When I was a teenager, I heard many complaints from other teenagers about their monthly cycle. My mom gave a different perspective that has stayed with me, explaining that God created women’s hormones to fluctuate on purpose. For example, women tend to be more creative some weeks than others. The emotions that seem to surge can be used of God for his glory, if we are sensitive to the needs of others, and so on.
By showing the positive side of how I was created, my mom helped me to ignore other girls who complained about such things. She helped me understand that I was still responsible for doing right, even when it seemed more difficult. But knowing why I was struggling actually helped me respond better, for some reason.
Throughout the years, I’ve noticed a number of ways that my cycle affects my day-to-day life.
- Some weeks I have a harder time being patient, and I struggle with anger more than usual. Knowing that my hormones contribute to some of the mood changes doesn’t excuse my sinfulness, but it does help me to be aware and prepare for those times. Perhaps I should pay more attention to when I schedule dates with my husband.
- I’ve long noticed there’s a relationship between my struggle to keep house clean, and my cycle. If I can be extra diligent during the “organizational high,” I can usually keep my head above water during the “organizational low.” Understanding how I work in this way helps me plan better. Some weeks are not good weeks to plan a major cleaning project.
- I actually blog on a cycle, too. Some weeks, I have an intense drive to write. I help myself out if I write like mad during those times, so when I hit the next week and am chewing on more strawberry licorice than I need and looking at a blank screen, I can use a post I’ve already written and be a better steward of the time God has given me.
All these things I’ve known for awhile. What is new is the growing awareness that I parent on a cycle too, and that’s not always a bad thing.
I’ve observed that sometimes I get a good idea, get it going for awhile, and then somehow it fades until I don’t remember doing it much at all. Looking back, I wonder whether I stopped because it was a good time to stop, or whether I stopped because I was lazy and undisciplined. In some cases, stopping a good thing might be a problem, but often, I think it’s just a part of the cycle of parenting.
Some weeks, I’ll be more creative. I can think of many projects, goals, and ways to teach my children, but that time doesn’t last. When I’m not creative, it’s normal and I shouldn’t fret because I’m not creative all the time. For example, I regularly remind myself of the importance to teach my children good hymns. I might forget to teach my children a hymn three weeks out of the month, but if I work on one hymn a month, why fret about the missing weeks? Some weeks are good weeks to try something new and fun. Other weeks are better to stick with predictable activities when I don’t feel creative or adventurous. On the other hand, just as I can prepare ahead of time when I write, I could (even though I don’t) prepare ahead of time with finding things for my children to do.
Sometimes there are tasks that must be done, even though my motivation for doing them wanes at times. That’s when I have to refuse to be feeling-oriented and simply do what is right. It’s when walking in the spirit is most critical. Even as I have a monthly cycle, I also have a life cycle. I’m maturing and growing spiritually, too. Eventually, I’ll consistently make sure that all my children’s teeth are brushed, including my own. I’ll have my room just as clean as theirs. I will go a whole month without making macaroni and cheese from a box for dinner, or asking to go out to eat rather than cook.
It is God who created women in such a way that their hormones rise and fall like the tide. Being aware of and thankful for the ebb and flow of our natural rhythm brings God glory.