama!
I’m cheering you on.
For all you been there/done that mothers, what is your best tip to help a girl get in the maturation/menstrual groove?