22 Mar
Mouthing Off: The Period Party

Do you remember when you got your first period? You were probably 12 or 13, a little freaked out and your mom or another female family member most likely gave you the supplies you needed and told you what was going on. However, if you were anything like us, here’s what probably didn’t happen: you were the guest of honor at a Period Party.

Yep, you read that right.

You see, it’s no longer enough for a young girl to start menstruating; now that particular milestone needs to be celebrated with a themed, invitation-only party. Much like everything else in some kids’ lives today. Seriously, are we raising a generation that’s going to expect balloons and cake every time they pass gas or put the toilet seat down? When will this nonsense end?

While we certainly agree that it’s important to take away the scariness and mystique of menstruating, do tweens and teens really need–or want–that done via a party? Like the one we read about where the guests “…ate red jelly beans, drank raspberry leaf tea, and gave their red balloons panty-liner mustaches.” Then the enterprising mother read them selections from The Diary of Anne Frank while they “dunked tampons in their teacups.” Um, is it just us or does that sound like a scene out of some whacko Christopher Guest movie? Like “Waiting for Aunt Flo” or something?

But if you actually do want to throw your daughter a Period Party, there are many resources out there for you. Like MenarchePartiesRUs.com., who sells a party pack that includes plates, cups, feminine disposal bags and the very exciting “Pin the Ovary” and “Puberty Marshmallow” games. So much more fun than the traditional “run to the bathroom and hope your period doesn’t go through your white pants or everyone in the 8th grade will taunt you until you graduate, you dumbass” game we all played, right?

Don’t get stuck in the fallopian tubes!

Other party activities we’ve read about include serving fun menstrual related food like red Jell-O, playing games like “tampon basketball,” as well as “pin the chocolate on the menstruating woman’s mouth” (Note: WE WILL PLAY THIS WITH YOU ANY TIME), andΒ  giving the guest of honor “Welcome to Womanhood” gifts like a thermometer, a red candle and cotton pads. Just what every 12 year old dreams of unwrapping! Wow, it makes us wish we were getting our first periods all over again!

And if that weren’t humiliating enough for girls who don’t even like their mothers to drop them off at the curb at school, older women are often invited to the parties to “share their menstrual stories” with the tweens. Yeah. That’s not traumatizing at all.

“And then there was the time I had my period on my honeymoon, so my husband spent the entire time gambling in the casino while I cried on the bathroom floor. Which was still better than that time I had cramps so painful that I took three Vicodin and crashed the car into Walgreen’s. But not as bad as that other time I got toxic shock syndrome and almost died from sepsis. Ah, good times, good times! Welcome to womanhood, Ashley! Pass the Midol Martinis!”

Of course, it’s every family’s right to do something like this. And first periods have been celebrated by various cultures in different ways for centuries. The Native Americans supposedly held beautiful ceremonies for their young women. And we definitely believe that that menstruation is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of by anyone.

As mothers, we know how important it is to speak openly and honestly with our daughters about their bodies. Education and knowledge is key and we strongly feel that we should always celebrate girls becoming women.

Just without the red balloons, please.

40 Responses to “Mouthing Off: The Period Party”


Comment by A Very Reasonable Person.

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Comment by Wub Boo Mummy.

Oh no! My step-daughter’s period started when she was staying with us. If only I’d known that I should have thrown a period party for her. Yet another notch against my step-mothering skills.


Comment by Brett Minor.

I am a single dad and my daughter had her first period when the was at summer camp. I just happened to stop in that day and she was crying wanting to go home, but wouldn’t tell me why.

I thought someone had done something to her. I finally guessed it and she confirmed. I got the camp nurse to get her set up and took her home. I then had to make some calls to find out what I needed to start keeping in the house.

Desperate Dietwives Reply:

…and they obviously supplied you with a period party kit? πŸ˜€

admin Reply:

Brett, that makes me feel for both of you. You sound like such a nice dad.

Plano Mom Reply:

You are awesome for sticking it through until you guessed it right. She’ll always trust you to be there for her, even when you don’t understand, just because of that.


Comment by SusanC.

The model Sophie Dahl wrote an account (I think in a women’s mag, but possibly in her autobiography) of being taken out by Erica Jong (her best friend’s mother) to celebrate her first period with a red cake and candle at the Plaza. Ms. Dahl apparently found this mortifying.


