Mom’s Cycle Was on the Family Calendar

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HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Lana Hope’s blog Wide Open Ground. It was originally published on December 21, 2013.

I did not realize it was a homeschool thing. Or just a conservative thing. Or unique to some families.

I thought almost every man er family tracked mom’s cycle, and all the daughter’s cycles too.

Libby Anne recently wrote a post on Charting Your (Wife’s) Monthy Cycle. Here’s what she says:

[Michael Pearl] recently advised young husbands to track their wives’ cycles so they would know in advance when their wives were going to go all hormonal and ballistic on them—when it was their time of the month. Most of those who commented responded in horror to Michael’s suggestion, and I was horrified too—but in my case I was also struck by the familiarity.

My father tracks my mother’s cycle on his own personal calendar.

I read her paragraph two times just to see if I read this correctly. Do Libby Anne’s readers not find tracking your wife’s cycle familiar? Every day I learn something new about other families. Because I thought EVERY FAMILY.

As a kid, my dad tracked my mom’s cycle on the family calendar.

Oh yes.

There were a couple of reasons for this. First of all, Bill Gothard actually teaches this. And my dad got validation from Gothard (and as I found out from Libby Anne, from the Pearl’s too).

In his 1986 volume, Research in Principles of Life Advance Seminar Textbookon page 170-171, Gothard suggests “that a man keep track of his wife’s menstrual cycle and use it as a reminder of the sufferings and death of Jesus, then quotes Isaiah 53:4-5. ”

Second, my dad told us that he needed to prepare himself for the worst. He used to joke around, “It’s day 20, it’s time for me to go out of town.” Folks, my mom’s period was on the dang calendar.

Oh, gosh, I was traumatized by it.

By the time I was a teen and had regular cycles,  not only would I not tell my parents when I was having my period, but also I would hide all evidence that I was having it. For example, if I left behind trash in the bathroom trash can, and one or the other of my parents saw it (which did happen, and yes mom watches the trash can apparently), I would be mocked and teased.

So I had to get better and better at hiding it. With the small house and number of people, I’d have to sneak out to dump my trash in the middle of the night because during the day, I could not get the trash out of the house without somebody noticing.

Literally, I was terrified that one of my parents might discover I was having my period because I did not want to go through what my mom did.

Every time I stood up to my mom, Dad asked if I was having my period (as far as this goes, Mom would too). I would want to smack him back and say, “No, Mom was really rude to me.”

Then he’d just say she was having her period, and I should be more nice.

Honestly, yes, crazy

So Libby Anne’s post reminded me that maybe this is crazy logic coming out of certain families, or from certain teachers, such as Bill Gothard and Michael Pearl. But maybe it’s not everyone.

What did your dads do?

9 thoughts on “Mom’s Cycle Was on the Family Calendar

  1. kat @ kindism January 17, 2014 / 3:01 pm

    It wasn’t tracked on the family calendar in the kitchen, it was tracked on a calendar in their bathroom. It was also used as an “alternative” method of birth control. This still makes me uncomfortable.

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  2. Daniel Digby January 17, 2014 / 3:40 pm

    How incredibly strange. Is this a Christian thing?

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    • kat @ kindism January 18, 2014 / 11:14 am

      Not sure about the others, but I’m fairly sure they tracked it for birth control. My parents practiced Christian Science, so hormonal birth control was not really an option. I think they used “barrier methods” and cycle tracking to prevent pregnancy.

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    • Heidi Underhill January 23, 2014 / 6:39 pm

      I am a Christian. The only time I heard of this happening was in a neighborhood home. The Dad and 1 daughter always knew when it was moms time of the month. I didn’t even know what that meant, except that she would be crabby and we should stay out of their way. I was 7 or 8. They brought me to a Liberal Lutheran Sunday school with their daughter, but I think they went to breakfast during Sunday school. I have never heard of any one else, Christian or non Christian doing this. I didn’t even really remember this until I read the article. I find if strange and uncomfortable.

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  3. notleia January 17, 2014 / 4:57 pm

    Oh wow, I’m having sympathy embarrassment so hard for teenage you, hiding your period to avoid teasing. That sounds so awful. I was horribly embarrassed about my period even without anyone commenting on it. I want to borrow a TARDIS and magically appear in the bathroom to help you smuggle the evidence out.

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  4. SunnySide January 18, 2014 / 1:44 pm

    My mom would mark a little star on the calendar when her’s began and ended…just so she knew and she recommended I track, too, just so I would know my body, too. I didn’t know what the marks were til I hit puberty, my brother’s probably never knew. I keep track online now and my SO knows when I had the last/when to expect the next – he has a good memory, we’re both interested in our BC working, and he’s never attributed a mood to my menstruation (I do get weepy sometimes – all the feelings!). He has noticed other symptoms and will remind me that I often get tired or have colder hands before my period – signs I need more iron. I got a good one 🙂

    I do understand your point and can’t imagine being humiliated b/c of normal development/hormone fluctuations (men have them too!), just wanted to kick in that it doesn’t have to be controlling behavior and can just be part of taking care of each other.

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    • Heidi Underhill January 23, 2014 / 6:42 pm

      This is a good point. I have been encouraged to keep track by my doctor. And I need more iron and get super cold before my period, but every month I seem to think it is a strange thing. My husband just genlte reminds me to get some extra rest, drink water and take my iron.

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  5. pennypinchingpeach January 20, 2014 / 8:05 am

    My family didn’t do that publicly. My mom encouraged me to privately keep track of my schedule with a mark of some kind on my own calendar, so that I would know what was normal for me. Most husbands know their wives schedules. Sometimes it is because their birth control method depends on it, but also because that’s just something your mate needs to know. It’s nobody else’s business, unless they are your doctor or health advisor. I keep track now because I need to know my body is working normally, and in case I did wind up pregnant again I wouldn’t be completely clueless talking to doctors. Using that to humiliate people or excuse rotten behavior is ridiculous. I did know other homeschool families who did that, but not mine.

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  6. DoaHF January 23, 2014 / 6:56 pm

    My mom encouraged me to track mine for personal purposes (and for future husband’s knowledge or something…?) As far as I know no one knew my mom’s cycle. In fact, menstruation wasnt even mentioned to the boys in the family. I remember my bro being 16ish and finding out from my dad what “mens” meant because he was confused about women being male…

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