How to explain what a “period” is to your son (and why you SHOULD)

So the other day I asked my hubby to unpack our suitcase and bring it to the basement and he REFUSED to touch my wrapped unused tampons. I probably should be annoyed by his immaturity, but honestly I was able to shrug it off because other than this minor flaw, I think of my hubby as a very modern, open-minded, mature man.

I mean this is the guy who literally splits the household chores with me 50/50. This is the guy who truly believes his daughter is as likely to become the president as much as his son. This is the guy who stood there and watched me give birth to two kiddos and never once flinched.

So I questioned him thoroughly about his tamponaphobia because it seemed out of line with who he is.

ME: Seriously?! They’re not used. They’re just cotton inside a wrapper.

HUBBY: Yeah, but there’s no reason for me to touch them.

ME: What if I needed you to buy them for me?

HUBBY: I’d do that. I don’t care about touching the box.

ME: 🙄

Anyways, instead of being annoyed, I started taunting my 12-year-old hubby by poking him with the wrapped tampons (clearly we BOTH have maturity issues) and in the middle of this act of maturity Holden walked in the room. He was looking at this wrapped doohickey that his dad seemed to be afraid of, and he asked…

HOLDEN: What is it?

Ruh-rohhhh. But I thought about it. 

  1. I don’t want him to have tamponaphobia one day if he’s married to a woman.

  2. I don’t want him to have tamponaphobia one day if he has any daughters.

  3. If he’s in junior high and a girl’s tampon accidentally falls out of her purse, I don’t want him to go, “Ewwwww” or run away in fear, embarrassing her to death.

So I immediately stopped what I was doing and I directly and succinctly explained to Holden what tampons are for. I didn’t beat around the bush, no pun intended. I didn’t throw in a bunch of anatomical stuff he doesn’t know yet. And I didn’t make it too long of an explanation because 7-year-old boys have very short attention spans. This is all I said:

ME: When a woman’s body is old enough to have a baby, she bleeds once a month from her vagina. It only happens when she’s not pregnant. We use tampons—that wrapped thing you just saw—to soak up the blood so it doesn’t go everywhere and make a mess. It’s not gross. It’s just nature.

And that was that.

He didn’t ask any questions. Well, he asked one.

HOLDEN: Okay. Can I go watch TV?

End of story. Wellllll, not really. Because that night I decided to play a little trick on my tamponaphobic hubby.


Like I said, I’m a very mature woman.

Not only was my hubby super annoyed when he found them that night, but when I shared it on Facebook and Instagram I got A LOT of comments from women about how the men in their families handle feminine products.

There were the ones whose hubbies act like mine:

And there were the ones that had me laughing so hard, I was crying:

Oh. My. God.

And then there were ones like these:

These women were SOOOOO proud of their hubbies and sons and how they view periods and tampons as a normal, natural thing there’s nothing to be afraid of.

And that’s when I knew that talking to my seven-year-old boy about periods was the ABSOLUTE RIGHT DECISION. Because I want him to grow up to be THIS kind of man one day. The kind that knows that getting a period isn’t gross or scary. It’s totally natural.

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There are 8 comments for this article
  1. Crystal at 10:07 am

    Yes you did the right thing! Bravo mom! Yes you do have a great husband. I’ve been married a very long time; we have a 28 year old son and a 16 year old daughter. We had been told due to health issues we’d not be able to have another child after our son. Lolol yeah; they were right…right up until they were wrong. My son was almost 12 when I got pregnant and close to 13 when she was born. My son asked if he could be involved with the pregnancy; like come to doctor’s appointments and the doctor even arranged for him to be allowed at a viewing window for the surgery (I had to have a c-section because of having one with my son.) Unfortunately there was a blizzard and I barely made it to the hospital so he didn’t get to actually see his sister be born. But I often think that’s okay; that experience should be with HIS OWN children.

    And to anyone who asks: NO HE NEVER WAS ASKED to change a diaper or feed the baby OR BABYSIT! He was allowed to just be a really proud big brother.

  2. Nicole at 10:26 am

    When I was in middle school, my mom was out of town so my dad had to go with me to the store to buy pads. When I put the package in the cart, he looked at it, then LOUDLY pronounced, “They have wings, so you can FLYYYYYYY!!” I was mortified.

    Then, as an adult, my 5-year-old daughter walked into the bathroom while I was putting in a bright pink tampon. With a horrified expression on her face, she asked me what I was doing with that crayon. 😂 That was when we had a chat about feminine products.

  3. Jen Mierisch at 11:08 am

    The idea of hiding something valuable in the tampon box is GENIUS. Like seriously even fancy jewelry or cash. I doubt a thief is gonna go hunting around in there!!

    Good for you for telling your son about this. It’s just a bodily function and it’s good if he thinks it’s NBD.

    Baby Sideburns, if you are reading this, will you write a blog about “period parties”? Like when a daughter gets her first period and the family celebrates with a cake or whatever? My daughter is 10, and I am considering doing this for her when the time comes, but I dunno. Part of me wants to celebrate it as a positive thing, but part of me is weirded out. Clearly I need expert advice!

  4. Jay Bee at 11:27 am

    My dad always bought my tampons at Costco! He called them “sticks” but you know, he was buying them in bulk so he could really do what he wanted 🙂

  5. Jennifer at 5:09 pm

    When growing up I was one of 3 girls. When making our weekly grocery list dad would always ask if we needed supplies. And then he’d ask what ‘flavour’ we wanted. He knew the brand and box colours we preferred.

  6. MT at 8:06 pm

    My four year old son walked in on me while I was putting a pad he was like mommy is that a big bandage for your flower… which is what we call a v****a he was four and just went along with it and he will not remember it anyway

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