Sep 242012

I have been intensely, self-indulgently, a-little-bit insanely cranky for the past few days. I feel like a powder keg, giving off sparks. Everything seems like an overwhelming project or problem. I can’t really TELL you about any of these overwhelming projects or problems because spoken aloud, they each seem (are) insignificant and small. But trust me, I feel ICK. And when I feel ICK for a couple days, I start to decide that my life sucks, in one huge way or another and that I need a HUGE change of some sort. Then, usually, on the third day, I wake up with forty zits. And I go… Crap. Maybe it’s this:

Mona Lisa Smiles (one of Momastery’s first posts)

This morning, stuck home alone with my children, I had the following epiphanies:

-My husband hates me and our kids. When he called yesterday to say good night to us from his “layover in Atlanta”, he was actually sipping his fifth margarita at a resort in the Keys, where husbands really go when they say they’re on business trips.

-My house is filthy, and too small to exist in. Too small to breathe in with all of these high pitched voices and dolls and teeny shoes. I am not a home-owner, I am a half-home owner. I accidentally purchased half a home, which is perfect since it’s worth half of what I paid for it. Where is the other half of my house?

-My son will be in therapy soon for co-dependence. He keeps nervously telling me I am “the best mommy in the world,” which is his effort to keep us all on this side of social services when he rightly senses I’m teetering on the edge.

-Tish will join him in therapy to deal with her neglect issues. This morning when she fell down and cried for the fourth time in an hour, I left her there crying, without even turning my head. I’m sorry, but somebody’s got to start sucking it up around here.

-My parents definitely like my sister more. Which is understandable, but still. Rude.

-My hair is horrible. And I am too short, and ugly, like a gnome. And on the day I die the undertaker will have to use concealer on my wrinkly 80 year old chin because I still will not have grown out of my acne.

-I have far too many children. Every time one of them says “Mom,” I bristle like it’s an act of aggression. One or two will have to go. In an effort to avoid playing favorites, I will get rid of the next two who ask for water. I am done getting water. Forever.

UGH. And one more gloomy, lifeless, miserable UGH for good measure. actually, I’m too blah for capital letters today. so… ugh, instead.

At one point this morning, as I stared at the wall and wondered how I hadn’t noticed before that my life was spiraling into this black hole of despair and drudgery, I was brought back to my surroundings by a sharp cramp in my side.Then another, and then finally the big epiphany…OH. OOOOOOOOOOOOOH.

I got my period for the first time when I was 12, which means that it caught me completely off guard for the 250th time this morning. Why don’t I ever see it coming? Why aren’t I ever prepared for the viciousness of it?

After breakfast when the kids and I were playing Chutes and Ladders …the game that makes me grateful we don’t have guns in the house, for fear that I might use one on myself if I land on that long freaking slide one more time…I heard an interesting news report on the radio.

Apparently, a woman walked into the Louvre today and threw a mug of coffee at the Mona Lisa. She was immediately arrested and the commentator described it as an “unforgivable” act by a woman who was clearly “not well.” But I immediately understood this woman, and I smiled for the first time all day. In fact, I had half a mind to walk out my half a house and put some bail money in the mailbox.

Maybe the poor woman just woke up on the wrong side of the month this morning. Maybe she walked into the Louvre and saw that smug Mona Lisa hanging there with that composed, unruffled, amused smirk that she wears everyday regardless of the time of the month, and the woman had her own epiphany: Mona Lisa’s going down.

I, for one, stand in solidarity with this woman. As a matter of fact, when the kids go down for their naps, I will go outside and spit my Diet Coke in Mona Lisa’s general direction. Take THAT, Mona Lisa.


Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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  313 Responses to “Mona Lisa Smiles (But Today I Will NOT)”

  1. have you been reading my thoughts? A few of my girlfriends know exactly what I mean.

  2. Didn’t remember this post, but OMG do I love it! Thank you! Needed to know I am not the only one who goes “there” when things get to be too much. Period or not, some of us just need to know it’s ok to have a few bad days. You will figure it out, G. You will find what’s going on deep inside and then it will be better. Just knowing will help. Good luck on your journey these next few days. I get through these by reading your blogs, book and thinking of all the wonderful things you have taught me (that I also tell my daughter), like, you can do hard things, honey, and life is brutiful. We do all belong to each other. Let us be there for you if you need it! Love.

