On Blaming “Hormones”

Thanks so much for your comments on this post. I’m both glad I’m not alone and kind of amazed that so many of the rest of you have also made angry late night McDonald’s runs. 

One thing I want to talk about, though, is that I noticed a lot of people (both on my blog and in real life) want to blame my little late night meltdown on “hormones.” Pregnancy hormones, lady hormones, whatever. And I want to go on the record and say that I really don’t.

I’m not ignoring the reality that people experience mood shifts that have to do with hormonal fluctuations in our bodies. (This includes men, by the way…think of bar fights, screaming matches at sporting events, those times you hear about people getting trampled at soccer games, ridiculous political arguments, war, for goodness’ sake.) And I acknowledge that a lot is going on in a person’s body during pregnancy and that some of those fluctuations are probably greater than they usually are. 

But I wish we wouldn’t be so quick to chalk things up to hormones. I think it does women a disservice. It can be one of those strategies that deligitimizes a person’s very legitimate feelings (oh, I know why you’re mad…pregnancy hormones!). I think it leads less enlightened men to think of us as not in control of ourselves. And I think it’s a way of letting ourselves off the hook for the decisions we make. I’m pregnant. And sometimes pregnancy might make me feel a little bit differently than I would normally feel (which may be related to hormones or just to being tired or to stupid comments people make or to societal pressure to have an appropriately “cute” belly or to having a zillion things on my mind). But I still make my own choices. I can still think clearly and act rationally. I can carry out research and write a dissertation and have intelligent conversations and respond normally to the world around me. And sometimes the world around me involves a really crappy night and my very normal response is to get out of the house and cool down for awhile. (By eating McDonald’s french fries, of course.)

I’m not mad - it’s just a point I want to make. The last 8 months have felt pretty normal, actually. In fact they’ve been kind of great. I’m not acting differently, I don’t think (I’ve been storming out of the house and driving around to clear my head for years!). I don’t treat people differently or think differently. I don’t feel differently. I’m not a walking set of hormones - I’m just me.

[EDIT…I reread this and really hope I didn’t make anybody feel bad who made a hormone related comment on the post in question. I’m honestly not mad - just sharing the way I’m thinking about this experience and how it’s different from how a lot of people expect pregnancy to be. I also know the hormone thing is just an easy joke to make and doesn’t necessarily reflect someone’s views about women.]

A Time-Stamped Account of Last Night’s Meltdown

6 p.m.: Arrive home hot and exhausted. Juggle my dog, my friend’s UTI dog, and my friend in our crowded apartment. The small living area is cluttered with furniture, DVDs, knick knacks, and other stuff we need to sort through and get out of here. Think to myself, “Usually when it’s hot and I have a lot to do and our apartment is in disarray I eventually throw some sort of temper tantrum. It’s so great that I haven’t done that yet.” Look forward to seeing Kevin at 8:30 because I have a ton of fun stuff to talk to him about.

6:30 - 8 p.m.: Half-heartedly play with a very bored Molly. Feel guilty I’m not a better dog boss. Make and eat dinner. Watch Friday Night Lights (Jason Street is breaking my freaking heart in two). Sort through some files. Do laundry. Organize the books we got at our baby shower on Sunday. Start telling Molly that Kevin will be home “any minute…you better watch for him!” Text Kevin to ask for ETA, hear nothing. 

8 - 9 p.m.: Continue watching Friday Night Lights. Call Kevin, goes straight to voicemail. Start to get annoyed.

9 p.m.: Decide to snuggle into bed with Molly and watch more TV while we wait for Kevin. Knock over a random lamp that’s sitting in our living room on the way to being donated. Break the bulb. Realize it’s a CFL bulb and therefore eeks out mercury and therefore Kevin, not me, should probably clean it up. (Maybe I was being overly dramatic but whatever. I did what the CDC says to do.) Lock myself and Molly into our bedroom and put on Mean Girls because Netflix was having some sort of technical error that meant I couldn’t watch FNL. Know Kevin has to be just around the corner and so we won’t have to wait long in our dungeon. 

9 - 10:30 p.m.: Watch Mean Girls. The whole damn thing. Don’t hear a word from Kevin until about 10. (Work event went long, phone died.) Get mad. 

10:45 p.m.: Get an email from a neighbor that informs me that ON TOP OF a crazy crowded apartment, bad wifi, a friend who keeps asking me to watch her dog with a UTI, and a broken mercury-filled lightbulb disaster, our building now has a freaking FLEA INFESTATION. A sleepy and sheepish Kevin arrives home at this moment, which was perfect, as you might imagine. Wait for him to clean up the bulb and then storm downstairs to walk Molly, recycle some boxes, and throw away the stupid broken lamp. On a whim, get into the car and take a drive to cool down. Think, “Oh, he’ll hate this. This’ll really get him.” 

11:30 p.m.: Arrive home to Kevin, fast asleep, no idea I’d been gone. Wake him up to TELL him I was gone and that I’m going out AGAIN and that I’m not going to answer my phone when he calls to find out where I am and we’ll just see HOW HE LIKES IT. 

12 - 1 a.m.: Drive around with the windows down (slowly and carefully, don’t worry). Listen to podcasts. Order and eat a medium McDonald’s french fry. Calm down, get really sleepy, head home. 

1 a.m.: Try to sleep on the couch with Molly (who waited up for me by the door…I died). Remember all that dangerous mercury dust floating around in the air. Retreat to my regular bed and fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. 

The end.

**********

(FYI all is well…Kevin and I are best buds again as of this morning. It sucked that he was out late and didn’t call but my reaction may have been a liiiiiiiiittle bit overblown. I’d just had a bad night and needed some backup. On a positive note, the McDonald’s fries were delicious.)

WHY

does it now say “Welcome Kevin _________” (so, my husband’s, not my, name) when I log into my credit card account online? 

I was the one who applied for the card, years ago.

I added him as an additional card holder when we got married. 

I opened and manage - have always managed - the online account.

Please someone tell me a non-sexist reason why this may have occurred. I really want to hear one. I want not to have to be angry about this. 

It was a day of too early wake up calls  and too short naps, unwashed hair, cluttered apartments, dust and sweat, dog pee on the carpet (my friend’s puppy got a UTI the day I agreed to watch her), forgotten coffees, bad wifi, managing people and animals and constantly feeling hot and dirty and trying not to knock stuff over and never quite getting my feet underneath me.

I tried to take it all on stride and mostly did okay, but I’ve never been happier to have my laptop turned off, Molly tucked away at home, social obligations over for the day, and to be in this cool, quiet yoga studio.

It was a day of too early wake up calls and too short naps, unwashed hair, cluttered apartments, dust and sweat, dog pee on the carpet (my friend’s puppy got a UTI the day I agreed to watch her), forgotten coffees, bad wifi, managing people and animals and constantly feeling hot and dirty and trying not to knock stuff over and never quite getting my feet underneath me.

I tried to take it all on stride and mostly did okay, but I’ve never been happier to have my laptop turned off, Molly tucked away at home, social obligations over for the day, and to be in this cool, quiet yoga studio.

Saturday morning.