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My hormones ate the housework, the cheese and, possibly, the children

Every time I read that some male scientist has proven that PMS does not exist, I must laugh and laugh and laugh….and then sulk. Either that scientist does not live with a woman, has never known any women, or only socializes with those who project sainthood while in company, gnawing their couch pillows and eating their pounds of chocolate in private.

The older I get, the more I am just a mere pawn of my hormones, dust on the wind of my cyclical fate. No, the devil didn’t make me do it; the hormones did. They determine my mood, my energy, my libido, my good hair days, my behavior…my appetite for cheese and meat.

Where I am in the cycle means the difference between running out to greet my guy, just home from work, with kisses and cute monikers like Sugar Buns, Sexy Face and Pumpkin Head, or hiding behind the front door with an iron skillet in hand, cackling like the witch I am.

My bed is my best friend, and I will clothes-line anyone on my way when running to embrace it at 8:30 p.m. Every month I begin to yearn anew for one weekend alone to reconnect, a staycation where I stay in it for at least 24-to-72 hours straight. I’m not just TIRED. I am, to quote my mimicking husband, ”T-R-D - tarr’d!” Weary to the bone, my southern accent manifests itself in “ow’er” (hour), “toe-lit” (toilet) and “ire’un” (iron). I don’t yell at the kids anymore; I holler at them.

Because I am so T-R-D and resentful about it, my ambition to struggle against the constant state of near-collapse in this home vanishes, but, proportionately, the need to complain about it increases. I roll listlessly back and forth on the couch and upbraid, “Look at this mess! How can you guys bear to live in it? Doesn’t it bother you?” Then I roll over and read my self-help manual: Half a Month to a New You!

The symptoms have gotten so much worse as I’ve gotten older; someday they’ll be permanent. I blame it, at least in part, on my pregnancies. The first trimester of each drove me to insanity via an inundation of hormones, bringing at least one huge spectacle of which I was the star. I have never fully recovered my equilibrium.

For instance:

1) During my second pregnancy, I spent approximately two hours scream-lecturing my husband on the injustice of this whole “two to tango” business. It may take two to make a sweet bundle of joy, but only one of us will look like all that joy has been stored in our bubbly thighs and then sucked out of our flappy skin through our now enlarged feet. And it’s not the ones who care least about and get judged less on their looks — no! Women’s bodies are irreversibly stretched, stamped, enlarged and shriveled in the most unseemly way in the most unseemly places.

Men should have various body parts get flabby, wrinkle up or shrink every time they father a child. That’s called e-qua-li-ty.

2) During pregnancy with my youngest daughter, I challenged my husband to a fist fight. He did not accept.

3) During my last pregnancy I became crazy jealous of another pregnant woman. She had the audacity to confide in my husband that like me she was eight weeks pregnant. When I found out, I told him plainly with officious repetition that I was the only pregnant woman he should EVER care about, and what was she doing broadcasting her pregnancy to some near-stranger anyway? The poor man had to leave the house for a while because I was so “unreasonable.”

I still think I was justified. And I would have challenged that audacious, man-stealing pregnant lady to a fist fight, but I was pooped after yelling at Matthew.

I’ll be frank; I became a real Mama Jekyll, Mrs. Hyde. And Mrs. Hyde still comes around once a month for a week or two (gets longer every time). I howl and holler, eat hamburger patties and cheddar cheese a la carte and go on the rampage…then sleep it off, asking for a report post-nap of damage done.

It’s looking really bad for menopause. I think I’ll buy a lonely mountain cabin in which to stay during my “change of life” until I’m out of the woods, hormonally speaking. Don’t want to scare the grandkids or the neighbors, after all. If PMS is any indication, it’s going to be some ride, and I’ll be real T-R-D afterwards…but civilized again.

We hope.

—   Hillary Ibarra

Hillary Ibarra is a mother of four and a writer at No Pens, Pencils, Knives or Scissors. She has been published multiple times at the humor site Aiming Low. She lives in Arizona where she takes every chance to explore Native American ruins and natural wonders.

Reflections of Erma