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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Hot Flashes and Teen Hormones

Those of us who waited until the very last second to have children find ourselves in a double whammy. As our children are entering puberty, and teen hormones are raging, so are our own.

Since menopause is only discussed in hushed whispers, with anyone not experiencing it turning away llike you are cursed somehow, I’m writing this for the rest of us.

Menopause is a tough time for women, we are emotional, our bodies eject heat like a rocket propelling itself towards space, and our waistlines disappear as weight seems to attach itself, as if through some sort of scientific sludge process, to parts of our bodies we never thought possible.

At the same time, that young boy or girl who said I love you all the time, liked to spend time with you, wanted your help and approval on schoolwork, and made you feel like parenthood was all worthwhile, has become a nightmare. Oh there are still flashes of the sweet, loving child in the alien teenage being who suddenly lives in your house. But they are rare and fleeting.

You become the chauffer, bank account, major embarrassment, and most grunted at person in your own house. And that’s on a good day.

I’ve heard that boys are better than girls in their teenage years, and I hope that’s true because the boy I have makes me want to tear my hair out. He’s obnoxious, cutting, sarcastic, selfish and so obsessed with how he looks or wants to look, that I just want to transport him to thirty years from now so he’ll have a new respect for his mother. Will someone please build me a time machine so my son can see that what goes around comes around?

So how do these two edges of the hormonal spectrum live together, without hurting each other? Not easily. Fortunately, once menopause starts you are done with the “I should have had more children” phase, that plaugues women in their late forties when it was still kind of possible. So at least the dilemma of whether to make more kids is over. We have enough trouble dealing with the ones we already have.
But let’s face it menopausal women are moody. We don’t sleep without pills. We scream at people and then don’t know why we did it. Oh the hormones help, but they don’t make it go away. I still sweat like I’m in a hot yoga class after a glass of wine or an Advil.

The one positive thing I can say, is that women in menopause get the hormone thing. We may have long ago forgotten what it feels like to be an actual teen, but we know what raging hormones do to us. And we have to learn to control that craziness. Not just to work and function in a world that is afraid to acknowledge menopause exists, but to deal with our teenaged children.

So let’s look at this menopause thing versus teenaged hormonal thing in a positive way fellow mothers of a certain age. Let our own hormonal mess act as a constant reminder of what our teens are going through. And if we take a deep breath, before we scream at our kids, we’re likely find a better way to deal with them.

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