#ditchthedisposables

I’ve been wanting to talk about alternative menstrual products (AMPS) for a while now but I never really knew how to tie it in with home education. I was unsure whether it was appropriate to discuss anything that wasn’t considered part of our journey. Then I suddenly realised that AMPS are relevant to our journey.

Before I begin to discuss why this topic is so important and how it is relevant to our journey through education, I would like to show you what alternative menstrual products look like.

CLOTH PADS

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Above is a photo of a few of the pads I own. I have used these pads on numerous occasions, including the white one!

Cloth pads work just like disposables, except they clip together with snaps, they are so much prettier, more comfortable and the obvious difference is that you wash them.

If cloth pads are something you like the look of, then I would recommend checking out Lady Days Cloth Pads, it is run by an amazing WAHM called Helen, who makes every single one by hand. As well as regularly stocking her website, she also takes custom orders. I would like to add that I am not an affiliate, nor do I know Helen personally. I am simply just a very happy customer of hers.

MENSTRUAL CUPS

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Menstrual cups are a common alternative to tampons. They are usually made from medical grade silicone. You simply fold it up, insert it into your body and the cup collects the blood. You can leave a menstrual cup in for longer than a tampon as there is no risk of TSS (toxic shock syndrome). Once you have finished using your menstrual cup; you simply remove it, pour the blood down the toilet, rinse and re insert.

mc 1If menstrual cups are something you are interested in trying, then take a look at what Feminine Wear has to offer! They also sell a range of other alternative menstrual products and are currently offering a 10% discount with the code FWAUTUMN14 until the end of November.

CLOTH TAMPONS

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Cloth tampons are similar to the disposable ones, except they don’t come with an applicator and you can wash them. They are usually made from fleece so are super soft!

SEA SPONGES

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Sea sponges are literally sea sponges. They are another tampon alternative. You simply wet them under a tap, squeeze the excess water and insert. You can remove them once they are full.

Now, let’s talk about why I feel this is such an important topic to be discussing!

I have two daughters. They will both start their periods, one day. Although it’s a long time away, I think this is a topic that needs to be discussed as so many young girls, women and parents today are not fully informed on all of their options.

If my daughters were in school, around the age of 9 or 10, they would learn about periods and how to take care of them. They would be lead to believe that the choice between disposable tampons and pads, was an informed one… But this is where sex education (in my opinion) is fundamentally wrong within the school system. Young girls are only taught about disposable options, which I find extremely worrying. If schools can’t even teach young people the basics, then how can schools teach sex education properly, in the later years?

One could argue that it’s up to the parents to teach their children about the alternative options – but I disagree. If a school teaches about disposables, it should and it must teach about the alternatives as well, otherwise they will never be seen as normal and they will remain a taboo. Schools have the power to make a difference to the masses. A lot of people only view disposables as normal because they were only taught about disposables in school – every pupil accepted this as the norm and as a result, the majority use disposables.

What would happen if the alternatives were added to the curriculum?
In my opinion, it is a schools duty to teach about all the options. How can anyone make an informed choice, if they are not 100% informed?
Why do schools not teach about the alternatives?
Is it because they are paid to teach (or should I say ‘advertise’) about disposable sanitary protection?

You might be asking – How does this affect you? You home educate.
This affects my family for two reasons; firstly, I have always said that home education may not be an option for us forever. Situations change and one day, we may not be able to continue our journey for whatever reason. If my daughters do ever attend school, I want to know they will get a well informed education. Secondly, if my daughters decide to use AMPS, the way society’s attitude is today, they are likely to experience shaming and negativity towards their decision, just as I have experienced negative reactions from a few individuals for choosing to use alternative menstrual products. Luckily, I am a very strong minded woman and I am not easily influenced by others.

It seems ridiculous that schools do not include alternative menstrual products within sex education – they teach this subject to young people across 6 whole years and yet there is no mention of them! In my opinion this is as ludicrous as teaching religious studies but forgetting to ever mention Buddhism – like it doesn’t exist!

Sadly, from what I’ve seen, schools are not offering young women the opportunity to make informed choices and I doubt they ever will.
If you believe in offering young women choices, then talk about alternatives with your daughter today. Even if she chooses to use disposables – at least she has made an informed choice and the choice will be there, forever!

Boredom cards

‘Mummy! I’m so bored!’
A phrase that I hear a lot in my house; despite my girls having an abundance of learning resources, books, toys and attention, they still seem to suffer from boredom.
In some cases, boredom can be a gift; it can be the fuse that channels the spark of creativity and imagination. In other cases, boredom can be so intense that the child just can’t seem to escape the rut and this can lead to restlessness and frustration.

Ava can get bored very easily and tends to move from one task onto another, within minutes. There has been a few occasions where boredom has dominated the day and every suggestion that I made was rejected – for my daughter to still grumble the words ‘I’m bored’.

This is where the boredom cards come in! Here they are.

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But, how do they work? I hear you ask.

If I hear Ava mutters the words ‘I’m bored’ I get the boredom cards out, place them all face down and then she selects a card at random.
I think she’s more open to a suggestion that comes from (in her mind) a ‘game’.
For example, if I had just suggested to draw a picture she would be less interested than if she picked the activity at random. It seems to make suggestions fun and from the child’s perspective, they chose the activity of their own free will.

Below I have written some examples of the activities within our boredom cards but you can put whatever you like on your boredom cards, depending on your child’s hobbies.

  1. Read a book
  2. Draw a picture
  3. Potato printing
  4. Go for a walk
  5. Play in the garden
  6. Take care of baby dolls
  7. Build a den
  8. Play hide and seek
  9. Play a board game
  10. Learn something new
  11. Bake cakes
  12. Make someone a card
  13. Dance to some music
  14. Dress up
  15. Have a teddy bears picnic
  16. Create a puppet show
  17. Build with blocks
  18. Play ‘Shop’
  19. Make music
  20. Play with playdough

To make the boredom cards, I used editable templates from Twinkl.co.uk.