Comment by sisterfunkhaus.

Yikes. Sounds like an extension of the everything my child does is magnificent movement. I call it the “Barney Effect” b.c Barney teaches that everyone is special. Celebrating periods is just loco.


Comment by dusty earth mother.



But, oh my comfortable plastic applicator, that was a funny read.


Comment by catwrangler.

of course there is also the public acknowledgement – for the dads:


Comment by kathykate.

GUILTY: no pin the anything on the anything, but I took my girls out to “celebrate” when they finally stopped crying, and gave them my complete “don’t be a period baby” lecture, a box of tampons and some KY. Told them to hang on to that KY, but that’s another party altogether, none, thankfully, I’ll be invited to.

Desperate Dietwives Reply:

But this is thoroughly different: you didn’t throw a party about something so intimate, you just tried to make them feel good (and I daresay you succeeded). A party is quite another thing.


Comment by Peyton Price.

The manicurist
says most first time customers


Comment by Peyton Price.

The manicurist
says most first time customers
have first periods.


Comment by Plano Mom.

I didn’t tell my mother about my first period precisely because I was afraid she would make a big deal out of it.

My overwhelming response to this is “OH PUHLEEEEEEESE!”


Comment by The Well-Versed Mom.

Holy Panty Liners, Batman! How apropos is this? My 14-year-old JUST. GOT. HER. PERIOD. YESTERDAY.

We have decided to celebrate tonight with Red Velvet cupcakes. I’m going to regale her with tales of Modess Sanitary Belts.(Not that I used one, but they did feature prominently in the Modess booklet my mom offered up to me as the sole resource for information on dealing with my new “womanhood,” as she put it.)

Interestingly, a search for “Modess sanitary napkins” nets you an abundance of eBay listings for “sexy sanitary napkin belt panties.” Yeah, sexy. You got that right.


Thanks, as always, for another hilarious post.

Wendi Reply:

Congratulations to your daughter! May I read some of Anne Frank’s diary to her while she dunks tampons?

And I think I had that Modess booklet, too.


Comment by Mellowdee.

A period party? Yikes. I can’t imagine. I was too uncomfortable to even tell my mother when I got my period because I saw how she reacted with my younger sister (who got hers first), openly talking about it with everyone who would listen, even when it wasn’t relevant. Eventually while disclosing personal details about my sister’s cycles, mom started adding, “And Mellowdee… well, she never tells me anything!” Damn straight! I’m 32 now… I’ve still never told her that I’ve had my period. Wonder if she figured it out? Maybe I’ll get a party! πŸ˜›


Comment by The Grouchy Mom.

Ok, fine. I admit it. I believe in Menstruation Celebration!

Kinda’. But just for fun. When my niece was 14 years old, (and had been dying for the darned thing to start!)we celebrated her period by going out to eat and reading “Welcome to Womanhood” poetry! We had so much fun…

But a party? Pinning Hoo-Hoo’s on Woo-Woo’s or whatever? I think not.

By the way, if all this talk about tampons has piqued your interest, see a recent post of mine about talking tampons: http://danerts.com/blog/2012/03/02/tampons-shouldnt-talk/


Comment by Marta.

That is the most awful thing I’ve heard and I’m slightly gagging in my mouth just thinking about it.

I think I would have to stop being friends with the mother if I was ever invited to such a party to tell her daughter about my period stories.

Allison Musick Reply:

Thank you! I agree, but I thought I was the only one fighting the dry heaves while I read the post.

My mom DID do something special with me when I got mine, but it was more of a consolation prize than a “welcome to womanhood, now let’s embarrass you to tears” kind of thing. She took me out to eat and we had Glamour Shots done – remember those? πŸ™‚

Marta Reply:

YES! I don’t have any recollection of telling my mother. Maybe I didn’t, maybe two children later she still doesn’t know that I have my period.. just maybe.


Comment by Ellen.

THANK you!
I think the party should be sometime in (our) 40s or 50s, ’cause God knows the thrill is SO gone by then — a little festivity would go much farther!

BTW, anyone know anyone older than me (56!), still getting theirs? I’m pretty sure I should be in the Guinness Book for this!

