Once upon a time -- about a week and a half ago -- I thought I'd heard the worst in proud parenting moments. Potty parties -- throwing open the doors and inviting the neighbors to celebrate the fact that your kid took a dump in a toilet -- were the worst that this generation of parents overly impressed with their kids had to offer. I was wrong. Introducing: period parties.
Granted, in certain cultures, this isn't so unusual. There have always been formal ceremonies celebrating a girl's coming of age, but it is ridiculously over the top that now everyone and their hippy cousin is doing it.
It seems we've just gone from one bodily fluid to another, and OMG, it's much, much worse. Sometimes called "menarche parties" -- because apparently that's classier than sending out an invite that says, "Aunt Flo is finally in town for my girl, let's all get down and par-tay" -- are both officially "a thing" and officially a sign that parents have lost their ever loving minds.
I get it. Every girl gets her period. We are all members of the sisterhood, united in that one week out of the month when we feel like our body is revolting against us. Menses matters aren't going away any time soon (at least not until we hit about, oh, 45?). It's about darn time society get over the shaming females have to endure when they have to hide that little tampon packet in their hand and sneak off to the bathroom every few hours.
I'm just not convinced that inviting in the neighborhood to celebrate the fact that your daughter is now bleeding from her you-know-what is the way to do this (heads up to STFU Parents for alerting me to this, by the way ... I think?). It could be a good way to make her run, screaming, to her room, where she'll slam the door and refuse to come out until, oh, college? But as far as celebrating her entrance into the womanhood, it's far from optimal to have a chat with the whole fam and your friends about what comes out of her vagina.
Got that? Her vagina. Also known as her private area. You wouldn't want the neighbors talking about in any other context because that would be creepy and invasive.
Might I suggest a copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves, a hug, a heating pad, and a big box of chocolates instead? An honest, open talk about the realities of what is going on would be nice too.
The early days of menstruation are hard. They're confusing. They're often painful. And they're pretty much always disgusting. The last thing the poor kid needs is the neighbors coming in with box of Playtex in wrapping paper congratulating them on getting her period.
What would you have done if someone threw one of these parties for you?
Image via Natalie Maynor/Flickr