Josh, Tony, and I worked on UNBORED for the better part of two years. While most of what we wrote and designed made it into the finished book, there are a few things we ditched because they didn’t fit well enough with our general theme.
This story is one of those outtakes. Even though we didn’t print it, we still think it’s important information for anyone with a mom who isn’t acting like herself:
Does your mom seem crankier than she used to? Does she yell things like “You never never, never help around the house!” (even though you do, sometimes) and “I can’t take this anymore!?” Does she break into a sweat and look like she’s run a marathon even though she’s just flipping pancakes? Does she complain about waking up at 4:30 and not falling back asleep? Are her jeans tighter?
If your mom is in her 40s (or late 30s, or early 50s) she could be going through perimenopause. Also known as The Change, this is the time in a woman’s life when her ovaries start to produce less estrogen. Perimenopause can last as long as ten years and ends when a woman’s body stops producing eggs. When that happens—the average age is 51—it’s called menopause.
Perimenopause is kind of like going through puberty, only in reverse. Whereas puberty makes a woman’s body able to have babies, menopause means her body can no longer get pregnant on its own.
Because of all the hormone changes, perimenopause can be hard on a woman, not to mention her entire family. When hormone levels go up and down, it can make some women feel really emotional. Here’s what you need to know about what your mom is going through.
She’s not sick. Perimenopause is a natural part of life. So even if your mom needs torest more and her energy is dragging, don’t worry—she’s healthy.
She’s not mad at you. Hormones can make a mom feel intense rage over really little things, like your not putting away your shoes or not doing your homework when she asks you to. If your mom flies off the handle, know that it’s probably the hormones yelling, not her, and it’s not about you. Remind yourself that this is just a stage. (However, if she’s always had a really hot temper, consider talking with her or another adult you trust about that—she could need some help getting her anger under control.)
Ask her if she needs a time out. Sometimes all the activities of normal family life canfeel like too much for a perimenopausal woman. If your mom’s losing it, ask her if she needs
to take a break for ten minutes. If you really want to help her calm down, offer to make her a cup of her favorite tea. Foot rubs are good, too.
Lend a hand. For some moms, being perimenopausal can feel like being sick (but remember, she’s healthy). Helping more around the house is a nice way to show your mom that you love her.