20 Feb Why cycle-syncing moms are happier and less stressed
Are you a mother who gets a monthly period? If so, you’ve got a secret weapon that can make it at least a little easier to do all you do as a parent—from chauffeuring and planning activities to hosting play dates and volunteering at your kid’s school: You can sync many of your parenting duties with your menstrual cycle. This way, you can capitalize on days when your hormones are revving power, give yourself a pass on days when hormones sap your juice, and sync up all you can with other ways your hormones impact you.
The result: You’re happier and less stressed, which helps you enjoy your important role as Mom even more.
To find out how to become a cycle-syncing mom, check out this article I wrote for Working Mother about how to sync your cycle with your parenting.
Then, read on to learn how real moms like you are using their hormones to cycle-sync their parenting right now….
Emily uses cycle-syncing to lower stress
Emily Patient, mom of 2 (ages 2 and 5), Phoenix, Arizona
“Full-time parenting is both a flexible and tight schedule. There are many points in my day I cannot control, but there is also a lot of time that I can structure, so I use my new knowledge about my cycle to set myself up for success.
“When I can, I try to schedule the high-energy outings and activities I want to do with my children for when I know my energy and patience will be the best. When I head into Week 4, I try to prepare a lot of at-home projects. This sets me up for less stress, which means a happier me and a happier family.
“I used to push myself every day to the highest level of efficiency and productivity that I’m capable of on my best day, but that is neither my personality nor the natural fluctuations of my cycle. I have become better at setting realistic goals for myself because I know myself better, and I am actually a more productive and disciplined person now because I know, not only when to work, but when to rest.”
ShaeLynn’s cycle-syncing means enjoying her kids even more
ShaeLynn Wyatt, mom of 2 (ages 1 and 6), Fruita, Colorado
“I definitely schedule play dates around my cycle. I know that the neighborhood kids dropping in will happen whenever, and I just give clear boundaries before they start to play—if it’s the end of Week 1 or Week 2, have at it guys, bring on the chaos and enthusiasm. If it’s Week 3 or Week 4, you might need to play in the bedroom and keep the chaos to a minimum—how about a Lego challenge?
“For formal play dates, I almost always schedule these for Week 2 if I’m the one inviting. I know that as an introvert, balancing the needs of my kiddos and my own social situation with another mother is going to be so much easier if I’m feeling outgoing and confident. It really lets me connect with another mom instead of just feeling drained by the whole engagement.”
. . . . .
“One of the benefits of syncing family life around my cycle is that I actually enjoy my children and the time I spend with them. Does that sound harsh? When I balance my needs with the needs of my children, I don’t resent the time I spend.
“I find creative play really draining, unless I’m in Week 2 when I’m all about diving around the house having an epic improvised Nerf battle. The rest of the month, I’d much rather put up targets, say I’ll play three rounds, and know that I gave my son my full attention in a way that he enjoys and leaves me with the energy I need to provide for him because I listened to my body and head space. If he asks for a Nerf battle in Week 3, I let him know that doesn’t sound fun to me, and make some new suggestions: Puzzle? Coloring pages? Lego challenge?
“My kids know that I’ll be consistently available, not suddenly and unexpectedly exhausted or irritable. I’m still irritable in my premenstrual phase, but it’s easier for me to provide a solid base for my kids and husband to rely on if I don’t engage in activities that make me MORE irritable.”
. . . . .
“The knowledge about how my hormones impact me is CRUCIAL to my satisfaction as a mother, because I don’t beat myself up when I don’t have as much fun talking to a mom at the park in Week 3 as I did in Week 2. And, I’m able to weigh why I’m saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ more accurately.
Kristen adjusts her expectations according to her cycle
Kristen Gilster, mom of 2 (ages 8 and 10), Fresno, California
“I’m a pretty strong introvert and love melting into my luteal phase. That’s often when I feel most ‘at home’ in my body. But, having kids doesn’t always jive with staying cozy and staying home, so I set some intention around planning outgoing activities for the family at other times in my cycle when estrogen is rising. Whether it’s planning a hike, an appointment, a camping trip or a party, I have some awareness around where I will be in my cycle and what energy I might be feeling at that time.
“When energies align with a particular event, I lean in full force. And when they don’t, I adjust my inner expectations, knowing the experience will be different—not bad, not good, just different.”
. . . . .
“I’m the cook in my house. This means I get to make most of the decisions around food and meal prep. I know that I am intuitively drawn to lighter and brighter foods in the first half of my cycle and heavier, warmer foods in the second half of my cycle. I’m not always on top of the meal planning side of things, but once a week I try to create some space to check in with my body and discern how it’s feeling and what it’s wanting in the way of food. Using this info, I sketch out some options for family meals that week.”
. . . . .
“When it comes to cycle-syncing benefits for me, it’s all about alignment. Sometimes it happens naturally and intuitively while other times I have to be intentional about it.
“When the energy of my body matches the energy of an activity or experience, life feels more effortless, enjoyable and synchronistic. I feel that in the rhythms of my own body and I also feel it extend to my family experience.
“I feel happier, healthier and more aligned when I am in sync with my cycle. That frees me up to be present to my family in ways I might otherwise not be capable of when I’m caught unaware between the tension of conflicting energies.
“Knowing where I am in my cycle helps me adapt and adjust to any experience with conscious awareness. When the energy of my cycle doesn’t match the energy of a particular event or activity, I can adjust my internal expectations knowing I will be operating from a different energy. Sometimes, it’s just that simple awareness that makes all the difference.“
Joya uses cycle know-how as self-care
Joya, mom of 3 (ages 10, 13 and 18), McKinney, Texas
“I normally keep an eye on my cycle calendar and try to make sure I’m not over-planning during the two weeks after ovulation. I will go out of my way to schedule dinner with friends, play dates, and appointments within the first two weeks of my cycle. I’ve found I can handle a busy schedule the first two weeks and it doesn’t faze me. However, almost like a switch, the week after ovulation I need a quiet week, so I go out of my way to limit appointments or extra activities. This way of scheduling and planning works to keep me from feeling overwhelmed.
“I have also learned that being aware of my cycle (and how I function because of it) is a form of self-care. Before I knew about how my hormones affected me, I felt out of control in that there was a cycle to my moodiness and low energy, but I couldn’t understand how it worked. When I was finally equipped with the knowledge of how these hormones work and started tracking them, I realized I am a highly sensitive person—not moody as I had been describing myself to others.
Now, I’m able to realize that negative emotions pass, I can give myself an effective pep talk, and I’m also able talk to my doctor on a different level to receive the care I need. I don’t feel helpless or trapped by my hormones—but rather empowered because I know what’s coming and how to take care of myself and my family.”
Learn more about your cycle
Want to sync up your parenting with the ups and downs of hormones in your menstrual cycle? Start by learning how your hormones impact your mood, energy, desire to socialize and more with the free Hormonology Guides, free Hormonology eBooks and Hormone Horoscope Apps.
Then, check out the simple cycle-syncing tips for moms that I share at Working Mother!
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