PMS Training for Boys: My Sons’ Wives Can Thank Me Later

Posted on July 11, 2011 by


PMS, teachable moment

PMS 101

I start each summer with a couple of groan-inducing “cultural outings” in mind, and this year I was bent on seeing a particular exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. I was told it would be crowded and to get there early, so on the appointed day I was all business: Get up! Get dressed! Eat your breakfast!

None of which was working for Sleeping Beauty: my 13-year-old, whose morning persona would have Attila the Hun fleeing in terror.

Before too long, my coaxing turned into yelling (me), which turned to scathing resistance (him), which turned into “WE’RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE” (me). I then sat on my bed in tears, feeling the failures of both getting us out the door, and dealing with his mood.

Have you guessed yet the real culprit of this implosion? Yes, it was full-throttle PMS. My plans happened to coincide with those couple of days when anything could set the day into a tailspin, never mind a teenager at his utter moodiest.

It’s not always that dramatic, but I can’t seem to get control myself when it is—even less so as I get older.

So in recent months, I’ve decided to enlist the help of some unlikely allies: the very objects of my monthly wrath. My boys are going to deal with some form of PMS for the rest of their lives, I figure—first with me, then with girls around them, then with girlfriends and wives. May as well prepare them while they’re young.

But it’s a balancing act—how much information is enlist their support, but not arm them with their own emotional grenades? My mission is to let them know Mom’s not herself and doesn’t mean to be so…mean. But also that they are never, ever allowed to call me on it in a way that is hurtful, accusatory or disrespectful—or use it to deflect their own culpability.

So far, telling them pretty much just that has been somewhat successful. I had told my son a day or so before that I was sorry for being so argumentative, I just “wasn’t myself, if you know what I mean.” I reiterated that as he gets older and realizes it before I explain, he needs to keep it to himself—no woman will respond well to his proclaiming “You have PMS!” And if he can’t take it, run for cover—but don’t poke the bear. Just Don’t. Poke. The. Bear.

He apologized for his role in whatever that argument was and actually gave me a sympathetic hug. I had a brief moment of mom victory and of woman victory—yes, this is for the greater good, not only for me but for them, and for all the women who know them!

On the museum day, he was too wrapped up in his own mood to care much about my frame of mind. But it didn’t take much to right the ship. He was out on a walk (see: run for cover) and I texted him that I was still not feeling great and probably overreacted. He came back, we went—two hours later than I wanted to, but whatever—and we had a lovely time.

(Image: google images)

Posted in: PMS, Teachable Moment