  3. Thanks for helping me figure out why I was so bitchy tonight with my kids! My husband, the lucky dog, is out of town (and being held hostage by the stupid gov’t shutdown!) so he gets to escape it but the rest of us will have to deal with my crazy mood for the next couple of days. Literally the cramps kicked in just moments after I read this. I would blame you, but well, there was the bitchiness before….I guess I’ve still got a little bit of my rational mind left…

  4. Way back in the day, my grandparents had a subscription to Reader’s Digest and kept old copies for years. It was big treat for my brother and me to sift through old issues to find all the funny things. One had an article called “Advice to Women Who are Once-a-Month Witches.” Don’t ask me how I remember when I don’t know what I had for lunch yesterday. I wasn’t even old enough to understand it when I read it, but I do recall one specific suggestion: wear a red bandanna on those days, and even babies will pick up on what it means. I am not making this up. Would you like a bandanna, Glennon?

    Ha! Can’t believe I found this.,766783

  5. Spot on! I always read your blog and nod along or agree in my head or tear up in empathy or tug my husband’s arm and make him listen to a great excerpt but today… I laughed out loud several times. btw I’m reading this in a public library because i am oh so very much in that place you described and here the kids have a different adult that will tell them to sit down and shut up :-) albeit in a much nicer tone than I can manage at the moment!
    Thank you for your brutiful honesty.

  6. You are spot on with this one, Momma!! Very excellent writing!! I thoroughly enjoyed it!!

  7. *Not* missing those days. However, having infertility issues, I was all over the map to begin with. Not ovulating, have periods maybe five or six times a year, totally not able to keep a calendar. The fun didn’t start until age 15 to begin with: first day of my first job ever, wearing a white uniform.

  8. LOL, I love you! There were times when my kids would say, ‘Mum …’ and I’d round on them, snarling, ‘I’m not your bloody mother! – even though in point of fact I was. But they never believed me.

  9. A couple of years ago I had my ovaries removed. At the follow up visit – my HUSBAND shook the doctor’s hand!

  10. This was the most amazing thing I have read in a long time. Loved it.

  11. You, my dear are fabulous. And hysterical. And spot on mama.

  12. I too am getting ready to start my pill pack says so and the fact that I made my poor 14 yr old daughter cry this morning after she smarted off to me. Not pretty. I just wanted to crawl back into bed after that….

  13. Love this. I am bipolar in addition to the mommy thing and OMG. Every freaking month I think I am going into a major bipolar episode because I just get so crazy. Crying and mad and everything. Then I start, and usually , but not always, I calm down again and remember hormones are pretty damn powerful. I have 3 teenage girls too so it can get really intense at our house sometimes!. And for some reason I am starting to get symptoms at ovulation time too.. Ugh. At 38 I should not be getting sore boobs anymore – they aren’t growing!

    • Love you all! Guess what? I am 54, had a hysterectomy 2 years ago, but kept my ovaries for some unknown reason. Not every month, but every few – I get those horrendous feelings from the past and feel like I am getting my “monthly”. Oh, and I also get 1 zit on my chin – every time! Starting to wonder if having my last child at 43 is the cause of all of this because I got a little boy for my 25th Anniversary instead of a cruise! Makes sense, doesn’t it?

  14. This is the BEST thing I have read in a LONG time!!!! I honestly feel you just took my thoughts out of my head, moved them around to make sense, and then typed them up neatly to share. AWESOME!!!

  15. After having a hysterectomy 2 years ago…I can’t predict or rely on the cause of my ICK. still have my ovaries doing their job…poor little egg is just floating around in there…meanwhile…without “evidence” I have no idea why everyone around me is needy and annoying and NO ONE can drive correctly!!! could I get a text or something that I am having my period??? ugh. and UGH.

    • Yes! A little text message of “you are going to be pissy and hungry in two days” would really help to not catch me so off-guard. Or even better, send it to my husband and kids. Can you imagine how much that would help?

      • A friend started putting his girlfriend’s schedule into his calendar so he could remember “Wacky Jacque Week”. In fact there are quite a few apps out now to do just that. Maybe I need to get one myself….reading this today made me realize why I have felt so ‘off’ for the last two days.

