It’s as if my veins are infused with pure, crimson rage. And
the only way for that rage to get out is to gradually, over three to five days,
crawl its way out of my vagina.
Maybe it’s the aging process as I chug along the slow train
to menopause, or the fact that kids make everything a little more intense, or
that my period itself is way worse since having children. Whatever the cause, PMS
has become unbearable.
You must know when it's coming so you can
prepare. I enter pertinent info, like rage/shame/despair spirals, the first and
last day of my period and the mysterious one-day emotional shitstorm that
occurs halfway through my cycle into a handy little app on my phone.
Why do I need to do this if I know it happens every single
month? Well, since becoming a mom, I can generally only remember the last 24 to 48 hours at a time. I feel like the guy in Memento, but instead of tattoos
everywhere, I have peanut butter stains on my shirt and Frozen stickers on my
boobs. Keeping track of my period reminds me of what is coming and why I have
the urge to karate chop everyone who crosses my path for a few days each month.
Stock up for your battle. Have whatever
menstrual paraphernalia you need, as well as any special dietary necessities
like chocolate, wine or Valium on hand. Shop for these things ahead of time, or
better yet Amazon Prime yourself a PMS survival kit. The last thing you want is
to be stuck without armor for the physical and emotional aspects of your
3. Warn your allies
Each month, when I feel the seeds of
PMS sprouting, I give my husband a heads up. “Don’t let me try to have any
serious talks with you,” I remind him. He nods his head solemnly, bracing
himself for the days ahead.
Just like bears are drawn to menstruating women, so too are my children
Try and line up some extra childcare if at
all possible. Even the sweetest and mellowest of children become bothersome
during these trying times. Just like bears are drawn to menstruating women, so
too are my children. Inevitably they will wake up extra needy and cranky on my
worst PMS days. I will snap at them and decline
reenacting scenes from their favorite movies. Mere moments later I will
chastise myself, descending into a guilt/rage tornado.
If you can’t get extra help, deploy the TV.
5. Hunker down
Unless you are an extreme extrovert, stay
the hell away from people during your most vulnerable days. Do not go to the
grocery store, the mall or anywhere that crowds converge. If at all possible,
stay in bed watching "Gilmore Girls," blanketed by a thin layer of chocolate
wrappers. Wait for the storm to pass.
6. Have perspective
Like teething, night waking and potty
training, this too shall pass. In 10 to 30 years, your periods will cease,
leaving you barren, moody and dry as the Sahara. But the PMS? That will pass.
7. You are not alone
Remember: the battle is lonely, but
you are not alone (even if you are fortunate enough to actually be alone).
Millions of menstruating women walk in furious, despondent solidarity with you.
They shudder with agitation as they wait in an endless line for their coffee. They’ve
locked themselves in the bathroom, pretending their kids aren’t pounding on the
door with their grubby little paws.
Check in with your friends and see if they, too, are
experiencing increasingly worse bouts of PMS. If they are, call in their
empathy during your dark days and offer yours to them when they are in need.
Trade war stories. Sync up your cycles and have PMS play dates. We’re in this