Feeling underappreciated has long been an issue for many-a-woman, but can anyone really blame us, considering the kind of gratitude we receive?
I’m not talking about the lack of thank yous for doing the laundry, cleaning the toilet and buying everyone’s favorite cookies. I’m talking about life in general.
Think about it: After carrying a baby for nine months and giving birth, you’re rewarded with being the distinguished recipient of bigger feet, a smaller chest and darker hair. Gee, thanks. As an added bonus and sign of gratitude for sacrificing your body and lifestyle, enjoy some stretch marks and a protruding abdomen. Even better.
Luckily, children are the greatest gift you can possibly receive, so uncomfortable shoes, doing sit-ups, paying for highlights and shopping in the preteen underwear department is all worth it.
Ah, but then, after you completely devote yourself to raising your children, the reward is intermittent molten-hot internal eruptions when you least expect it.
There’s nothing like being in the middle of a conversation and breaking out into a full body sweat. How about waking up six times during the night because you must get all the covers off immediately? Then you wake up freezing because you have no covers on you. With menopause, there is no “comfortable.” There is only excruciatingly hot or cold; take your pick.
Is it a coincidence that a secondary symptom of menopause is irritability? I think not.
Additional symptoms include weight gain, dry skin, thinning hair and forgetfulness. Wow — really feeling the love.
Even the term “hot flash” is belittling. Sure, it reflects the suddenness of it all, but it sounds like you’re uncomfortably warm for just a second. You know when baby Jack Jack in “The Incredibles” bursts into flames by spontaneous combustion — yeah, a much more accurate description.
When standing outside in a tank top during the dead of winter feels incredibly awesome, that’s more than just going through a slight moment of discomfort. When sprawling under a ceiling fan and standing in front of the open freezer door are activities of choice rather than relaxing on the couch, trust me, it’s not because of a slight state of feeling a little warm.
And so much for aging gracefully. It’s kind of hard to do when you’re sweating off your makeup, your hair is in a constant state of looking like you just finished working out, and you’ve been delegated to wearing cardigans so you can strip down quickly.
Why? Why must women endure so much? Not to pull out an old cliché, but after all we’ve done, this is the thanks we get?
It is my firm belief that when women hit 50, they should no longer have to put up with anything. Period. We’ve put in our time. We’ve paid our dues. We should be thanked for our hard work and dedication with a faster metabolism, not slower. We should have to do less sit-ups, not more. We should be able to enjoy a comfortable temperature at all times, not get all comfy-cozy only to have to throw off every blanket you just climbed under a minute ago. We should be able to wear what we want without it having to be easily removed. We should never have to turn gray, and always be able to wear cute shoes and bikinis.
This is absolutely the thanks we deserve. However, just as no one acknowledges the never-ending supply of Doritos, or that they’re eating off clean dishes and the hamper has miraculously emptied itself, menopause is an unappreciative cruel fact of life — and, quite frankly, just one more thing only women are strong enough to endure.
But just because we can take it doesn’t mean we’re happy about it. So, I’m warning you right now: don’t mess with me. Because I’m one hot mama.
— By Kelly Kalis, Tribune community columnist