Me and Menopause

(Guys, you probably don’t want to read this. It is all about girly stuff.)

I have been feeling rather miserable the last few days. I know why, it is because I haven’t been sleeping well. And I know why I haven’t been sleeping well: MENOPAUSE.  After trolling the internet I learned there really isn’t anything I can do about it. So I am just trying to roll along, take things one day or 5 minutes at a time, whatever it takes.

It is worrisome though when you don’t even want to lie on the couch and eat brownies and watch television all day. What is lower than that? (I guess not getting out of bed at all.) Supposedly I am to try and take care of myself first. Okay. So here is what I am doing:

1. I dug out my pedometer, bought a new battery for it and started wearing it. Exercise may help with the sleep issues but who wants to exercise when they are exhausted? Not me. But walking is okay so I am focusing on those 10k steps. I walk the dog, walk my son home from school and now walk on the treadmill while using the computer. I was doing all these anyway but hopefully if I know I walked 10k steps that will help my brain lure my body into sleep.

2.  Attitude is everything.  I sort of hate that rah-rah kind of stuff but if it helps I guess I can be okay with it.  I knew these days were coming.  When I first had my thyroid problems I thought it was menopause.  Approaching the big 5-0, having a period last 17 days and being awakened multiple times during the night by hot flashes (aka night sweats), followed by waking up because I am cold since I kicked all the covers off leads me to believe this is the real thing this time.   How long can it last?  One to five years?  Oh.  At least there is a deadline.  And really is there anything that I am doing right now that can’t be put off one to five years?

3.  I can be glad I am not a rocket scientist.  With the fatigue and brain fog I can only imagine making some miscalculation that throws off weeks or months of work.  I only have to worry about things like not checking pockets before throwing the clothes in the washer or not having the least bit of interest in making a healthy dinner and calling the husband to bring home takeout.  (Actually the family is pretty happy when that happens.)

4.  Since I am home alone all day I can cry whenever I want without having anyone look at me in horror.  Like while watching  “Downton Abbey”,  during old movies that are actually comedies, reading half the posts on FB,  or  while listening to a Nicholas Sparks novel. Hormones can react to any emotion.

5.  The realization that even though it very much feels like it, my head won’t actually explode if I have to do one more load of laundry.  I am not a cartoon character.  Of course if I was a cartoon character I wouldn’t be going through the hell of menopause,  but then again my head might really explode.

6.  I think every woman actually survives menopause, some spouses might not but that is not my problem.  And every woman gets her own unique set of symptoms and severity.  I can be unique.  I can survive.  So here is to another year of being driven crazy by hormones.  Sigh. So yeah, maybe I am crying just a little right now.

Two Weeks Later

I am now starting my third week of my new “me time” routine. After a lot of thinking I have decided to officially call it “T Time” for writing purposes.

I was actually rather nervous at the start of day one. I had no idea how things were going to work out.  Change is stressful, even good change. I had to talk myself out of waiting another week to start and pep talked myself into forging ahead.

Day one was…amazing! It was so relaxing being able to do things without constantly looking at the clock. I was able to go slow, stop and ponder, enjoy the sunshine. It was incredibly liberating.

Not perfect of course. I did do two loads of laundry. (I hang a lot of things outside so I can’t wait until late afternoon if I am going to take advantage of the Arizona winter sunshine.) At lunch time I had to sternly tell myself that unloading and reloading the dishwasher could wait until 2:00p. And so it waited and the world didn’t end!

And then real life happened and T Time got interrupted by preparations for a camping trip, a puppet show at school etc.  But to my surprise and delight I didn’t let T Time get cancelled altogether.  Postponed, rescheduled and skipped at times, but not gone.

I have learned a lot these last two weeks.  I learned that I really need this time to myself.  I am happier, calmer and less annoyed by small annoyances.  I learned that you can get a lot of housework done in 45 focused minutes.  I learned that it is okay to relax and be flexible and make stuff up as I go.

One day I found myself wondering what the rules for T Time were.  Did there have to be rules?  Maybe a few.  Could I watch television during T Time?  Yes, as long as it was something I really wanted to watch and I wasn’t just killing time flipping through the DVR list.  What about cooking  or baking.  Yes, if it was really something I wanted to do and not just prepping vegetables for dinner that could easily wait until after T Time.  Did I need to have a set routine?  No, but I do find it best to start my day in the office with some quiet time, thoughts about how to use my T Time and planning my to do list.

The best part of T Time?  It has made me a better parent.  I am calm and patient and my son is learning how to help clean up.  We have been working together, nicely.  It is so much better than the frustrated, yelling and still having to do all the cleaning up person I was before.  My son responds so much better to the calm.  And if he chooses not to help I sadly but firmly enforce the consequences.  Turns out he doesn’t mind helping Mom when she is so nice.

I am thrilled to be looking forward to this week filled with T Time, savoring it all the more because I know next week will be another tough week filled with interruptions.  Interruptions that I will be able to handle gracefully because my cup of solitude, peace and reflection will be filled to the brim from this week!