Manopause, and Menopause, are hard enough on those who must journey through it. And often, we don’t notice the changes in behavior that affect those around us. “Asshole,” “Shrew,” “Douchebag,” and many more monikers are often used for those afflicted. But what about our kids? What do they think about their aging parents acting out in new and sometimes embarrassing ways? The Manopause Team wanted to know, and since most of us are older and either don’t remember our parents “changing,” or have buried it deep inside a dark place, we decided to ask a millennial living through the experience right now. Here’s what she said:
Going through mental and physical changes as you age cannot be easy… but do you know who suffers the most during those changes? YOUR KIDS! As a daughter that has lived through a father going through manopause, and a mother that went through a never-ending decade of menopause, I can attest to trauma children endure as their parents age.
While I assumed it would just be my mother’s hot flashes I would deal with, I was in for a shock when I witnessed the overwhelming amount of changes my mom went through during menopause. While venting to my father always helped, it later became clear that he too was going through some major changes.
The warning signs.
My mom had the occasional hot flash, the mood swings, and a dwindling amount of patience. This was expected. However, over the years, she developed fears and levels of anxiety I had not previously seen in her. She became afraid of flying in airplanes, afraid of being in the car when someone else was driving, and she constantly mentioned her wanting to be close to home. She wanted to “nest.” Because she chose not to leave her bubble often, she had less going on. What do you do when you’re bored? You call your kids and vent about things they do not care about… like your friend’s daughter’s new boyfriend. Or your friend’s son’s new STD. Simply put….gossip. Gossip in excruciatingly long and detailed phone calls. I mean really… did I need to know about the color of your friend’s nieces wedding invite while I am at work?
My dad on the other hand… had an opposite reaction to manopause. He wanted to “live his best life.” That meant travelling more (without my nervous mother), socializing more, and spending hours diving into his new hobbies. Part of me wonders if these were symptoms of manopause, or the end result of living with a woman going through menopause…and that answer I will never know. Another noticeable change was that we couldn’t have one family get together without him crying and getting emotional about something. I can remember two times in my life that I saw my dad cry…. until manopause. He became more sentimental, emotional, and “spiritual.” He also has developed onset ADD. Although he probably always had this condition, it was likely diagnosed with booze and avoiding college. But it came back with a vengeance. Manopause caused my sweet, attentive, doting father to become a 12 year old boy. He cannot sit still, he cannot focus on one task at hand, and he lost all ability to successfully multitask.
Throughout my journey dealing with the insanity, I also noticed that both menopause and manopause had commonalities. My parents started bickering constantly. More than ever. They bickered about anything and everything. The underlying theme was that they both had a lack of patience that came with the aging process. Everything has to be done this minute, all at once. In other words, they have NO chill. In addition to losing any chill they had, I noticed that they were more set in their ways, and their routines. Whether that be frequenting the local Home Goods, hoarding canned goods, bossing the gardeners around the yard, or answering every single phone call because they still don’t know that nobody does that anymore….they cannot be told how to live their lives, or take advice from us dumb millennials because “back in their day, they walked a mile to school in the snow with no shoes.”
I am currently accepting thoughts and prayers (and donations), as I continue to suffer through living with menopausal and manopausal parents.
And there it is. A view of Manopause, and Menopause, from the other side. But take solace, boomers, in the fact that sooner or later…they’re going to experience it too!