The bond between a mother and child is very unique. There can be visible similarities between the two -- mannerisms, looks or facial expressions -- but mothers and daughters have much more in common than the eye can see. In honor of Mother's Day, take a look at some likenesses you may share with your mother and/or child that you haven't yet considered and the bonds you can forge through them.
Teenagers can relate to what their mothers are going through in menopause since their own hormones fluctuated greatly in puberty. Things can get crazy when puberty and menopause are under one roof! It's something I like to call dueling hormones. But there is a real opportunity to take these challenges and turn them into a time of growth and connection. Working on your own personal growth, knowing your body and being prepared for perimenopause and menopause will help ease the super tense dynamics that can develop between you and your kids. Often, communication becomes a challenge when puberty and perimenopause occupy the same household. It's important to keep talking. Let your children know that you care for them and are here for them if they need you, while respecting their journey towards independence. Try not to personalize the silence treatment or outbursts. Remind yourself that you two are on parallel roller coasters and wave to each other every now and then.
Conversations with your teenagers about sex can be awkward. Some parents avoid it all together. Most parents avoid discussion about what to expect when the period packs up and leaves, too, and it seems to have been omitted from health class as well. Why? Anyone who has a shmirshky or knows someone who does is going to go through perimenopause and menopause some day. Carving out time to sit down with your teenager to discuss perimenopause and menopause can help both of you. Share your own challenges openly so they know what you're going through, and give them an opportunity to relate to you even if they don't want to show it. In Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness, there's a Menopause Symptoms Chart on pages 168-69 to help women track the menopause symptoms they are experiencing. Many women have found that going through the chart with their teens can open up the discussion about what they're both experiencing. Your teen may be experiencing sleepless nights, mood swings, anxiety, trouble concentrating, exhaustion, pimples galore, heart palpitations, weight gain, headaches or feel overwhelmed and unusually tense. Any of these ring a bell?
Hormonal changes are common throughout life. In puberty, pregnancy, perimenopause and menopause, your levels rise and fall, and the side effects can be quite difficult. Take some time to break open the conversation with your own mom about her experience. After you get past your mom telling you that she breezed through menopause with no problems, ask her if she ever experienced sleepless nights, hot flashes, mood swings, uncontrollable irritability, a disappearing libido or memory loss when she was in her 40s or early 50s. This is usually quite the ice breaker!
Celebrate Mother's Day by sharing your experiences with your children and encouraging them to share with you. Sit down with your own mother and chat about her life's journey.
How well do your children know you? How well do you know your mother?
Happy Mother's Day!
Remember: Reaching out is IN. Suffering in silence is OUT!
Ellen Dolgen is the author of Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness - a cut-to-the-chase, purse-sized guide to perimenopause and menopause.