Confessions of a Tween Mom:: We Weren’t Ready. Period.

Ready or Not, Here I come {Period}

I thought we were ready. We had read the books, she had taken the class at school, we’d had the period ‘talk‘. We thought we had more time. But nothing quite prepares you for your sweet {little} girl screaming from her bedroom, “Mom, I’m bleeding!”

She was ten years {+ 1 day} old…and we were NOT ready…{period}.

Body:: “Welcome to Puberty!” Brain:: “I’m still a Kid!” {Exclamation Point}

If I remember right, I was close to fifteen when I had my first period. I was one of the last girls in my class. I’d seen {and heard} all the stories by then. My girl was the first in her class, and at age ten {+ 1 day} her mental maturity level couldn’t keep up with the physical changes to her body. We struggled.

When a girl gets her period, her hormones are all over the place. Her emotions can become unpredictable and hard to manage. Then there are the physical changes:: hair growth, boob growth, pimples, and body odor. She may become very self-conscious about the way she looks. Sometimes, we are still not ready {period}.

Our New Norm {Question Mark}

Two years after her first period, we’ve come a long way!  “Auntie Flo” as we jokingly call her, shows up fairly regularly every 28 days.  We keep a calendar for Auntie Flo’s visits {check the Resources section below, there’s even an APP for that!}, but we still don’t consider Auntie Flo a welcomed or invited guest.  

In nearly two years, my girl has grown three inches taller and is maturing crazy fast for an almost 13-year old; {these hormones are real people}! Her confidence is back and she’s becoming more comfortable with her body image and its changes. Two years makes a big difference; and now, we’re ready {period}.

Valuable Period Resources

Thankfully, times have changed since I was 15 years old.  There are so many resources and well, let’s just say technology has greatly improved!  Pads are much less bulky than they were {back then}, but way more absorbent. Do your own research on sizes, shapes and thickness; both for pads and tampons.  The thinnest and most comfortable pads are strangely also the most absorbent. Several companies offer a “First Period Kit” which might be helpful to have on hand when your girl hits age 10 or so {Amazon has several available as well as Ruby Love and Thinx}.

They make tween girls {and women’s} undergarments now with built-in pads! They are amazing and washable!  I wouldn’t recommended them for the actual period, but great for a few days prior and after if her cycle isn’t regular. We’ve tried several brands {Knixteen, Ruby Love, Thinx} and love them all. 

Make sure you download one of the calendar apps {Clue Period, Period Calendar, Glow, Flo}.  I’m a bit old-fashioned so I also keep her schedule on my bathroom wall calendar. It helps with planning and packing.

We are still experimenting with tampons. Most girls definitely prefer them over pads, but some have more accidents with them.  Young girls may need the smallest ones and they don’t work as well on ‘heavy days’. I’m a big fan of double protection on the first two days of her period {and a dark hoodie}.Check out the You Tube videos on tampon insertion, we found them very useful.  

To be honest, I’ve not tackled the menstrual cup conversation with my girl yet; maybe in a year or two.

There are dozens of great books to help prepare both you and your tween.  We hadn’t read them all prior but we got them in the months following.  They were most helpful for my girl to understand how and why her body was changing {even discussing topics such as body odor, greasy hair, pimples and bad breath}. American Girl has a great book, The Care and Keeping of You, there are two in the series {tween and teen}.  The Period Book by Karen Gravelle and Jennifer Gravelle is a great preparatory book. The Girl’s Body Book by Kelli Dunham is an excellent body image and self-awareness book.

Lastly, be patient with yourself and your tween if they start young. That first few months can be unsettling for everyone.  Find what works best for her and be there to support however you can. Fair warning though, some days she’ll want your hugs and some days she won’t, just be ready {period}.

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Kelly grew up in small town Ohio and attended Ohio State University. She holds bachelors degrees in finance and chemistry. She moved to Houston in the mid-1980’s where she started work in Oil and Gas. In 1988, she began her 30-year career with Shell Oil Company and later obtained an Exec-MBA from University of Houston, specializing in Operational Excellence and Leadership. During her career with Shell she worked in a variety of technical and senior management positions across Houston and Port Arthur. She met her husband, Bruce, at Shell in 1995 but they didn’t {finally} marry until 10-10-2010 on a private beach in Hawaii. Collectively, they worked for Shell for over sixty years! Bruce {aka Pops} has two grown sons; he and Kelly {aka Mimzy} enjoy four beautiful grandchildren. Together over the years, Kelly and Bruce opened their home to several teenage nieces and nephews who needed guidance, consistent structure and support. In 2018 they became legal guardians for their 11-year old niece, Zoe {June 2007}. Kelly officially retired from Shell in July 2018 but that hasn’t slowed her down much! Between keeping up with Zoe in middle school, Kelly teaches Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace at River Pointe Church in the Spring & Fall semesters. Kelly and Bruce also own a home-crafting business where they “up-cycle” discarded wine barrels into unique and creative household novelties. Bruce is the wood-working craftsman while Kelly manages the creativity {and the books}! You can check them out on Facebook @Showbird Handcrafted Designs. Kelly and Bruce are fitness enthusiasts, cyclists, paddle-boarders, avid hikers and annual visitors of America’s amazing National Parks; but they are also beer, wine and beach enthusiasts - quite the contrast! Kelly is an animal lover and supports many local rescue organizations. Along with their personal ‘failed-foster’ menagerie, it’s likely you’ll find a nursing mom with kittens or a senior dog anxiously awaiting a permanent home. If you’re looking for a new, furry friend, just give her a call!


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