Hormonal Swings

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Regular commenter Earl said the other day, in response to a discussion about how women’s hormonal cycles can lead to some pretty poor decisions (cheating, feuding, drama, and more),  some good advice to keep in mind when hormones surge:

“Not everything is about what your menstrual cycle is telling you.”

I had to laugh out loud at that one! Nailed it!

Now granted, it took me YEARS to figure this out. Not that I was cheating, but like clockwork I would find myself stewing and snappy two to three days before “Aunt Flo” arrived, and despite it happening every single month I would be caught off guard and say things I sincerely regretted a few days later when, “Duh.”

But at the time, I swore whatever I was feeling was the honest to God truth. I would even call it my, “moment of clarity!” (Cringe.) When that 24-hour or so moment struck, I swear I would have at times thrown a car across the yard if I could have managed it. I was snarly, grumpy, moody, glum, and prone to argue. Not good. Not good for me, and not good for those around me.

Now one would think it would be obvious pretty quickly, after a year or two, but no. I did not start to put two and two together until I was in my late 30’s. After nearly 20 YEARS of experiencing the same month after month.

Maybe I am just slower than most, but I would guess many women’s hormonal cycles get the better of them a few days a month. Much to their later regret. But the key is — it doesn’t have to!

That’s right, tracking your cycle is easier than ever thanks to apps, smart phones, and gizmos. If you prefer to keep your private life private, there is always the old fashioned calendar method.

Trust me, life gets a whole lot easier when one can identify, “this is probably hormones, don’t make a big deal” versus, “I hate my life and want to blow it up just ’cause!”

Now I have heard women make excuses, that they can’t help it, that they can’t control themselves, that other just have to accept it. No. This is simply not fair and is a very immature way to think. While it’s true you can’t stop or control the cycle, you CAN stop or control yourself. (Yes, you can.) Hormones are not an excuse to wreak havoc on those around you, possibly causing long term damage to your relationships — romantic, work, friends, and family.

If this sounds all too familiar, if you find yourself coming off the rails once a month, try tracking your cycle. Challenge yourself to take a deep breath when you feel off and ask yourself, “Could this be hormones?” Practice some self-control and self-mastery. You’ll be glad you did. And you’ll find it gets much easier with time.

Trust me, doing so makes life much smoother and more tranquil for you and everyone else.

What do you think? Please share in the comments.

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Working Mom Blues

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Even though I work from home, I still face many challenges other working moms do, and some unique to work from home moms.

For example, my youngest is home sick today, and was yesterday as well. And that’s the struggle of being a working mom — it doesn’t matter that I am under the gun with a big deadline this week, and had an important meeting I had to cancel, and have a long to-do list of mission critical stuff otherwise. It all screeches to a halt, or a slow crawl at best.

I am not sure how moms who work in an office do it — I can’t imagine I would be able to hold down a traditional job and take off as many days a year as kids get sick. I wonder how many working moms are forced to make this choice — send your kids to school sick or send them to daycare sick. Neither is ideal, both for the sick child of course, and because this only spreads the illness around to other kids.

If I worked at a traditional job and had to take the day off, I’d go without pay but at the same time I would not be trying to do what I have been for the past two days… try to work in bits and spurts anyway. When you work from home and run your own business, there really is no “on the clock and off the clock.” Or one has to be really strict with themselves, because it’s just too easy for those lines to blur.

Not that I am not thankful I can make a living from home. At least I am not working 9 to 5 and then commuting on top of that three hours a day. I know many working moms face that situation, and I can only imagine what that schedule must be like. Grueling.

I suppose what I am feeling and am trying to say is being a working woman and being a working mom are two different worlds. And the worlds “working” and “mom” don’t always fit together so well.  In fact, I often feel like I am doing a half a$$ job at both.

I know being a SAHM has its challenges too, everything does (and I am not implying being a SAHM is not a job in itself, clearly it is!) But part of me wishes when my kids had a sick day, I could just spend it nurturing them without feeling anxiety about all the things I need to get done for work that I can’t, yet also feeling guilty for not being able to simply be in the moment with a sick kiddo either. To add to it, I am now sick myself.

It’s times like this I really resent who ever sold society on this working mom bit and that because of that I was raised to think I somehow could do it all, and all at once, and not skip a beat, and if I couldn’t I was some kind of a failure. I’d really like to slap that someone (or multiple somebody) right now! Instead I write about it, push back on the crazy or at least call it out, because somebody has to, right?

Anyway, thanks for listening to my rant. It helps to get it off my chest. (Not that I really had time to write it but better than just stuffing the emotions, or blowing up, hopefully my taking the time to write this not only helped me feel better, but will help someone else, too.) This too shall pass. Back to double duty, and really I am just going to do my best and try to feel while maybe not perfect, it is enough, and try to have a cheerful heart despite the current situation. As I often remind myself when I get in a funk, things really could be a whole lot worse (My child could have a serious illness instead of a minor one, I could have no work or income and we could be losing our home, etc.) and for that I am thankful they are not!