  16. Oh dear girl thank you for always completely understanding how I feel. Only I have a period that is a premenopause period. It won’t show up for 3-4 months and I will be beautiful and blissfully happy. Then it shows up and is fierce and rude. And 2 weeks later when I should be ovulating, it shows up again. And 2 weeks later. And then it is regular for 2-3 months and then disappears for 3-4 and then we start it all over again!! My poor family. My children need therapy and mama needs some meds!

  17. My poor babies are dealing with this today, oh who am I kidding-this week. And when I say babies I mean my 2 1/2 year old whose every word sets me off and my ever-so-affectionate 1 year who needs hugs all the time. Sometimes I take a step back and wonder how anyone parents toddlers successfully. Thank God that He is bigger than my angst.

  18. This is so me, except for the actual period part. I started when I was 11 (at the same time as my then best friend – we lived next door to each other) and always had trouble with them. I was diagnosed with cervical precancer in my teens and it kept coming back. I had a hysterectomy shortly after turning 22. (Incidentally, I do not recommend having a hysterectomy when you are a single mom with one toddler and an infant) I am now in my mid-thirties and STILL have trouble with pms – only now it disappears for months at a time and then sets in with a vengeance. I get sent to my room with chocolate, my laptop, and a stack of books. Thankfully, I am now married and my sons are 13 and 16, so my guys are capable of handling themselves while I am…unsociable.

  19. When I spend the day (or days) wondering what ever possessed me to get married AND have 3 children, all after the age of 39, and then contemplate the wonder of being divorced and quite possibly having every other weekend free (best case scenario), it also occurs to me at some point that I might be starting my period soon. Voila! Turning 50 this month, gasp, and actually looking forward to MENOPAUSE! Who could have known? Coffee, chocolate and Lexapro, my most favored crutches pretty much all of the time.

  20. This made me laugh out loud. I do the mark you calendar thing. I issue dire warnings to my husband and sons to put on their flak jackets and stand down for three days no matter what. Yet, inevitably (aka yesterday) my husband and I enter into a prize-winning title fight over nothing. Literally. In the middle of it I can no longer remember what we are fighting about…mostly because I am strategizing in my mind how I want to bring him bodily harm, call a divorce attorney, and thinking about what to pack when I leave him. Then I remember – ICK and UGH. That only makes it about 5% better however because I am too irrational to back track. That’s probably what happened to museum lady – I blame the barista at the coffee bar…why the hell do they let you walk around priceless works of art with coffee?? A smug look like that would be too much for me to handle today!

  21. Have you ever noticed that women’s periods start to sync when you start spending more and more time with each other? We really are sisters here at Momastery. Our cycles are all alligning!

    Love and Hugs to you G, and one big fat, bloated, crampy, and moody, ME TOO!!!

    • I’ve heard that too, Lyndsey. So true! The Monkees can change the world! But look out when it’s that synchronized time if the month!
      Hell hath no fury like the Monkees on their period!

  22. And then there’s early menopause, or just menopause whenever. So one of life’s cruelest inside jokes is that once you are at a certain age, and, go me the overachiever and you stop getting Aunt Flo you are STILL PMSy once a month. Or more. Even on bio-identical hormones a la Suzanne Somers. I am a prime example of this right now.

    One positive is your face does clear up . . . sorta.

  23. This was me 2 weeks ago! I realized while texting my cousin for moral support (and to bitch) that it was ME and not my family that was the problem. At least, we realized that we need some work on us now versus later. :)

  24. I am a nanny. I am holding a baby and laughing like a lunatic, with tears! I love this so much. Thank you. My friend, who also believes in psychics, says the upcoming lunar eclipse is the reason for our angst…

  25. I don’t get my period. I wish I knew why. HOWEVER, this post describes me to a, “t” today. I’ve been telling m kids to apply for a new Mommy. I told my husband to take the kids, keep them, and let me go hide under a rock or a job outside of the home. Forever. Not handling my life (or anyone else’s) well at all. I have a few things I would like to say to Mona Lisa and the stupid Fox who keeps asking me, “What does the Fox say?” UGH.

  26. Thank you,Gracias for your words!.Queen of ICK this morning right here and I thought I was alone.Glad to know I am not.

  27. I hear you! I have finally learned that when I have that uncontrollable day – the day when I can’t help but yell or everything is just too much and I find myself yelling at my kids to stop acting like kids – that I need to remember that my period is about to start. Every freaking time – my period starts within a day or so of that uncontrollable day. One month I might actually remember in advance and be ready for it.

