The Politics of Menopausal mothers to Teenager Daughters Relationships

October 23, 2008
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A mother holds her daughter sweetly, cradling her new baby girl in her sweaty arms. She whispers sweetly to her child, promising to keep her safely throughout her life and to love her unconditionally. Over sixteen years later, the daughter is still the same baby girl the mother had once held in her arms, but with a few additional differences. She has experienced puberty, pain, anger, and is in the mist of her most rebellious stage. The mother, on the other hand, is also quite different, but in other ways; the constant worry that has come along with being a mother has aged her a noticeable amount and like her daughter, she is going through a major point in her life, menopause. Their conversations have the same repetitive pattern: greeting, smiling, offense, argument.

The daughter slowly walks up to her mother with a sweet smile on her face; she comes up behind her mother and wraps her arms around her. The mom, gives her a smile in exchange, and then frowns. She is aware of what this action means, her sudden friendliness towards her mother can only mean one thing, “I want something,” the woman translates. The mother sighs and asks, “What do you want?” The daughter looks shocked, accusing her mother of not accepting her love and not trusting her, then slyly adds, “I don’t want anything, but I need the car.” The mother asks her daughter for a reason, and the daughter has once again gotten defensive, “You don’t trust me!” Through the mother’s difficult years stuck side to side with her daughter, watching her every move, analyzing the ways of a growing girl, she could see the truth behind her accusation. The daughter in fact, may have actually believed that her mother did not trust her, which may or may not be true, and through that, she begins to babble angrily. But the mother could only hear, “Mom, I am not going to tell you where I am going, I don’t want you to know where I’m going, you don’t need to know, obviously because it’s somewhere you would not like me to go.” The mother who is now piling up dangerous places where her daughter may have planned to go, is now bubbling with fear and anger, she looks at her sternly, “No,” she says and walks away to the loud yelling voice of a teenage girl.

Although the daughter has clearly not only showed that she has practiced and studied the ways of manipulating words to her own benefit, she shows the qualities that all teenage girls possess, the ability to be a stubborn, angry, back talking pain in the neck, the mother has her share of faults too. The average age for a woman to hit menopause is fifty one and a half years old. Is this fact relevant? Teenage years are from the ages of thirteen to nineteen; at least five of those years are spent with the child’s mother. Unfortunately, in many households, these two unpredictable, bothersome periods happen at the same time, making the home that is supposed to be comforting pretty volatile and plain annoying. Middle age mothers, teenage daughters, if you have ever wondered why the men in your family disappear for hours a day, take a moment to reflect on yourself and then think about it again. Menopause stricken woman are beyond emotional, they are the queens of PMS. The daughter is sitting in her room quietly, texting her friends and surfing the internet. Suddenly, the door slams open, a hysterical mother holding a brown kit is standing in the doorway. The daughter sighs, she is prepared for this, she can feel the tension, and she braces herself for whatever may come next. “I am going to die soon, I am an old woman, and I must teach you how to cover up your roots for when you are an old woman like me,” she announces. The daughter stares at her mother, “What?” she asks. The daughter quickly translates, “Assure me I am not old,” she hears her mother command in her mind. The daughter complies, “You’re not old mom.” The mother looks at her, and bursts into tears, “You’re lying!”She storms out of the room.

On a hot, summer day, the daughter trudges into her mother’s car and slams the door behind her. The mother groans, she is hot, she has been doing mindless chores the whole day, her work has been troubling, and she has been waiting in a car for her short attention spanned daughter for over twenty minutes. The daughter begins to complain loudly about how horrible her day was and how she (her mother) needed to be at the school ready to pick her up earlier. The mother, who is now grinding her teeth angrily, turns to her daughter, “You know what you are? You’re like a lion; you look like you want to be loved and groomed, but if you get close, and do you know what you do? You bite peoples’ heads off!” Here’s a quick translation to this: You are making me mad, I liked you more when you were a friendly ‘lion cub.’ You complain too much. The daughter stares at her, utterly shocked, and then opens her mouth, “Why are you yelling at me? Why are you attacking me? I know you hate me. You like my brother more than me.” The words flow through the mother’s mind, she puts it through her teenage truth scanner and the meaning is revealed in her head, “I would like to yell at you today because the stress of high school is making me a completely grumpy loon. However, you are not letting me yell at you, so I’m going to accuse you of things so maybe you’ll feel guilty and I get to scold you.” Under high pressure situations that show an obvious disappointment of a respected peer, the pressured person often sees or hears things differently. There have been many times when I have thought I was being screamed at, when in fact, I was simply being told ‘no.’ The mother is still staring at the young woman, bewildered, “You want to see yelling? Do you? You think this is bad; I don’t make you do anything! You don’t have enough chores! When we get home, you have to clean the kitchen!” Translation: “I am showing you who is boss. You are under my authority because I am your mother, be afraid!” The daughter’s lip begins to quiver, “You’re mean to me,” she mumbles, meaning, “I’m afraid.”

Even though the relationship of a mother and a daughter is centered and based off of pointless fight and following make-ups, the bottom line is that both of the members of the relationships need to realize something. The teenage girls will always feel constricted and overpowered by their mother and at their rebellious stage they act out and try to find their own independence. The teenagers need to face that although they may have seemingly uncontrollable mood swings that may make them feel like the world is ending, that they’re growing up, they need to learn that they have to respect and obey their mothers because they sincerely do care and that they are their parent. Menopausal mothers have a similar problem, they have horrible mood swings that make them feel like that the weight of the world is balancing on their shoulders. On top of that, their little girl isn’t so little anymore and they’re trying with all of their might and energy to guide them in the right direction and keep them from growing up. Each mom needs to accept that their daughter needs to pull away from their mothers; they need to individuate and find their own path. Mothers and daughters are both going through their own mental and physical obstacles and discovering facts about themselves that they may or may not like. The adolescent teenager can only see fault but in reality, what they really are afraid of, is growing up. Deep down, subconsciously, they are afraid of the transformation of a child into a woman and breaking apart from their mother, the person who has not only given them life, but guided them through it. The mother wakes up to their body that is rapidly changing and declining while also being held hostage by the most explosive hormones that she has ever experienced. On top of this, their little girl is edging adulthood and pushing her away, in order to find her own identity. The politics of a menopausal mother to a teenage daughter relationship requires a delicate dance that each performer, at the end of the ceremony, comes out with a better understanding of themselves.

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