Puberty and Personal Hygiene: An Embarrassing Flashback

When do kids hit puberty? Well, whenever it is, I remember it well. I was innocently sitting in the back of my parent’s car, sporting a Maggie Simpson t-shirt, when my mother let out the gasp of the century.

“What is that SMELL?!” she practically screamed from the driver’s seat.

I shrugged my shoulders and looked at my brothers, waiting for the confession of enclosed space flatulence. I am not sure if it was my older brother who ratted me out or my mother’s keen sense of smell, but I had body odor. And I had it bad.

After referring to me as smelling like an “old goat” (her exact words), my dear mother turned our vehicle around and took me home to scrub my arm pits and change my clothes. An intense pep talk about personal hygiene and a hefty lather of soap and I was socially acceptable to take on the day.

I have to give her credit. My mother never let us leave the house dirty or disheveled. She took pride in knowing when our family left the house we were clean and put together.

My children just started getting bad breath and I know the awkwardness of acne, b.o. and mystery hair is not that far behind…

I am eager to teach my children the ways of the world, but what happens when they get old enough to wash themselves and it becomes inappropriate of me to peek into the shower make sure they have used soap, shampooed their hair and remembered to rinse?

I still remember a few other lessons my mother taught me in order to be socially and fashionably acceptable. When breaking these commandments, I can almost always hear the old lady’s voice in my head…

#1 Have fun with fashion!  My mother loves to reinvent her hair style and color several times a year, which is apparently genetic. Always privy to new trends, she encouraged me to make a statement with my look. Confidence is key!

#2 Know how to walk in heels. If you can’t walk in them, don’t wear them. I practiced a lot around the house and can strut gracefully in 4 inch heels!

#3 Always wear hose. When I break this rule and venture out bare legged, I can still hear my mother’s voice, “Are you going to a picnic?”

#4 Invest in your skin (care). A product junkie, my mom knows a lot about skin care and might know a little bit about every skin care line in the world! I have to admit, being surrounded by all that product growing up turned me into a mini-product junkie.

As my children get older, I wonder what words of wisdom will stick with them as they grow into to teenagers and adults. I am sure my children will make fun of my outlandish advice, but I know my heart is in the right place!

What advice from your parents has stuck with you over the years?
Do you have tweens, pre-teens or teenagers in your home?

Are you a teacher who has had to educate a student about hygiene?
Do you have an adult child that lives at home that still needs help with their hygiene?
How do you address uncomfortable situations?
Are your kids embarrassed when you talk about hygiene?

Are there any books about puberty that helps kids today? I remember reading, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. by Judy Blume.

(image of deoderant found on, The History of Deoderant by Rachel Mork, retrieved 3/21/11)
(image of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume found on blog, The World According to Renea, retrieved 3/21/11)


Leave a comment
  • I am so not looking forward to dealing with all of that! Lord help me!

Leave a comment