  28. You know, if you look at Mona Lisa, she’s really got that Mom’s “as-soon-as-I-get-you-home-you’re-going-to-get-it” look in her eye. That smile was just the PTA Mom in front of the painter look. I have a feeling she’s just like the rest of us: putting on the good face for the world and then looking back at that portrait wondering “Where did that woman go? She had it together!”

    Maybe not. But today, that’s what I see.

    Hugs, Cristyl

  29. i so get it…..was just walking down the hall, saying to myself how i hate my pajamas!

  30. OMG!! Yes. My child hates me. I’m a waste of space. I can’t do my job. I….. I….. oh. Oh wait. I see. Ok. Never mind.

  31. I freaking HATE Chutes & Ladders too!!!!

  32. It’s kismet…As I was walking back to my office, absolutely full of all of the emotions you describe, I said to myself, “You know who TOTALLY gets this (and captures it with such accuracy, honesty and humor?) Glennon.” Wouldn’t you know my phone rings and it’s my mom asking me if I had seen Glennon’s piece about Mona Lisa yet? … Aaaaannnd once again Glennon, you have absolutely nailed how I am feeling. Your timing, per usual, is so fitting and thus this little gem has helped take me one step towards smiling and one step away from the nastiness that is the feeling of ICKKKK…. You’re. Da. Bomb. xo

  33. It’s like you are in my head. How do you do that? My “Ugh” started because they cancelled the last day of my 3-day girl’s weekend because of the rain. The stupid rain. What is there to smile about, Mona?

  34. Nailed it. :-)

  35. Glennon I LOVE this. And you! And your posts always come at the PERFECT time. I have been edgy, yelling, losing my temper, feeling like I am seriously going to explode and smoke is coming from my ears. Alas…. PMS. Evil, evil PMS. It’s not fair, dammit!

  36. It helps to know I’m not the only one out there that fears her adult acne will be around FOREVER! Hang in there!

  37. Love reading you in the morning! I need to have my fourteen year old read this so she understands why she woke up grumpy this morning. I’ve been tracking and she is due any day now. Thank you!

  38. G. we are definitely cycling together I have felt the same way the past couple of days and I have 2 glorious teenage girls riding the wave with me, boy it is fun for my husband and 12 year old son. I actually wrote on my son’s tardy note today that he was tardy due to “life” happening and when he looked at me and said that it would be an unexcused tardy because that is not a “real” excuse I looked at him serious as a heart attack and said “sucks to suck” and dropped him off at school. I am sure he is pretty upset with me right now and I am definitely now wining Mother of the year but it will make him tougher……….right. Nope I am just a terrible Mother.

  39. I’m 57, have ACNE and wrinkles, who would have ever thought! I don’t have periods anymore so no more PMS but now have CMS (constant menopause syndrome) which by the way, is PMS that just never goes away apparently and I’m raising a grandchild. Sometimes, I feel like I’m in some kind of time warp still doing the same things I did 25 years ago. I hear you on all these feelings and love your honesty. Thanks for making me laugh out loud.

    • Oh my gosh Vickie …me too! 58 wrinks…acne..raising 2 grandkids.I laughed out loud too! CMS sisters unite!!

    • I’ve read that perimenopause can last from five to fifteen years. Apparently I’m going to see it through to the max. I at least ought to have grandchildren to mitigate the hormonal fluctuation. Do not miss the monthlies, but there are other joys after those are gone. 😉

      G, I am *so* with you on Chutes and Ladders! Even now I can remember how much I hated that slide. What kind of cruel people would invent something like that?

  40. Word to your mother! Whomever said that gravity was the greatest force on earth has obviously never met a hormone.

  41. I almost wrote this same post two days ago. Which means we are on a similar cycle. Which means we need to keep each other grounded. And maybe make a calendar for our families with warning stickers.

    • Oh my gosh – a calendar for our families with warning stickers! I love this! I started today, too, and I’m sure my family is hiding from me. ugh.

  42. So, so cool you posted this today. Mom of 3 girls here. I had a conversation yesterday with a Holistic Health Practitioner and we talked about just this. I wish I could say it as elegantly as she did but she believes that this time of angst, frustration and all else that goes along with this time of our month are our indicators to slow down, step back, release ourselves from certain things/expectations. She somehow drew a seemingly perfect connection to how our bodies prepare to either hold on to a fertilized egg or release it (our period) and this need to release ourselves from some of the chaos and just “be.” She said we are really intended to let go, release ourselves, slow down during this phase of our cycle, even if that just means consciously exhaling, skipping a meeting etc. In today’s society we don’t… we carry on as if we should just suck it up, when in reality our agitation etc is telling us to slow down. This was enlightening and encouraging to me. Have you heard this? Now I want to talk more with her about this.

