Now that I’m the 40-something year old mother of a boy starting middle school, I understand why people are meant to have children when they’re younger. No house — and I mean NO house — is big enough for the clash of menopause symptoms and puberty.
For one thing, our budget can barely cover the air-conditioning bill required to keep my hot flashes, as well as the smell of a sweaty pre-teen boy, from stinking up the place. Then there are the mood swings, both his and mine. His usually strike when he’s tired, which happens in the half-hour before dinnertime. Mine usually strike when I’m both tired and still have obligations, like making a meal for said dinnertime. For the most part, we’ve learned not to be in the same room during those stressful thirty minutes, but every so often his homework runs longer than usual. That’s when my husband will come home to find both my son and I barely speaking to each other not out of anger, but out of restraint: we’ve learned that conversations at that point are likely to lead to tears (his), grinding teeth (mine) and drop-dead stares (both of ours).
Unfortunately, my husband has completely forgotten what he was like during his own puberty, and of course he has absolutely no experience being a menopausal woman. As far as he’s concerned, both my son and I can simply “walk off” our hormonal mood swings. Maybe that’s true for a pre-teen boy with a full head of steam, but the very LAST thing a middle-aged man out to tell his wife when she’s experiencing the bloating, mood swings, exhaustion, and hot flashes of The Change is to “just walk it off”.
Because, well, she just might keep walking and never come back.
The good news is that I no longer am looking to my husband for understanding about any of this. I don’t have to now that there’s a website devoted to what we’re going to call the “menopausal community”. GotMenopause covers it all, from peri-menopause all the way through those post-menopausal years when you’re finally, finally getting back to the real you. There are articles as well as forums, and they’re building a nice little social network over there.
In other words, the next time my husband suggests I just “walk off” the insomnia, brain fog and those horrible, horrible hot flashes, I’m going to do just that. But, instead of walking out the door, I’ll make a path to the computer.