Can we please talk about THAT THING?

by Janelle Hanchett


So last week I didn’t write any blog posts because my computer broke, but the week before I didn’t write any blog posts because I was too pissed off to write.

And what, you ask, happened to piss me off to such an extent?

Well, now, that’s the fun part. Because nothing happened. Nothing at all. Nada.

Unless you count THAT THING. That thing that happens once a month. That thing that turns me, within seconds, into a stark raving mad specimen of humanity – a walking nutjob.

I’m fine. And then OMG I’M NOT.

That thing that makes me want to punch strangers in the throat for chewing too loudly, cry, scream, and eat all simple carbohydrates in a five-mile radius. That thing that makes me question the meaning of life while weeping at a car commercial and screaming at my kids to please STOP MAKING NOISE. To which they respond “Mama, I’m reading.”

Oh yeah. You know what I’m talking about. They call it “PMS.”

For the record, I think that is the stupidest name IN THE WORLD for such a thing.

I have some better ones. More descriptive. Accurate.

Such as: “Pissed off, Maniacal and Starving” or “Pending Marital Separation” or “Psychotic, Melodramatic, and Seething,” or “Pardon My Satanic-nature.” Those are just some ideas.

You think I’m kidding? You think I’m exaggerating? I’m not.

“Pre-menstrual Syndrome…” Bullshit. That sounds so innocuous, like it ain’t that big of a deal. Well I’m here to speak for those of us women who TURN INTO MONSTERS for a few days each month and pretty much have no capacity to change it. I’m always slightly amazed my husband hasn’t left me after that “special time.”

Men, listen up. This shit applies to you too.

At any rate, check it out: once a month, about a week before my period, I’m sitting there minding my own business when all the sudden, out of freaking nowhere, drifts into my reality a dark, cold haze. It enters every cell of my skin, right through to my bones. I feel it sinking in, a discomfort. An irritation. Like a fly buzzing just outside my ear. I feel it course through my veins. An anxiety. An angst. And I want to break things.

When it hits my ears they become more sensitive. When it hits my brain it becomes confused, scattered, anxious. When it hits my eyes they begin to only see the shit that annoys me. They see only negative.

And when it hits my heart, my heart gets heavy. It becomes a thousand pounds. My emotions burst from it in quick flashes of pain and agony and existential contemplation. What IS the meaning of life? Why AM I here? WHY do I yell at my kids so much?


Why am I married in the first place?

Why did I ever get married?

Why do I have kids? Do I like my kids? Why am I so fat? I wish I were 20. Why aren’t I 20?

I need a scone.

And always there’s that FLY. It’s buzzing. It won’t shut up. It MUST SHUT UP.


It’s never shutting up.

It’s here. “People Must Surrender,” because I’m fucking insane. For a few days, I am insane. Women who get PMS like me should get a break from their lives. We should get a handicapped parking spot. We should get special pills and massages and a camp or something with nothing but silent people, trees and hot tubs.

Why? Well, I’ll tell you why. Because once a month:

  1. I am not responsible for the shit that comes out of my mouth. I don’t even know who the fuck is saying it but I KNOW IT AIN’T ME. That bitch is crazy.
  2. I am not responsible for the shit I put into my mouth (which makes me not responsible for the stuff going in or out of my mouth, which is slightly alarming).
  3. I want to crawl in a hole and weep and die, though it’s unclear to me exactly why.
  4. I cannot recall why anything in my life is the way it is and I’m pretty sure it’s ALL WRONG. (But there’s nothing you can do to fix it so don’t even try because it’s never getting better and that’s just the way it is you fucktard.)
  5. I am no use to my husband (because it’s all his fault).
  6. I am no use to my children (because they’re so irritating I can’t spend more than 5 minutes near them).
  7. I am no use to my boss (because it’s hard to think when you suddenly realize your life isn’t worth living).
  8. I am no use in class (because my neighbor’s face is irritating me somehow).
  9. I am bloated. And nobody likes that. But I can’t drink water or get to the gym or do anything other than eat simple carbohydrates and sugar and caffeine because I’m comforting myself with food and beverage even though I’m going to regret it and I’m getting fatter by the fucking minute but OMG there’s that FLY and it WON’T STOP BUZZING PEOPLE.

Dude. No really. Let’s start a PMS camp.

Some medical site describes the emotional PMS symptoms as follows: “tension, irritability, mood swings or crying spells, anxiety, depression.”

I can summarize this in everyday language, and it pretty much summarizes my whole PMS experience, played out repeatedly, day after day, until suddenly, as fast as it came…it’s gone.

“Fuck you you irritate me please don’t leave me ever my GOD why are you so annoying no wait I’m sorry I’m such a bitch I want to move to Borneo forever oh my god I’m hungry.”