    • Love your comment, Kathy! We need to listen to our bodies, and society trains us not to. We’re supposed to keep going, regardless … Now, did she offer to watch your kids next time you need it?! lol I said that to my pastor the last time he preached about taking Sabbath rests.. :)

    • Kathy, what an insightful piece of wisdom. I tend to feel guilty if I let anything slack, even though I know it’s hormones and not that I’m suddenly incapable of rational thought! But it makes so much sense to realize that it’s my body’s way of telling me I need to slow down, and all I need is some hot tea and a nap on the couch. Thank you for sharing, and hopefully next month I’ll be able to listen to my own agitation, as you put it :)

  43. This is exactly how I’ve been feeling this week. Thanks for understanding. It’s so nice to know someone else knows what this feels like.

  44. Glennon…the world needs your honesty. You described me in PMS mode and sometimes the best thing to do is take a nap! I’m a fellow depression sufferer as well (triple ugh!) and I swear PMS is worse on us, life is just harder on us. The truth of the matter is that meds and therapy can only do so much, life is just harder with depression. Although depression makes me a kinder person. Gods blessings to you.

  45. you beautiful truth teller, you. Those without PMS will still think we are nuts….whatever. But you describe EXACTLY how I feel. I gotta tell you…..a tich of Prozac in the evening has made me only REALLY SAD, not uncontrollably crying and feeling like I can’t talk to anyone for fear of alienating them. (this on top of the buproprion and a little Klonipen. Transitions are tough, what can I tell you….even though he was a bully.
    Anyway, I love you…try a tich of Prozac and thank you for making me laugh with the bail money bit. Hilarious.

  46. Wow! Perfect timing. I’ve been super grump since my 2 yo gave me a concussion (yes, you read that right) a few weeks ago. I’ve been told by several people to “back off” how intense I’m approaching some things, but don’t feel like I can and I’m going crazy in the process. I’ve wanted to write about it and haven’t figured out how to. I don’t know what you are going through, but boy, do I know how you feel! Hugs from one overwhelmed mama to another. :)

  47. I will have to show this post to my spouse. I get like this almost every single month, down to the desire to throw a nice hot cup of coffee at someone or something out of general pissiness. Glad I’m not alone.

  48. I was breathless and crying from laughing so hard! This is the first blog I feel like I have to follow because it’s so hilarious! Great job being honest! Love it!

  49. […] Have you ever had one of those days? One of those weeks?  Us too.  Here’s a funny little post from someone who has been there as well.  Mona Lisa Smiles… […]

  50. Just catching up…a few weeks late! I knew what was going on with you about half way through your list – sounds just like me in PMS mode! Sometimes that is the only way I realize it is time for my monthly visit.

  51. Who spiraled all weekend into the “i have no friends, everyone hates me (and my kids), let’s move away from this horrible place and start over” frame of mind…because a new babysitter (who’d never met my kids) irresponsibly and unprofessionally quit/didn’t show up so I could go on a date Saturday night? (the answer is me) After spiraling for 2 days my husband and I agreed it had better be PMS (again, at *almost* 40, you’d think I might have an idea of whether or not it was the right time of the month, eh?) or I would need some medication.
    I also trip, drop things and walk into everything remotely within my path. And I put up no resistance to any kind of food craving. Really? This is not fun. I thought I’d be in better control of this by now.

  52. Oh yeah. I’m feelin’ it. Right there with you, sister.

  53. […] ridiculous, but completely true. Glennon Melton wrote about it too. In the comments, hundreds of women agree that once a month they too go crazy without realizing it. […]

  54. you make me happy. Thanks for being honest, i feel the exact same way….and seriosuly acne at 35 uggggg.

  55. i love you g. you make life so interesting, no matter what.

    and i still have acne. WHO has acne as an adult?!? seriously! i thought that was supposed to gone sometime when i was in HIGH SCHOOL!

    • I didn’t even GET acne until I was 21, but it’s gotten progressively worse for thge past decade. Rude. Just rude.

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