Motherhood meets menopause: Accepting your ambivalence

Suzanne, a 49-year-old business administrator and mother of 8-year-old Sara, had the support group groaning and laughing as she described what happened the day before she was about to leave on a much-needed two-day weekend retreat by herself.

“Sara wanted to know why she couldn’t come with me,” she said, “so I had to explain about how I needed to take some time away for myself. But still, I was feeling pretty conflicted about it. So by the time she asked me to take her to the Laundromat to help her wash her giant quilt, I said yes. It had been an intense day at work and I was feeling pretty hormonal. I probably should have known better, but my guilt got the better of me. After two hours of sitting in this smelly Laundromat, watching really bad TV, with the bathroom out of order, she drags the damn quilt through an oil spill on the way to the car. I totally lost it and began haranguing her about how she needed to focus more. So then I got into the car and I proceeded to back up over one of those concrete row dividers they have in parking lots. Men came out of the Laundromat to watch me. Blessedly my daughter didn’t say a word on the way home. But while we were eating dinner my husband asked us how the day had gone, and of course she told him everything -- how I had given her a ‘big old lecture on being focused’ while I was backing up over this thing, and how half the town had come out to watch me. So my husband put his fork down and said to her, ‘Honey, that’s why Mommy needs to go away.’”

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