It’s good to be back. In more ways than one.

  • Kristi

    Maybe you’re looking for the “red tent” idea???
    I’m on board!

  • Michael Ann

    Sooooo right there with ya!!! LOVED this!

    • renegademama

      Thanks, Michael Ann. Appreciate it.

  • Crazed in the Kitchen

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one! I may need to show this post to my husband. He thinks it’s only me.

    • renegademama

      Okay so after I read this comment I rewrote the line about men not reading further. I changed it to “Men, listen up. This shit applies to you too.” Cause you are RIGHT. They really need to hear this. Perhaps some compassion for us PMS victims is in order…? 🙂

  • Erika

    I totally know where you are coming from.
    I tend to swing between “OMG! I can’t get enough to eat” and “OMG! I’m so f—ing FAT I should never be allowed to eat again!”

    • renegademama

      I am SOOOOO there with you. My stomach feels so bloated but I can’t stop consuming, then I want to never eat again. So I eat, to deal with the irritation I feel with myself for eating so much. Wow. I sound like a maniac.

      • Erika

        But it’s true. And it happens every month!
        I feel like I should lock all of the food away and hide the key, but I know that it would only cause uncontrollable crying as a result. And then I would probably break into locked refrigerators, pantries, and cabinets using brute strength and possibly a chainsaw or sledgehammer.
        I tend to overreact slightly/use extreme measures when I’m PMSing and get frustrated or emotional…

        • Marisa

          Me too!

  • Erika

    Oh… Horrible thought: You and the girls will (at some point) all be going through this.
    PMS overload…

    • renegademama

      I just vomited a little in my mouth. I think I’ll invest in a cabin out of town, for me and me only. For once a month.

  • Shan

    Totally get this. Totally.

    • renegademama

      I knew you would. I mean, because we’re distant BFFs, of course. Not because I actually live in your ceiling and therefore know how you act during that special time. And…creepy Janelle is out.

  • Julia

    makes you see the menstruating hut of premodern societies in a different light. Maybe they weren’t shunning women but actually doing them (and everyone else ha ha) a favor.

    • renegademama

      Yes, can’t you hear it…”No, really, honey, go to the hut. Take your time. STAY THERE as looooong as you like…” (my husband would pay big money for a hut, I’m sure. As would I).

  • meagan

    when i’m at my worst moment of motherhood/life and ranting about something neither of my girls had any control over but pissed me off and they quietly comfort each other, the self loathing just fuels my rage, is that normal? or just child abuse?
    or just PMS, ha

    • renegademama

      Oh my goodness, this comment makes me want to write a whole post on this EXACT topic. I don’t know if it’s normal, but I sure know that I do it. As I’m yelling I’m going “oh my god Janelle STOP that!” and then I feel so horrible I continue doing it because I’m now angry at myself and turning that toward my kids. The self-loathing is no joke. So if it makes you feel any better…I can fully relate.

  • Jennifer

    You know what pisses me off even more? I don’t actually realize how crazy I become until my husband says, “Um…are you on your period?” And then I realize he is right and have the urge to kill him.

    • renegademama

      Oooooo! And then do you deny that that has anything to do with it? I do. I’m like “well, yes, but I’m really really mad this time and I ISN’T BECAUSE OF MY FUCKING PERIOD” and he’s like “uh huh, yeah. Let’s have this convo in three days and see how it goes…”

      and then I kick him in the balls. (in my head)

  • Erin

    OMG. I love you.

  • Vanessa

    Most true description of PMS I’ve ever read. Because we all love feeling like we’re going to do one of those skin splitting alien birth things where some evil demon crawls out of our abdomen.

    • renegademama

      LOL – excellent imagery. Perfect in fact. I’m actually still chuckling at the metaphor.

  • Christina

    I was gonna say, I am glad I am not the only one but I guess I am not the only one! =}

  • Sara

    Reading this just made my day. Once a month I get suicidal, as in so, so increadibly sad and cant fanthom the meaning of life, specially mine. And bam the day after im like..oh thats why! But every month it still catches me by suprise..i never put two and two together!

    Oh and i found your blog through googling something about hating my toddlers/husband and absoloutly love your blog. I have been backreading now for weeks.


  • jgstevens

    My PMS-induced anxiety was useful last month in that I had a spider bite that I otherwise probably would have ignored but because I was PMS-ing I was just sure it was going to turn into a giant rotting hole and require skin grafts and I was going to die and my tombstone would read something about dying of a spider bite on my ass. So I went to the doctor and it was, indeed, a brown recluse bite that I caught early enough to avoid the giant rotting part. SO. Yay?