In my early twenties, I had envisioned getting married and having kids by the time I was thirty. I wanted to still be “young enough,” (whatever the hell that is) to enjoy my children and have the energy to keep up with them. Yet while in my twenties, I went back to college at 24 for a second degree and realized that I wasn’t quite ready for kids, financially speaking.
Life happened, and I didn’t get married until I was 31. Then medical stuff happened, and I finally had a baby at 35. I thought to myself, “Hey, I’m gainfully employed, I have a roof over my head and I feel mature enough to handle parenting.”
I don’t think I thought things through. While having a child later in life has its perks. (that whole maturity and financial stability thing), I found I had forgotten something. Menopause.
Perimenopause hit around my 39th birthday. It started in stealth mode. Every once in a while, I’d have a little hot flash. Not enough to have me opening the windows in below zero weather. Just enough to flash quickly across my mental radar. It has steadily increased since then. I’m now in my mid forties and it’s a common denominator in my life’s equation. It has also begun butting heads with another phenomenon: A preteen boy.
I joke about this with my friends, probably in an effort to keep from ending up in a strait jacket. My child’s emotional mood swings are now completely tied to my cycle and symptoms. That, my friends, can make homeschooling hell.
Tina, over at The Homeschool Realm wrote a post about this very topic. When it showed up in my Twitter feed, I thought, “Amen! I’m not the only one!” In my circle of local homeschooling friends, most of the moms are younger than I am by ten years or more, so there’s no one to commiserate with. Tina’s post resonated, especially this year. There’s nothing like this time in a woman’s life. Throw in a parent’s illness and death, taking care of another ill parent, dealing with a hormonal pre-teen who bursts into tears and doesn’t know why, hot flashes and not being able to remember what day it is or who moved my damn to-do list. I can’t keep anything straight. Some days, it takes all my energy just to get out of bed and get dressed. My body’s need to take it easy struggles with my brain to do all the things, and educate my child. There are days when sitting on the couch, listening to my child talk about the latest book he’s read, or watching him create an intricate map for a Minecraft world is the most educational thing that happens. It’s times like these when documentaries and a huge bag of library books comes in handy. (I also like to think I’m teaching him how to care for his wife, should he ever get married.)
Tina mentioned in her post that perhaps there needs to be a Facebook group for homeschooling moms like us. I think she may be on to something.