They don’t call menopause “the change” for nothing—it’s transformed your sweet-tempered mom into one big, sweaty mood swing. Here’s how to deal.
Step 1: Ignore her wildly fluctuating moods Ignore her wildly fluctuating moods. Who cares if she’s laughing one minute, sobbing the next? Her hormones are in a state of tremendous flux, and calling her a psycho is not going to help.
TIP: Repeat this mantra: 'This is only a stage mom’s going through. It’s going to end.' This is especially helpful when she comes home all gothed out and asks how she looks.
Step 2: Keep a sweater handy Keep a sweater handy. That way, you’ll be prepared when Mom throws open the window on a frigid day, or lowers the thermostat to 60 degrees.
Step 3: Be patient with memory lapses Be patient with her memory lapses. Learn how to put yourself in a Zen state as she tells you, for the fifth time, the funny thing that happened at work last week.
Step 4: Draw her a nightly bath Draw a nightly bath for her to help her fall asleep. Insomnia is a common problem with menopausal women and, trust us, you don’t want her losing any sleep; she’ll be irritable enough as it is.
TIP: Brew a cup of chamomile tea for her before she turns in; it’s a natural sleep inducer.
Step 5: Encourage her to exercise Encourage her to exercise. Studies show that women who work out regularly are less bothered by menopausal symptoms. (Exercise with her and it will help you let off steam, too.)
Step 6: Mark the milestone Instead of grumbling about your grumpy mom, why not help her celebrate this milestone? Make her breakfast in bed, give her flowers, or just write her a sweet note. It’ll be a gesture she’ll never forget.
FACT: The average age for the onset of menopause is 51.