Women and mothers are generally the peacemakers of the home. They sooth the hurts, heal the wounds, calm the worries, and fix the problems of their children and husband when they come home from a hard day at work or play. They are nurturers. Then once a month mother changes. She becomes something else. She is upset, pointing out undone chores, and leaking faucets, holding everyone to a higher standard than is generally expected. She complains. Instead of compliments and praise and gratitude, she is pointing out flaws and problems. Instead of soothing our wounds, she just scrubs them, pours on the stinging disinfectant, and tells you to be more careful next time… And then she beats herself up for acting that way.
The world has identified this as a disorder – called pre-menstrual syndrome, because it occurs during the week before menstruation begins. For women who do not track their cycle, it is often the indicator they use to know their period will begin soon. This is a tragically flawed view.
PMS actually stands for the Peak of Maternal Emotions. Calling it peaked acknowledges that it is part of a cycle, a cycle that exists primarily, to allow women to become mothers. Another purpose of this cycle is to aid in the progression of the woman and the family. It is for the betterment of the home.
This is the peak of the cycle for the emotions. It is important to recognize that it is the down phase for the physical body. Our energy will be less. I find it helpful to plan accordingly, by allowing myself more time for sleep, and expecting less in the way of work, projects and exercise to be accomplished. It is neither the peak nor the valley for the mind or spirit.
With the increased emotions we are more aware of our own, our husbands, and our children’s imperfections. And a powerful surge of emotion sends those problems spewing forth from our mind and out our mouth. Satan uses the increased emotions, when he can, to pit us against our husband, children, or others, or to get down on ourselves. We recognize our shortcomings and the follies of those around us more readily. The adversary then has a great opportunity to put us on a negative spin that is hurtful to ourselves or others. Our Mother Bear comes out readily, going after anyone who seems to be inhibiting the forward progress of our home. I have found that for me, my eyes actually become sore, or achy, as in the idiom “sight for sore eyes,” because I am seeing everything as ugly, and problematic.
Along with an appreciation of cycles, a beautiful principles that I have learned from studying permaculture is that the problem is the solution.
It is God’s design that we have this cycle. Therefore, I believe it has a good puropose. We have these heightened emotions and sensitivity for a reason. What am I supposed to do with the angst that builds up as I see all the weaknesses, undone projects and major and minor problems in and around me so clearly? We are to use that clarity, or brutal honesty, as it more often feels like, to motivate us to change. We can use these powerful emotions to evaluate our lives, to see what needs adjusting, what is too much, what is going the wrong direction. The heightened emotions allow us to see those things that are not right in our lives and to experience pain over them so that we can change them. After all, pain is the great motivator.
A note on stewardship, as a woman, a mother, a head of our household I have stewardship to change anything in or about me. I have the stewardship to teach, counsel, and set standards in our home and for our children. I do not have stewardship over the choices of my children or husband. Be aware that leading and influencing others is a fine art that is refined through the study of human nature. We all have the potential to do it, and I believe it is a gift of women to lead our husbands and children to higher standards of goodness and doing right while completely respecting their agency.
For me this is not usually a peaceful time. I work hard to not be unkind to those around me, but I am often a little edgy, brash, and feisty. How does this problem show us a solution? The heightened emotions give a woman the emotional energy needed to confront people and problems that are too difficult to deal with and therefore left ignored for the rest of the month.
I have a dear friend who has been in an emotionally abusive marriage for over 16 years. Her husband is a good man at the core and she loves him, but because of a pornography addiction, and therefore an addicts’ brain, he frequently uses intimidation and anger to hide from his struggles. When he struggles with life he turns to yelling, and saying cruel things to his wife and children. The wife has become submissive and passive due to this intimidation, and generally refrains from or is afraid to express her thoughts and emotions because they are contradicted, and turned against her. However, during her phase of Peak Maternal Emotions, she often does have the emotional energy and exasperation to voice those things that are troubling her, or to hold up a standard in her home, that she cannot usually do. Ironically, her husband recognized this pattern and sought diligently to have her put on medication for her unreasonable PMS. To this woman’s great credit, she stayed true to herself and refused to seek medication.
The sophisticated modern world will tell you that we should be even-keel all the time, but if we observe nature we will see that all biologic systems have ebbs and flows, cycles, highs and lows. We can fight against or be annoyed by the cycles and the inconvenience they cause or we can try to understand their purpose and work with the cycle the way God designed it. The more I have recognized the purpose of the Peak of Maternal Emotions phase of my cycle, the more power I find in being a mother who knows, a powerful, virtuous woman with purpose. That phase still comes with some pain each month. But the pain now brings me to inner soul searching, and prayerful evaluation of my life, which always ends with increased blessings and understanding from God.
And my family life is happier, even during PMS.