How Aunt Flo Affects My Parenting

As a professional in mental health counseling with a strong background in Behavior Modification, I can tell when my patterns change. In the infamous words of SpongeBob SquarePants, I'm a crabby patty. For two weeks a month, premenstrual syndrome and menstruation (aka Aunt Flo) affect me and in turn, Bob.

I'm irritable, crabby, annoyed and cranky, etc. I also find that I'm very emotionally sensitive and prone to losing my patience (indeed, it seems like I don't have any in reserve). And it's all thanks to Aunt Flo. I really never thought about how my own menstrual cycle affected my emotions and behavior. In fact, I've only come to realize how it does affect me after seeing how my best friend is affected by her own.

Here Comes Aunt Flo

This past weekend, Aunt Flo showed up and so did this irritable, emotional side of me. And poor Bob was a direct target. Over the past week, I noticed the changes - sudden craving for chocolate, low frustration tolerance and zero patience. I'd managed to keep myself in check as Bob spent a few hours with his father three nights in a row as per our visitation arrangement.

But, Saturday morning, poor Bob decided not to do his homework. I encourage him to do it on Fridays, but seriously, I don't push it because the kid deserves a break. Just like I do. So, Saturday morning was a battle to get Bob to do one of two homework assignments, getting ready for a birthday party we were invited to and dealing with my newly broken down washing machine. It was bad enough without Aunt Flo showing up. And then she did.

And there goes my Patience

Instead of stepping back and just letting it go, I kept on Bob's case about the homework. I get caught up in trying to be Wonder Woman doing it all - single mothering, homework, getting ready for a party and water control (the poor washer leaked everywhere as I washed a load of laundry). And rather than laughing it off and being grateful that my washer survived 23 years of continuous use, I seethed. I yelled at Bob.Yep, even I lose it sometimes and don't always practice what I share here.

Single Parenting Pressure

The fact of the matter is, there is something about being a single mother that pushes me to be perfect. To make sure that despite his ADHD diagnosis, Bob's homework gets done without a fight, the house is clean and the bills paid.

We parents put so much pressure on ourselves that we forget - we're human beings, too. And just as our kids need to be taken care of, we also need to take care of ourselves. We need to be as good to ourselves, if not more, as we are to them.

Self-Care goes a Long Way

For the last several months, I've been focused on taking better care of myself. (Self-care is SUPER important). I've made changes in how I do that - getting enough sleep, listening to music, eating better, giving into my food cravings (in moderation of course), etc. This past weekend though, I realized that I need to practice even more self-care to reduce my irritability and step back when I feel like I'm losing it with Bob. In caring for myself better, I can care for Bob better.

photo credit: dieselbug2007 via photopin cc

APA Reference
Zalamar, H. (2013, May 1). How Aunt Flo Affects My Parenting, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Heiddi Zalamar, LMHC, MA

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