As promised in an earlier post, this blog is not only about happy positive experiences. It is also about those moments of struggle and frustration.
Last weekend was one of the latter for me, and naturally, it spilled over to the rest of the family. The cause – something many will recognise but would never wish upon another woman – the dreaded PMS.
How can hormones at a particular time of the month play such havoc in the life of someone who is otherwise completely content with life, doing work she loves, surrounded by people she loves? How can they make her want to shout and fight, to want to run for the hills, to want to hide in a cave, the deeper and darker the better? And how can they even dare to mess with her the way they do and then have the gall to take her through a guilt trip in the aftermath of the storm and fury?
This had to have been the very worst PMS weekend I have ever experienced. Two days of overwhelming sensitivity taking turns with a rocky temper triggered by the tiniest thing – any mother can tell you that requests from children grow in inverse proportion to a mother’s ability to fulfil said requests at a given point in time. A tongue that refused to be leashed until finally, I had to run for a cave – the bathroom. Luckily, it was a weekend and a patient husband was present to take over the home front.
In the darkness, I waged a lone battle against the larger than life monster as it tried to take control of my every thought, word and deed. I pulled out every mantra of defence from my innermost being – deep breaths, crying, angry foot- stamping, chanting, yoga poses, homeopathy, big gulps of water, slow teeny sips of water. Each arrow pierced the skin of the monster, but couldn’t bring it down.
Finally, I gave up and just sat there in the darkness, watching the monster. I was determined to stay there and make no contact with another human until the hormones decided to calm it down. And after a while, once I no longer felt the urge to lash out, I emerged from my cave.
All is well…..until next month!
Now, for the streaks of light – out of the darkness, came a realisation.
I need a strategy to deal with the monster.
Firstly, I need to develop the ability to recognise the monster as it begins to rear its ugly head, not after it has had its day in the sun. Once I have that part nailed, I need to let go of all plans and declare a two day holiday so that I can retreat and watch the monster into oblivion. Of course, this is not always practical, but I am sure my family will be willing to co-operate if it means saving ourselves a whole lot of unnecessary angst. And with home education, where living and learning are so enmeshed, I don’t have to worry about the kids missing out on stuff when I declare two days off. With time, I have realised they are learning as much without me in the picture as when I am around. And with daughters, there can be no greater learning than watching their mother learn to deal peaceably (that is the hope anyway) with hormonal swings and changes.
Keeping in mind that PMS is a temporary phase is key. It does not define me as a person. I may not be able to control the hormones, but I definitely have the power to temper my reactions with awareness and gentleness. Beating myself up for less than ideal behaviour post the episode is pointless too. It just delays the next phase in the cycle – one filled with love and positivity.
This too shall pass. Sometimes, the best choice is to sit it out.