Always A Bridesmaid…

Gentlemen, you may want to skip this one.


This month I was reminded – not for the first time – that in my not-so-distant past, getting my period was the worst part of the “monthly cycle”. Sure, there would be a day or two prior to that of maybe feeling deeply sad when I heard “Tears in Heaven” or extremely irritated when my husband put his peanut-butter knife in the sink, rather than the dishwasher, and maybe a day of craving salty and/ or chocolatey things, but in general, those slight annoyances were nothing compared to the discomfort and inconvenience of actually menstruating. In my very-distant youth, I can remember skipping gym and taking some Midol, but pretty much that was it. It seemed like a big deal at the time, but with age comes wisdom and I can now say that Nicole-in-the-past was a complete baby.

Because not only does age bring wisdom, but it also brings a whole lot of hormonal changes. These days my ladies’ holidays feel like I’m Carrie at the prom, as opposed to the past, when I was Sandy doing the hand-jive, if we are to take 1970s dance metaphors to a whole new gross level. Getting my period is now the good part, and not just because it reaffirms that the baby factory is closed. No, it is the good part because it ends the time of the cycle that causes me to doubt my own sanity.

I will not use the words time of the month because I don’t know about you, but there is nothing monthly about this. Three weeks, seven weeks, or anything in between can be considered “normal” for me. This is a problem because there is no way to predict when I will be sane and when I will not be. This past cycle saw me struggling with suddenly ill-fitting bras, sudden strange cravings, irritation with everything and extreme emotion about anything for ELEVEN DAYS. At one point I said to my husband that if I didn’t get my period soon, I would die of emotion. I started to wonder if maybe I was never getting my period again, and my personality had just warped into someone horrible who, incidentally, hated the way she looked and couldn’t handle the sound of children’s laughter. Maybe I’m really just a grumpy bloated bitch, and now I’m in menopause. This was an actual thought that I had.

Always a bridesmaid, never a bride – but in a menstrual sense.

So it’s been that kind of week. Jake had a cold that kept him home from school and I’m going to go out on a limb and say that being tied to the house for a day and a half didn’t help matters, especially with my new obsession with cleaning and purging things. I found a “Franklin and Friends” treasury that I kept weepily showing to Jake, who remained stoic.

Me: Look, Jake. It’s Franklin. Franklin’s Bad Day. He was SAD because his friend was moving away. But then he made a new friend.

Jake: Uh huh.

Me: And Franklin’s Trip to the Hospital. Remember how much I read this to you before your operation? Do you remember?

Jake: Um. Well. I don’t really remember much about my operation.

Me: And when Franklin’s mom has a baby! *tears up*

Jake: Um, Mom? I don’t really like that book anymore. I kind of mostly like books about dragons now.

So that was entertaining. I did, however, get my closet and drawers reorganized and you will be happy to know that I still have several drawers full of predominantly black sweaters. I took photos but they are unconvincing. You will have to believe me that it’s a huge change and things aren’t falling off of my shelves now. For example:




Trust me, this is way more organized.


Oh, the top shelf of the closet, where everything gets balled up and thrown into.



At some point I need to go through the gigantic Rubbermaid containers of children’s artwork and school work that is downstairs, but I need to do it at a time where I am not going to cry about Franklin and Friends.


  1. I could have written this. I am also finding the week? ten days? two weeks? PRETTY MUCH EVERY DAY EXCEPT FOR THE DAYS WHEN I AM ACTUALLY MENSTRUATING FUCK IT LET’S GET SOME WINE are various layers of crazy for me now. I actually thought I was pregnant this time, because Aunt Flo just never arrived and I had all the symptoms of early pregnancy, including the all-day-and-all-night nausea and the bit where I hated my husband, my children, my dog, AND my cat.

    So. Yeah. Franklin. Poor Franklin.

  2. Oh yeah. Boy oh boy. How can it be called “monthly” when the numbers are 32, 50, 27, 43, 38, etc. I have to keep track on my phone. But now my most accurate predictor is the rage and exhaustion, and heightened anxiety (Oh my GOD, I KNOW it is a heart attack this time and NOT asthma with the damn rain) which is almost exactly two weeks prior to the BIG EVENT. Sheesh. Send some cleaning and purging energy down this way, would you? I am rapidly entering the fire-watching, couch-sitting, baking inside mentality…..

  3. I have gotten more regular rather than less in my mid-40s, but my periods are now very closely spaced. They’re also shorter, so I guess it’s a wash in terms of how many days I have it. I am also prone to feeling everything is unbearably tragic for a few days beforehand but not every time so it’s tricky that way. Eleven days sounds rough.