Cy Reply:

My deepest sympathies, Ellen. I’m 50 and done, done, dunzo! And it is awesome! Good luck to ya, you Queen of the Menses, you!

Bon Reply:

I am 55 1/2 and still cycling. There were a number of years with a lot of stress in my 20s and 30s where I didn’t get periods except 3 or 4 times a year, and maybe I’m still going at it because I missed having them during those years? Anyway, Ellen, you are not alone.

I offered going out for dinner or a party to my daughter when she got hers and she was basically horrified so we didn’t celebrate. And I think in our society, where it is still somewhat taboo to talk openly about periods, it is understandable that a girl would be embarrassed to celebrate it.


Comment by Karen.

When my niece started, I got a very funny call at work because she had sent her grandfather to Walgreens to get something for her cramps but then neither of them could figure out just how many Midol she was supposed to take. And keep in mind, my Dad is an 80 year old retired NYC cop.

And I really don’t understand why anyone would have a party for something that the rest of us (for the most part) hate doing. Yeah, hey! Let’s have a colonoscopy party. Let’s celebrate the crap out of things that suck!!!

Notice the party kit doesn’t include directions on how to dump a guy who doesn’t give a shit if you had an orgasm or a “My Little Vibrator” ring toss game.


Comment by Brittany.

Um, I totally thought you guys were making this up… until I clicked on the links.

Wow. Wow.


Comment by yvonne@attracteadtoshinythings.

Holy CRAP! I’m writing a book (that I started 2 years ago), and in it the girl’s mom throws a Menarche Ritual for her, inviting all of the neighbor ladies. But that was a JOKE!!


Comment by Peajaye.

The “Pin the Ovaries on the Uterus” graphic looks like it could be a character from “The Little Mermaid”. Right?


Comment by Liz @ PeaceLoveGuac.

“Waiting for Aunt Flo” Bahahahaha!!


Comment by Jenn.

Wow! Guess I missed out.
My mother celebrated my transistion to womanhood (at the age of 9) by handing me a 5 dollar bill and making me ride my bike to the store to buy my own “kotex”.(Do they even make those anymore?) LOL I think I hid in an aisle until there was no one at the register to hastily make my purchase. LOL. When my girls have thier first there will be no parties thrown here! How mortifying!


Comment by Megan.

I think I need a menopause party. Nothing will be red.


Comment by tracy@sellabitmum.

I would have moved out if my mother suggested giving me a period party.

I guess I will toast my daughters with a glass of red wine when they get their periods..but I’m pretty much drinking red wine anyway..not just because Aunt Flo is over.


Comment by VG.

I was 13 and excited about becoming a woman. My mom played it down and turned it into a negative (cramps, bloating, etc) for the next FIFTY YEARS, which she totally stressed. My mother has a way about her that only I and my siblings can love πŸ™‚


Comment by Kristen.

Good grief. I can’t even imagine. I wanted to die (and, by the evidence, was pretty sure I would, and soon) when I got mine. My mom was kind and comforting, but dude, we were NOT celebrating.

I’d love to know how many girls are involved in the planning of this. I’m sure it’s mostly just the moms, but I wonder.


Comment by suburbancorrespondent.

I guess this is what the goyim do instead of Bat Mitzvahs?


Comment by Katherine.

Transition to womanhood? Seriously, when my 9 year old (complete and utter shock to me and pediatrician) got it last year I had to tell her that “back in the day” it was sort of a transition to womanhood, but that in her case it is was just a silly joke her body was playing on her! We laughed (she took it the whole thing very well – I have to congratulate myself a little bit for that), and I promised to wash out her panties for her until she’s 12 (b/c, really, what 9 year old is good at that? I’m still trying to get her to remember to apply deodorant every day). I also bought all colored underpants for the sake of my sanity (I’m still using a fair amount of Oxyclean after the cold-water soaks!).


Comment by Mrs. Banks.

I like the idea of a period party. I had one when I was 9. I was scared out of my mind and felt ashamed. My mother threw me a poodle slumber party, everything was pink and there were soft fluffy pillows and fuzzy pink blankets everywhere and we gave eachother mani./peti.s. No one but my mom and I knew what were celebrating. My friends just thought it was just a slumber party, but it made me feel good and take my mind off of everything. I can’t wait to throw one for my daughter.


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