What do you think? Please share in the comments.

The Enjoli Girl

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I may be dating myself, but when I was a young girl there was a perfume commercial with a very catchy jingle that pretty much summed up the times.

It went:

“I can bring home the bacon

Fry it up in a pan

And never, ever let him forget he’s a man

Cause I’m a woman

Enjoli!”

Granted by today’s standards this song symbolizing the liberated modern woman  ideal of that time almost sounds sexist. Were it rewritten today it would likely leave out the frying things up in a pan, or never letting him forget he’s a man, but trust me, at the time it was edgy.

Fast forward to today. Studies show women are more dissatisfied with their lives than they were in generations past, marriage rates at at a 93-year low, depression and other mental health issues are at all time highs, and things haven’t quite panned out the way they were supposed to.

So now what? When do we stop demanding more rights and concessions and change, and start realizing that’s not the answer? Realize that maybe the plan was flawed, and trying to have it all and all at once was actually a set up to fail?

I wish I knew how to fix this big old mess. I think talking about it openly would be a great a start. And admitting what was supposed to be the answer has actually led to other problems, more problems, unforeseen problems.

Trouble is, it’s taboo to talk about such things (feminism a fail?!?! What?!?!), but if we don’t talk about it, how can we understand it? If all the changes over the past forty or so years haven’t led to a better, happier life for women (or men or kids), where do we go from here?

What do you think? Please share in the comments!

 

 

Marriage Minded

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Ladies, are you marriage minded? As in, your goal of dating is to find a suitable mate and to marry, or if you are already married to be so for life?

Sometime in the 1970’s the social contract on marriage changed. It went from something that everyone involved expected to be for the long haul to something people expected to do, “until we don’t feel it” or “As long as we’re happy.” People admit to walking down the aisle knowing they can divorce if things don’t “work out.” In essence, marriage has been reduced to little more than going steady, another stop in the serial monogamy journey. This is not being marriage minded!

At the same time young women were urged to put off marriage into her 30’s. The advice is likely based on knowing young women in their late teens to early 30’s have youth and beauty on her side. If she’s married, some argued, she might “miss out” on maximizing on those assets. In reality, pairing up is much like the game of musical chairs. Over time there are fewer options left, until there are no options at all except a few broken chairs. Many women who followed this advice found sure enough, finding a man interested in marriage in the 30’s is not as easy as it would have been younger. Such women often regret not being marriage minded younger.

And finally, if one is going to marry, she should have her head on straight first about what marriage is really about. It’s about building a life, a partnership, raising a family,  leaving a legacy — not something that is based on feelz and being “in love” and “always happy” and “fulfilled” and all the rest. Not that marriage can’t have those things, but they are not the rock to build it on. Understand marriage is a long game, and not every day of it will be fun, fulfilling, and exciting. Lots of it will just be regular, uneventful, maybe even boring. Get that regular, uneventful, and maybe even boring is GOOD because that means things are going ok, there is no crisis, and that’s something to be thankful for!

What do you think? Please share in the comments!

Why Can’t We All Just Be Honest?

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I bumped into my former neighbor Vixen this weekend and she got me caught up on her love life latest. Not much has changed is the short story.

As she described things, how being torn between the nice guy who is there for her and the bad boy who isn’t, I realized she is a living example of the AF/bb model.

So I explained the theory to her, that some say for most of the month women seek comfort, security, and good guy qualities. But during the ovulation window they might go for the bad boy type. And how women seem to want both, steady Eddie and Harley McBaddy.

Her eyes lit up. “Exactly!” She said. “Why can’t that be ok? Why can’t we all just be honest about it?”

It was a question I couldn’t answer, not being a guy myself, but based on what I have observed it never seems to work out that way.

Perhaps in years past women like Vixen still would have sought this dual mating strategy, but rather than try to openly live it out as women do today, they would have kept things far more covert.

And maybe there in lies the rub — in pushing for the ability to openly pursue a dual mating strategy women have in turn dismantled its underpinnings. Not that an AF/bb strategy was ever very stable but it seems it was far more so under wraps than out in the open.

And it makes sense. Why would the guys go along?

Granted, I am not saying every woman runs around three days a month. Then or now. Hardly. But even those who don’t may feel temptation stronger at certain times of the month than others, especially in her reproductive age years, and if so it’s likely this dynamic at play.

Women openly pursuing this strategy today seem to end up baby mommas. And that likely is the natural outcome.

In any case I found Vixen’s question interesting. The answers I think, are a whole lot more complex.

What do you think? Please share in the comments.

