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Midlife parenting often means navigating puberty and perimenopause at the same time.
The average age of first parenthood has increased in recent years, so many moms now find themselves going thru perimenopause around the same time their kids hit puberty, according to a 2021 New York Times Parenting Newsletter article titled, When Your Home is a Hormonal Hellscape.
And while thinking of your home as a “hormonal hellscape” may not be soothing, it’s refreshing to hear honest talk about midlife parenting.
“Sometimes people try to soft pedal the challenges,” says Ann Douglas, author of the best selling MOTHER OF ALL BOOKS series and Parenting Through the Storm, a book about parenting children through psychological problems. “Let’s be real about it.”
That’s exactly what Douglas does in her latest book, Navigating the Messy Middle: A Fiercely Honest & Wildly Encouraging Guide for Midlife Women.
Similarities Between Puberty & Midlife
“When you’re at midlife, you tend to start questioning everything,” Douglas says. “It’s a lot like the identity quest of adolescence.”
Understanding that fact may make you more empathetic to the changes (and mood swings!) your child is experiencing. Many midlife adults and teens are asking themselves, How do I fit into the world?
Midlife Parents Need Support & Community
“I am such a believer in peer support,” Douglas says. “You want to talk to someone who knows just how hard it is – and who won’t judge — and that some from layers and layers of shared experience. We were never meant to go through any life stage on our own.”
Support and community can be found online or in person. “You can process a lot of the thinking and learning together,” says Douglas, who believes that her younger self would be surprised to discover what a joyous stage midlife can be. “It literally feels like I was running a marathon for decades – and then suddenly, the race didn’t matter as much and it was more about feeling happy with who I am and my contributions to the world. I feel like I can enjoy and savor.”
In this episode, Jen & Ann discuss:
- Perimenopause as “reverse puberty”
- How midlife sneaks up on us
- Feeling invisible
- Money and work at midlife
- Addressing perimenopause symptoms
- Real self-care
Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:
anndouglas.ca — Ann’s website
When Your Home is a Hormonal Hellscape — NYT article
Midlife Reimagined — Ann’s Psychology Today blog
Author Ann Douglas on How to Help Boys with Mental Health Problems — Building Boys post
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