PMS Makes Me A Mean Mommy. Sorry Kids
Most men know that saying “Are you having your period or something?” to a woman is grounds for divorce, or worse. But I may be the only woman left on Earth who doesn’t mind when my partner comes out with this during an argument, because 99 percent of the time he’s hit the proverbial nail on the head. (Indeed I’d welcome a literal nail to the head if it would put me out of my misery.)
My husband knows the method to my madness, at least for 12 to 36 hours each month. And often I need a reminder that, hey, this isn’t the real me up in your face right now attacking your apparent inability to stack the dishwasher properly, this is the pre-menstrual me being held hostage by a gang of violent hormones holding a gun to my head. The Brits got it right when they named it PMT, or pre-menstrual tension: you could cut the tension in our life with a chainsaw when I’m suffering from it.
My poor, poor children, however, have not yet learned the finer points of female reproductive biology. All they know is that, some days, M0mmy absolutely loses it on them at the slightest provocation and supper usually consists of beans on toast.
I don’t need a PMS intervention; I know I have a problem. I just haven’t yet found an effective 12-step recovery plan. Each month, as we approach the dreaded day, I prepare. I offer up lots of cuddles, give heaps of praise, plan distracting activities for us and download new videos to watch. But if there were a foolproof antidote to pre-menstrual conflict, someone would be getting rich off it.
Despite my preparations – physical and mental – something always causes me to lose control: clinginess, defiance, careless spills, toilet trauma, night-waking. This week our boiler broke down for the third week running, and tinkering with it with one hand while pressing redial to the plumber with the other and fending off two whiny, overstimulated girls was more than I could take.
“That’s enough!” I shouted, loud enough that even the plumber came to, before chasing them out to the four corners of the house, stomping and slamming doors like a pre-teen.
“But Mommy,” called the toddler, as gently as I was harsh, “I’m a wabbit.”
I looked out to see a pouty face wearing a rabbit-ear hairband from last Easter. Now we all felt wretched. The baked beans we ate later that evening didn’t help matters.
In an earlier era I might have taken myself off to some sort of red tent to nurse myself through my monthly plight. That seems impractical and unnecessary in this day and age, but as they say, something’s gotta give. “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” did not end well for anyone, least of all the title characters, and so this is a cry for help.
For the sake of my family and myself, I need a PMS makeover. Does anyone out there have an antidote? Who knows, you might get rich off it.