Happy Mother

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My youngest made a book for me at school for Mother ‘s Day. It’s made up of short sentences where she filled in the blanks. She wrote:

My mother is as beautiful as “a purple unicorn.” (She originally wrote a rose, crossed that out, and then upped it to purple unicorn.)

My mother is as sweet as “candy.” (Awwwww.)

My mother is as smart as “an elephant.” (Maybe I never forget things? Lol.)

My mother is as special as “God.” (Wow! I almost cried as she looked at me beaming. Then I said, “Oh honey,  I am so glad you think so, but I think I may be just a little bit less!” Lol.)

Both my kids have such sweet hearts and they love their momma. Feeling very blessed.

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

Consenting Adults?

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This article featuring real life stories of college age consent (or not) stories is a good illustration of just how blurry the lines can be.

In some cases consent is explicitly asked. Some welcomed being asked. Some found it unsettling, unnecessary, even off-putting. Even when directly asked, some still said yes when they wanted to say no.

In other cases no verbal consent was asked. Again sometimes that was ok. Sometimes it was not. Sometimes it was ok at the time but later not. Sometimes it wasn’t ok and that was ok. Sometimes it wasn’t ok but happened anyway.

In some stories one person wanted to say no but never actually did for various reasons. Out of politeness. Out of shame. Out of inexperience. Out of guilt. Out of habit. Out of resignation. In many cases the other party may have had no idea. And in other stories they probably did.

Some stories are confusing. Sad. Painful. Tragic. And some are good stories. Good experiences.

Overall they are a good illustration of how consent is not as easily defined, understood, given, or received as campus posters or talks may make it seem. In many stories the person themself is unsure if they consented or not, wanted to or not, were violated or not. Often the other person had no idea. Was never told of those thoughts.

Some stories were from the other side — of people who later wondered if they had missed signs of non-consent? If they inadvertently had violated someone? And in some cases how they knew they had.

As I read these stories one thought I kept having was how most of them could have been avoided by avoiding the situations and conditions under which they occurred. How not taking certain steps, actions, or crossing certain lines could have prevented them. And how maybe talking to young people about that might be the discussion that’s not happening.

What do you think? Please share in the comments.

 

 

Help For Burned Out Mommies

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As regular commenter Stephanie recently wrote, as Mother’s Day approaches, she’s seeing more and more posts on social media bemoaning being a mom.

It’s a common phrase, “Being a mom is hard.” And for sure, there can be hard moments. But if you find yourself feeling it’s hard most of the time, chances are you may be a burned out mommy.

Many times it isn’t the mom part, as much as it is being spread too thin otherwise. Take a look at your schedule, are there some things on it that you feel you “have” to do when really they could be optional? Ask what you could pare back to take some of the pressure off.

If you are a working mom, chances are that alone may be pushing you over the edge. Over the past few generations it has become the norm that most moms are also working moms.  Basically that’s like working two jobs. No wonder these moms are so stressed out! If this sounds all to familiar, it might be time to reexamine. Before you say you can’t afford it, ask yourself what it is costing you, your kids, and your relationship to continue. Could you work less? Cut back on expenses? There are many articles on this topic online, and you might be amazed to find after you subtract out what it’s costing you to be a working mom, you aren’t really earning as much money as you thought. In any case, this is not meant to add guilt. Rather it’s meant to relieve it — maybe it’s not YOU, maybe it’s that you are trying to do too much?

Likewise, things like extracirricular activities and sports can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. You may feel like your kids NEED to do these things, but I would bet they would rather not do so much if that meant having more quality time with you and a happier, less stressed out mom! When such activities aren’t fun anymore, it may be a sign to take a break.

Maybe you are a stay at home mom? In this case, one reason I see moms getting burned out is because they spend TOO much time at home. If this is the case, look into low cost kid-friendly activities in your area. Getting out of the house to go to story time at the library or the local park doesn’t cost anything, but it helps break up monotony and not only gets your kids around other kids, you’ll find yourself meeting new people who you might share common interests with.  Sometimes just packing up cranky kids and going for a drive can be enough to snap everyone out of a bad mood. At the time it may seem like more work, but trust me it’s often a lot easier than staying home with stir crazy kiddos.

One more possible cause of mommy burnout can be a lack of planning. If you find yourself living in reaction to the day rather than feeling in control of it, this may be the cause. Sitting down once a week to map out meals, a few craft or play projects, some outings, as well as the things that need to get done like shopping and things around the house can help tame an unmanageable schedule. Knowing where your day is going right from the start can take a lot of stress off and help make sure all that needs to get done is, and that there is time allotted to do so.

Likewise, remember to take time to nurture yourself. Practice good self care: Eat well, get enough rest, make sure you are moving, and do little things you love to refuel your energy tanks so you can in turn nurture others.

