to start us off with PMS WEEK here at silly = sane, i've pilfered an idea from the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Department of Homeland Security. why? because if you're like our family, the home comes near to a war zone about once a month. and even if it's not "that time of the month," let's face it – parenting young kids can get yer dander up (incidentally, there will be more on old sayings such as "yer dander" later this week).
sometimes children (ok, and husbands) can be a little oblivious to what we feel certain is perfectly obvious: that our insides are starting to flip onto our outsides. but while our skin may feel like it's crawling, we do in fact look perfectly normal. we have not changed color. so there is a bit of help we need to give our families to help them recognize the warning signs.
another successful strategy for our family has been to create a Google calendar (color-coded red of course) to track the expected arrival of the topic at hand so as to anticipate when Crazy Momma might be in the house. this helps lay the groundwork for a defensive response. PMS is a nice enemy to have in that it's somewhat predictable. but that doesn't mean there won't be surprises. it wouldn't be much of an enemy otherwise. so it's good to be ready for battle at a moment's notice.
the key here is not to see yourself or your biology as the enemy. the only enemy is hormonal havoc – when things go too far. and for that, there are various conditions of defensive readiness:
- DEFCON 5: normal peacetime readiness
- the risk of hormonal havoc is low. life continues on its normal track. the kids are still going to whine and make you late getting them to school or music class. but that's standard operating procedure. expectations of duty and respect always apply. but spilled milk is not worth crying over (yet).
- DEFCON 4: normal, increased intelligence and strengthened security measures
- the risk of hormonal havoc is guarded. there's a marked increase in sigh-and-mumbling chatter. but there's no real cause for concern yet. throw in an extra thank-you and hug and you're good.
- DEFCON 3: increase in force readiness above normal readiness
- the risk of hormonal havoc is elevated. vacuuming takes on unusual importance. clumsiness increases. preparatory actions are taken: diaper bag is packed and ready for mobilization. pizza delivery is put on speed-dial. messes are quickly cleaned. coffee is hand-delivered.
- DEFCON 2: further increase in force readiness, but less than maximum readiness
- the risk of hormonal havoc is high. in fact, it's probably happening. we are in the red zone and deploying evasive maneuvers. meals come out of a bag or box. coffee comes from the hand of a barista. four walls are avoided with frequent errands and outings. children's screen time sees a marked uptick.
- DEFCON 1: maximum force readiness
- the risk of hormonal havoc is severe. if you've reached this defensive readiness condition, it's already too late. all that remains is to address the fallout. take the children and run. (but hand mommy that cup of coffee before you do.)
what about you? do you face the same battle? what strategies have worked for your families? what's in your anti-insanity arsenal?