Motherhood meets menopause: Putting yourself on the list


I (she) had a great fondness for watching a sunrise from a hilltop, but -- I’m sure this will come as no surprise -- I have only managed that feat once during the last five years. Other pleasures I (she) enjoyed that I indulge in more frequently include going out to breakfast alone, rummaging through flea markets, foraging for wild medicinal herbs, spending luxurious time on the telephone gossiping with my best friend, getting a massage from a woman with strong hands and a kind heart, buying too many platform shoes, and going to a 1:30 matinee. I have a girlfriend who puts on a nostalgic old pair of cowboy boots and goes dancing every time she feels like life has nailed her to the ground.

Sit quietly and remember the life you led before you became a mother. Remember the ways you had of taking care of yourself. Let your mind run wild and imagine how you might incorporate some of this good medicine into your life now, each day or each week. It doesn’t matter if you’re inclined to gather and drink wild herbs, or meet a friend for a shot of scotch, straight up. Personally I’ve done both. What matters is that you take the time to care for yourself. And while I believe there is a special hell reserved for those who urge hormonally challenged and physically depleted midlife mothers to “just do it,” there are instantaneous and life-affirming benefits to putting yourself on the list of the people you regularly nurture.

Seek out and connect with other older first-time moms like yourself. Put up notices on bulletin boards or in local classifieds. When appropriate, help each other with childcare and housecleaning so that each of you gets what you need -- precious time to be with yourself and with others so that you can return to parenting renewed and inspired.

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