Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Reminder: You're only human

I've heard that phrase plenty of times. I don't know what it is about me, and maybe women in general, but I've noticed we try to do it all. Commercials in the '80s pushed the idea when moms were going back to the workplace and advertisers were marketing things like pumps you could also play basketball in. And I'm sure the intentions were good, despite slightly sexist undertones. Regardless, it seems to be universally known that women try to take everything on.

2:30 in the morning the day
 before Halloween, I was
 hot gluing L.'s hat for her
 costume. Sleep was not even
 an option in my mind.
It's difficult to say no. No one likes disappointing others. In my case, I try to be as good of a mother as possible, which means avoiding any form of mom guilt. I work a full-time job in which the last month, I was working six-day weeks. And, when it comes to the house, after moving in, sleep was such a back-burner priority, it was a source of guilt when there were boxes still left unpacked, yet I was tucking in for the night.

This mindset had to stop. First of all, I can't change the fact that there aren't enough hours in the day to do everything I should do or want to do. Secondly, I don't think anyone was expecting me to accomplish everything as quickly as I set myself up to in my mind.



Moral: Preteens have
it pretty damn
tough.
That's when I got my reminder. My monthly visitor. The only thing every girl who reads  "Are You There God? It's me, Margaret" really remembers about the book. (My mom could tell you the story of how I read the book when I was too young to really understand what was going on and wore a belt with a dishtowel awkwardly placed over my '80s stirrup pants after reading it. I've heard they've since changed that reference.)

Despite being agnostic, I went to a private Christian school for eight years. But I do remember stories from the bible, including learning during the sixth grade girls-in-one-room, boys-in-the-other session that, No. 1, if you got your period, you could no longer be an orphan in the Broadway production of "Annie" according to a short film we watched about our changing bodies; and, No. 2, Original Sin was the reason women get their periods. Thanks, Eve.

Don't do it, Eve!
Do you even
know how awkward
it is to stifle a
cramp-induced
wince of pain
at work?
Hoping not to get too much into a religious discussion, I do have to ask: What the hell is that crap about? I'd like to go with the whole science thing as an answer to why for one week a month, I'm as close as one can get to being a loose cannon, followed by a week of whining about the pain of someone wringing my uterus as if it were a wet dishtowel.

Further in the book of Genesis, we read about God sending a rainbow after reacting to something in, oh, the same way one with PMS and the power to control the weather would react and sending a flood to kill everyone. I've thought about it, too. People who hold me up in traffic -- flood 'em! People who can't get off their cell phones long enough to order at the counter in front of me -- flood 'em! People who give me dirty looks in stores when I hand my child a cell phone while waiting in line so she doesn't scream her head off -- flood, fire, whatever smiting actually means, all of the above!

Anyway, God sent a rainbow after that PMS-like overreaction. A rainbow! What do humans women get after Eve makes one tiny mistake? A monthly visitor that ruins nice underwear when we lose track of the date (or can't get our bodies on a schedule to begin with), gives us (and our immediate families) two weeks of hell, and pretty much makes life inconvenient, as if bathroom breaks weren't already a nuisance for moms.

But, I had a Midol-inspired moment when I got said visitor the other day. I felt it happen and ran to Target  to get supplies I knew I wouldn't be able to find right away when I got home. As I used the restroom following my purchase, I thought to myself, "Well, look at that. I DO bleed! I am human after all!"

If you order Bottomless chips to go
at Chili's, it's worth it. Especially
during the week of your period, FYI.
It was a reminder to me that I'm only human. In the midst of running around for Halloween, trying (and failing) to accomplish my 31 Days challenge, eating like a fiend to combat stress/hormones, moving, working crazy hours and trying to make everyone happy, I had forgotten this. I bleed just like everyone else. I have flaws. I can only expect the best I can do, not the best, period (no pun intended). In a way, it was my own rainbow-reminder. I instantly calmed down. Again, the Midol may have had something to do with it. But, nonetheless, I relaxed. I consciously took pressure off myself to hold everything I do to this unattainable high standard for perfection.

So, next time you women get your monthly visitor, Aunt Flo, the Crimson Tide, the mensies or your interobang (look it up, it's a much more appropriate punctuation mark to describe a period), look at the situation as a reminder to slow down.

As Billy Joel put it, "You're only human, you're allowed to make your share of mistakes."

The fiance (who earned major points for letting me dress him up), L. and myself
at Halloween paying tribute to our favorite movie, "Mary Poppins."