    I had to clean out June’s pants, skirts, and tights drawer today because it wouldn’t close and I came to the conclusion she has WAY too many clothes. But all I got rid of was three pair of outgrown or holey tights because I wasn’t up to sorting it. Still, when the clothes are folded, the drawer does close.

  4. Not Inadequate says

    Welcome to your 40s. After two years of feeling like, “I’m not crabby, everyone just needs to stop pissing me off because I am trying to cry in peace at this commercial” I finally went to the gyno and cried all over her shoulder. She prescribed some hormones, aka birth control pills, which so far have only gotten me swollen painful boobs and a craving for all the ice cream. She said it would take three months, so we’ll see. I would also like to stop being so exhausted all the damn time, but probably the pills can’t work all the miracles. Between adolescence and menopause, we only get what, 15 years of “normal”? I think hormonal chaos is the norm and we are deluded.

  5. I told the gynecologist my similar change in symptoms, and she slapped the “peri-menopausal” label on it. That made me feel much, much better. Wait, not better, the opposite of that.

  6. smothermother says

    my husband is happy he doesn’t have to get snipped because i continue to take the pill. it’s the only thing that makes me sane. i even tried a lower dose and the crazies came back. it’s not helping with the night sweats though. i’m afraid to get the peri-menopausal label too!

  7. THANK YOU, I thought I was the only member of PMS crazy town. Since I crossed the 40 barrier it’s been nuts – all the same symptoms, and the same random scheduling. Remember that episode of The Cosby Show when Claire came running in from picking up Rudy at school, and stuck her head in the freezer? She made menopause seem so charming. Mrs. Huxtable, you LIE.

  8. Lady Week is a lovely happening every motherfucking 23, 24, 28, 24, 28, 35 – SHIIIIIIIIT. 24, grrrr days lately. I have a lovely little app on my phone that’s a pink flower that tells me this. I need a pink flower to tell me when Lady Week is coming because the huge pain in my boobs a week before isn’t painful enough. No, I also need reminding because I think I lose some more brain cells through my front bottom every month too. I once said I couldn’t wait for old age. I think I lied. Or I’d just rather skip this bit and go straight to Shady Pines. I can’t wait to be a real life Golden Girl. They had fun. Lynn, I remember Mrs Huxtable too. I’m certainly not as glamorous as her!

  9. Yes. Yes. Yes. All the yes. I guess I should be grateful that I mostly did not notice my period for my 20s and 30s. It came, it went, I bled, there was wine etc.

    Now I am bleeding every three weeks, 8x as much blood it seems like, plus PMS that mimics flu — with night sweats and weakness and fatigue. The intense amount of exercise I’ve been doing this summer (running 4x a week) seems to have allayed the mental health bs but I don’t know how long I can keep up that schedule. Bah.

    Ovulation is the only good time of the month now and I think that’s nature’s way of trying to trick us into ONE MORE BABY before we shut the works down, but it ain’t gonna work, Nature. #legswideshut

  10. HOWEVER, ps I’m not sure if it was you or Hannah who coined SHARK WEEK but I use it every .. well, three weeks .. and it never ceases to make me laugh. Even better that I can say it to my husband who has to think about it every time, and then he gets it and laughs too, and pours me more wine. So thank you.

  11. I MISSED ALL THE PMS HATE LOVE because I was busy wallowing in my ACTUAL PERIOD, plus packing AGAIN for another goddamned week-end full of fun and fucking wonderful people. My doctor made me stop taking the birth control pill, which I loved, because I get a lot of headaches, so now I get a lot of headaches AND my periods are apocalyptic, plus my husband finally got a vasectomy and I’m practically a crone so going back on the pill seems dumb. Last week I practically destroyed the kitchen over Angus dribbling yogurt on the counter and not putting his dishes in the dishwasher. Of course, the next day he asked me how my day was and hugged me and told me I looked really good from going to the gym (which I don’t), so, silver lining?

  12. I MISSED IT TOO!! Damn it because I have complaints on this matter. In my mid-40s and period arrives every three weeks, involves three days beforehand of not sleeping due to random free-form anxiety, and still lasts a week. This means I’m mentally stable about 1 week a month and that is some BULLSHIT. Perimenopause is such complete crap. The only upside is that because Youngest is only 5, I’m sincerely hoping I will be completely over and done with this menopause crap before she starts menstruating because this house will not contain two women like this. Nope…

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