In the end, while it may not feel like it at the time, the years your children are living at home will pass quickly. And those years will never come again. Fill them with fun times, happy memories, joy, and play. Not only will you find more days being happy mother days, you’ll be giving your kids a gift that will pay off for life — a happy childhood.

What do you think? Do you have any suggestions or insights on coping with mommy burnout? Found ideas that worked for you? Seen other people do something different that worked well? Please share in the comments!

Male Privilege

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“Male Privilege is having lived one of the most dangerous and tiring existences in history and still being told that men have always had it easy.”

The quote above from an anon Internet source got me thinking… do women really want true “male privilege?”

The privilege to work long hours doing dangerous tasks requiring hard physical labor in all sorts of weather? Like my friend’s husband who is an electrical lineman, climbing poles to repair broken lines even in the middle of a storm with driving rain and 100 mph winds so the heaters and fridges and tv’s still work?

Or the privilege to be sent to war, drafted if need be? Like so many who fought and were either permanently physically or mentally disabled or killed in wars past and present, personally paying to protect the safety and liberty of all?

The privilege of being expected to throw oneself in harms way selflessly and sacrificially in the face of any and all natural disaster, strife, intruders, danger or threat of bodily harm?

The privilege of never being able to show pain, or weakness, or illness? Of having to remain stoic on the outside regardless of injury, hurt, fear, angst, depression, doubt, or other internal turmoil? Of knowing not doing so will more likely be met with repulsion or ridicule than support?

I could go on, but hopefully the point is made. Men don’t have it easier, they have it different. Any privilege they have comes at an equal or greater price. Perhaps there are perks to being male, but there are also heavy responsibilities. I doubt most women would truly make the trade.

I’d wager many women upset about male privilege and inequality only want what they see as the upside of being male, not the downside. But it doesn’t really work like that, even for the most privileged men, now does it?

What do you think? Please share in the comments!

 

Choose Your Counsel Carefully

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Ladies, when it comes to matters of the heart, it’s essential to choose your counsel carefully.

Whether you are looking for advice on your marriage, getting divorced, getting married, a romantic interest, or how to navigate the dating scene chances are almost everyone has a take on the “right” thing to do.

However, I have found most of the time that advice is exactly the opposite of good counsel! While it may be well meaning and well intended, if it steers you in the wrong direction the results can be disastrous and long lasting.

My advice would be to seek relationship-type counsel from male family members (who can often see through guy-games much better than any woman!) or trusted women older than yourself who are themselves in happy, healthy, long-term relationships. While they may not always tell you what you want to hear, the fact that they themselves are successfully navigating these waters, even if they have not faced your particular situation, suggests they have the experience to guide you to success.

Likewise, avoid the counsel of friends, family, and co-workers who themselves are not doing well or have not done well on the relationship front. While such women (and men!) can often seem to know what they are talking about, and even speak with authority, chances are their advice won’t work any better for you than it is working for themselves.  Especially so if their love life is a constant hot mess!

You see, advice geared toward single and married women today is often exactly the opposite of what works. And this bad advice is much more commonly available and espoused than good advice.

Often when a gal is struggling in her marriage, for example, she’ll find far more voices of support for her to just leave and move on than she will encouraging her to work things out.

Likewise, single women are often given advice that leaves them sitting by the phone wondering if a guy will call back or brokenhearted than advice that will lead to a stable, solid, successful match.

There’s a saying in the investment world that to win, one should do the opposite of what everyone else is doing. I think that advice can apply here as well. Because let’s face it, there are far more people in failed, failing, or miserable relationship situations than there are ones who are not. Doing and being different is likely the secret to those who find success.

So next time you find yourself wondering what to do about a relationship issue, remember to choose your counsel carefully.  Listen to those who are truly “winning” in love. Often their advice will involve patience, sacrifice of instant gratification for long-term results, grace, forgiveness, self-discipline, and other ways you can improve the situation on YOUR part, rather than a focus on, “what he needs to do.”

Perhaps the hardest part about choosing your counsel carefully is that the ones most worth listening to may say what you least want to hear. In fact, that alone may be a good sign their advice is on the right track. If it’s the opposite of 90 percent of the advice on love and relationships you see, hear, or read today, it’s likely worth pondering. If it’s the same old stuff you hear at every turn, beware!

I wish somebody would have said these things to me in my youth.  And I wish I would have been more discerning who I sought counsel from.  Most of my “advisers” weren’t doing well in relationships then, and no surprise they still aren’t today! Sadly, I can’t turn back time, but I can try to share what I have learned the hard way in hopes it helps others avoid the same path.

Today I am very selective in whose counsel I keep. I’ll take advice from someone who is succeeding over the advice of someone who is not any day! I would suggest you do the same!

What do you think? Please share in the comments!