Today it seems we’re all on high alert.

Sure, there are the routine Homeland Security threats, pending weather catastrophes and  local road construction warnings to keep us on our toes. They’ve become just another part of simple day-to-day living.

Then there are the alerts that literally keep my world spinning. If you’re an iPhone devotee like me, you know exactly what I’m talking about. As a busy mom with three kids, I program my phone’s calendar to beep at me as a reminder that another scheduled event is coming up. Which lately seems to be about every 15 minutes.

I have alerts set for looming piano lessons, soccer practice, ballet. Doctor and dentist visits, hair appointments, work meetings, conference calls, repairman visits and birthdays are in there as well, along with reminders to pay the bills, volunteer at school and, rarely, see a counselor to ensure my mental and emotional fortitude.

And yet, I recently found out, something had slipped through the cracks of my iron-clad, foolproof alert system.

This one snuck up on me, as important things in life often do. I’d had a particularly tough morning getting all the kids (including a strong-willed three-year-old) off to school. My husband had been out of the country for about nine days. Getting my youngest dressed left me a cold sweat. I was angry and yelling at everyone a lot.

Driving home after drop off I had a complete break down. Sobbing uncontrollably, I dragged myself up the front steps and fell onto the floor in a pitiful heap. Surely I was the worst mother in the world. These kids deserved better than me. I might as well give up on  parenting and find a different life project.

This storm of upset raged for about an hour before I was able to collect my wits and pull myself together. Thank God that’s over, I thought.

Then the next day–surprise! I started my period.

I went to a work meeting later that morning and was telling a female colleague about my meltdown just prior to my period. I told her I do this every single month, and yet never seem to track when Hurricane Monica is about to hit.

Turns out there’s an app for that.

She shows me on her iPhone a free app called iPeriod (seriously). Surely invented by a techno whiz of a woman, iPeriod can give you a few days’ heads up that you’re about to start. It can also track a wide range of other related issues, like ovulation, moods and self breast exam reminders.

I was on my knees thanking God, Steve Jobs and anyone else involved in the evolution of modern technology. This app, I knew, would change my entire family’s life.

That and probably a couple nights away from my high-alert life. Somehow that never gets on the calendar.

This article was originally published in Mia Magazine.