Growing up I learned to clean. No one taught me, that I recall, but I learned. Not the pansy make my bed, vacuum my bedroom floor, load the dishwasher cleaning. I mean really cleaning. I knew how to toothbrush scrub baseboards and cabinets, scour bathtubs, and work the Windex on almost any surface.


Like most children, including mine who can all scrub a toilet like nobody’s business, I resented the cleaning I had to do. Frankly, it pissed me off that I was responsible for all these little people younger than me AND I had to clean up after them and my folks. BUT…


It was definitely preparing me for adulthood. I can clean like a champ now. I don’t. But I can. Don’t get me wrong, my house is clean. It just doesn’t all sparkle all the time becase we live life in our home.  We are present in this space.


And it’s taken time for me to get used to this. Now when my bedroom is in awesome condition, the range likely needs scrubbing and polishing. When the range is all dolled up, the floors need mopping. So the floors get mopped and then the windows are hazy with nose and fingerprints. And that’s ok. I am only willing to do so much each day because we live life…


And we are allowing our children to live life. What an interesting life with tweens, life is! So I am relatively new to this whole tween thing. And in less than six months, we will have a teen, too. Weird. I don’t feel this old. But this is not about me.


As my daughter enters the space that will one day involve menses, it’s actually not her I think about regarding the fertility cycle. It’s my son.


And then I start thinking about how we approach raising boys as a culture. Some things I can safely include within our family and others I cannot.


From my observations, when girls begin experiencing hormonal rises and falls, as a society, we give them the “excuse” of nearing menses. When boys begin experiencing hormonal rises and falls, as a society, we call it a “bad attitude.” Why?


I am not going to treat my son like the enemy just because he doesn’t pass an egg and bleed it out every 25-32 days. Even though it may feel like it at times. I am going to give him the same respect to be emotional and confused about the ups and downs as I am giving my daughter.


Will this make him a wimp? No more than my daughter will be a wimp. Because I talk with them and I let them know that these are normal waves that ebb and flow and…wait for it… that they must suck it up and move on with life. Yes. I tell them they have to suck it up. OK. So I usually use nicer words like, “please get yourself together because life moves forward whether you want it to or not.” Usually I use nicer words.
And I teach them to clean. No one ever taught me. I had to figure it from parental dissatisfaction. Cleaning is great for thinking and reflecting. And it helps take some of the load off of me, too.