Times have changed and having a period should be as natural as breathing. It IS as natural as breathing. I wanted to usher it in with a Tweenager period kit to open the lines of communication and (hopefully) teach my girls that there is nothing to be embarrassed of.
(*This post has been sitting in my drafts for a loooooooong time until I had my girls’ permission to share)
Not my typical DIY, but this post is important to me…
I spent my teenage years living with my Dad.
My Dad, the sofa-jock, beer-loving, guy’s guy.
My Dad that called my first training bra a Japanese slingshot.
My Dad that told friends that if I didn’t get my act together in school, I’d end up a stripper. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I can’t dance. 🤷🏻♀️)
Yes, it was a very enlightened, feminist home – so you can imagine the awkwardness when I got my period.
My Dad; very nervously going to the health unit and picking up several pamphlets on menstruation, then leaving them on my desk for when I came home from school.
A brief check-in later with “We good?”
That was it. Neither one of us were comfortable with questions or talking about it. It was seen as a bad thing, something to be embarrassed of and hidden away. I’m not sure tampon commercials were even on the air when I got my first period?
Not that I want to scream it from the rooftops even now, but it was important to me that my girls not be embarrassed or feel awkward or ashamed. This is part of being a woman, and nothing about being a woman (even in a man’s world) is shameful.
I wanted to have the doors of communication open and for them to feel comfortable to talk to me about anything at anytime.
I decided to make up a Tweenager Period Kit to help.
I picked up a few different kinds of pads so that they could test for size and comfort to find their favourite brand. I bought some Knix (period underwear) they could try, some feminine wipes and a little pencil case so they could package up what they needed and tuck it into their backpacks for school.
Then, to add an awesome spin to their period kits, I filled it with little bits and bobs like nail polish and emery boards;
cookies, candies and of course chips for those monthly salt cravings. Note: I did NOT give any medications – Midol, Tylenol etc because I felt they were still too young to monitor dosages themselves.
Other items that made it pretty great to be a girl… and a hungry tweenager. lol
I gave the girls their baskets as a “Surprise” and watched as they checked everything out. I explained, very nonchalantly what each different pad was for and which I preferred for myself. They asked questions like “What about swimming?” and “What if it happens at school?” I was able to keep the conversation very light with laughing and had different ideas they could consider when they were ready. I told them to keep me in the loop to let me know what they liked and didn’t like so I could re-stock favourites when needed.
We touched on toxic shock and the need for hygiene – but again, in a laughing way so that the conversation didn’t end abruptly with everyone uncomfortable.
Eg. “Typically when I go swimming, I wear a tampon. It’s bit more invasive, so you’ll have to decide if that’s right for you, and you REALLY have to remember to tuck the string in your bathing suit or you’ll catch a fish”.
or “There is a chance that you might not feel like rollerskating in white pants” 😂
Too much? Maybe. But they laughed.
They were still embarrassed (of course, they were tweens), but they smiled at the gift and went and set up their bathrooms with their new gear.
I can’t speak for all girls, or all Moms, but I can tell you that opening this door to easy dialogue really helped all of us. After all, I didn’t know what to say anymore than my Dad did really? I had to learn to be more comfortable with my body and not feel ashamed… and it was important to me that I set them up with that comfort/confidence early.
I have zero counselling experience, and I’ve never found a manual on how to raise kids – but I can tell you that since the tweenager period kits, my girls have come to me with questions, comments and concerns. Perhaps with a bit of hesitation and trepidation (they never know what zinger Mom is going to throw out 😂) but they have come to me – and in the end, that’s all I can ask for.
As an added effort, I made up a little basket for the girls bathroom at school – I delivered it to the office and asked that they leave it out for the senior girls just in case anyone didn’t have a quarter for the machine and were too embarrassed to ask.
It’s okay to open your eyes now Dad – I’ll get back to building now. 😂
Have a great one!