Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Finding joy despite the hormones

Today is just one of those days - and not for any good reason. Or at least, not for any good external reason.

Yes, my little ones were particularly destructive creative this morning while I did school with my oldest. There are legos and bionicles quite literally covering our playroom/schoolroom floor. My two-year-old daughter ate a steady stream of fruit leather and managed to touch at least 98% of everything we own with her sticky hands. When it was time to get dressed, no one wanted to. When it was time to eat breakfast, no one wanted anything we have. When it was time to go to the library, no one wanted to go. When it was time to leave the library, everyone wanted to stay.

But all of that is normal, day-to-day stuff. And yet today, I find myself feeling like just taking one more step, cleaning up one more mess, getting out one more snack... is going to make me snap.

Why? Hormones. Ah, the joys of being a woman.

Yes folks, PMS rears it's ugly head. I'm still not really used to the ups and downs of my cycle and each month it does not fail to surprise me that I spend a day or two feeling.. out of sorts. I spent most of my twenties either on birth control pills (gasp! I know, I know), or trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant (unsuccessful because I have a hormone disorder called PCOS). I spent years having either unnatural, medication induced cycles, or not having regular cycles because of my PCOS. Then I spent a number of years (finally) having and nursing babies. But my daughter turned two in August, and she stopped nursing when she was about 15 or 16 months old. Thanks to a lot of research and changes in my diet (as well as regular exercise), I've been in the ranks of "regulars" to the (often dreaded) monthly visit for a while now. But somehow, I'm not quite used to it.

It occurred to me early on today why I was not feeling like my usual, (mostly) cheerful self. And yet, simply knowing that I'm in the midst of a hormone crash doesn't seem to override its effects. So what is a busy mom to do?

Well, since I don't have any wine or good chocolate in the house, I suppose I will just have to take the advice of one of my favorite authors, C.S. Lewis. No, he didn't exactly have advice for PMS'ing mothers, but he did say something to the effect of (and I'm grossly paraphrasing here), "Fake it till you make it." He wasn't exactly talking about being happy when you want to curl up in a ball with a hot water bottle and a glass of wine. But his advice to those seeking to become righteous (ask, what would a righteous man do, and then act accordingly, and soon you will find you are) seems to apply here. Act like a happy mom, do the things a happy mom would do, and pretty soon, I may just be that happy mom.

I'm not talking, plaster a fake smile on my face and white knuckle it through my day. What I need to do is catch myself in those moments when I feel like blowing up at my kids, or locking myself in my room, and think, "What would a happy mom do?" or at least, "What would I do if I didn't feel like mud?" Then do that. Smile at my children. Take a deep breath when they ask me, again, for another snack when I'm in the midst of doing something else. Hug them when I'm feeling the urge to send them outside and lock the back door (not that I would actually do that, in case that isn't obvious).

And lean on the grace of God. I'm sadly imperfect and flawed through and through. But with His help, I can be a good mother today, even though I don't particularly feel like it.

Fake it till I make it. Breathe. Smile. Enjoy today anyway.


Anonymous said...

Love this post!

Anonymous said...

PS. Congrats about the new job.

Claire said...

Thank you! On both counts :).