The Monster Diaries

Wednesday 19th June

The thing about the Menopausal Monster, is that it can attack unexpectedly at any time of day. There are certain times, however, that it crouches like a cat ready to pounce at any moment. Around 8am in the morning seems to be one of those times. Now I appreciate I have never been a morning person and anyone even talking to me before I’ve nursed my cup of tea for at least 45 minutes and then had breakfast, does so at their own risk but today The Monster was wide awake and raring to go.

It starts with a feeling of just being totally pissed off at the world, without really knowing why. Every little thing irritates me and I start to feel The Beast crawling up from my stomach into my chest until it curls up behind my eyes, where it waits for the right opportunity to launch out of my mouth and burn all and sundry with its fiery breath.

Today was one of those mornings. All was fine at first. There wasn’t anyone getting under my feel while I made breakfast and lunches and I even managed to load the dishwasher. I showered and dressed and came down calling to Youngest Child, on the way past her room, to come down and get her shoes on. She followed me down and I asked her how she was having her hair today. She replied with a stroppy tone and a roll of her eyes that she was “having it in a ponytail, of course, like I always do!”

Funny she had it down yesterday, which I pointed out to her. She then proceeded to shout and strop, which magnified ten-fold when I sent her back upstairs to find a hairbrush and a hairband.

I could feel The Beast stirring!

I entered the kitchen just in time to catch The Husband placing a dirty teaspoon on top of the dishwasher. Oh dear!

At first, I managed to swallow The Beast back down and controlled it enough to sarcastically declare that said spoon could go into the dishwasher. Unfortunately, The Husband must have taken exception to my sarcastic tone (either that or it was his moody week of the month) and answered back, with an equally sarcastic tone, that I had left a chopping board in the sink and does that not need to go into the dishwasher then? I replied that the chopping board didn’t need to go into the dishwasher as it only had breadcrumbs on it and so could just have a quick rinse.

In hindsight I don’t think I said the words as calmly as they may come across here. In fact, I think what actually happened is that when my mouth opened The Beast came rushing out, screeching and breathing fire, lashing out at everything and everyone with its barbed tail.

What followed can only be described as the most ridiculous row over a teaspoon ever to have been had, complete with a barrage of expletives and ended with me storming out having both told each other to “fuck off!”

Things didn’t improve later. Eldest Child was required in school today between 4pm and 5.30pm in order to hand over his fob, clear out his locker and officially sign out of school for the last time ever.

At lunch time I was the dutiful mother and text him to remind him of what time to leave, that I would pick him up from the station on the way home and to also get his hair cut, as he was going to his new college tomorrow for an induction day and he was beginning to look like something out of a student grunge band.

At 3.50pm I ring him to check if he is at school and what time I should meet him at the station. No reply. I have a sneaky suspicion that he hasn’t actually gone. Halfway home he rings to inform me that he hasn’t left because he has no clean clothes that fit him. The Monster (who hasn’t retreated but is slumbering lightly, waiting for its next opportunity to burn someone up) interprets this as, he couldn’t be bothered to go because as far as he is concerned he has left school and never wants to set foot in there again, and he will use the excuse that he has got no clothes, even though I recently bought him a variety of shorts and t-shirts.

Let’s just say that anyone who was driving along that road thinking it was going to be another boring journey home, was entertained by some raving lunatic of a woman, screaming into her hands free, while waving her arms around frantically. Oh, and yes, all my car windows were open!

I drove home in a haze of red mist whereupon I storm into the house, grab an armful of clean clothes out of the tumble dryer, throw them at him and tell him to get dressed and get to school.

I then notice that he has set up his gaming PC in his sisters’ room (remember his room is under construction). Ah! Now I know the real reason why he didn’t go into school.

The Menopausal Monster has its second argument of the day with a male member of my household, where it makes it very clear that one is not sitting around all summer doing ‘fuck all’ and one needs to learn how to use the washing machine if one truly does run out of clothes and one can unplug said PC when it gets home as one is not taking up permanent residence in ones sisters room because one can crack on with getting one’s own room sorted.

One slinks out to school (hopefully) and The Monster then turns its attention to the dirt on the window sill from the cat, the crumbs on the sofa that it assumes is from The Husband, who probably sat there watching Game of Thrones (who I believe throughout all this is upstairs ‘sleeping’), the greasy air fryer that someone has cooked bacon in and the bombsite that is the girl’s room.

After letting everyone know what it thinks of them and finally satiated by its two attacks of the day, The Monster finally crawls back to the depths of God knows where.

The problem with being taken over by such a creature, is that when it leaves, I am left feeling exhausted, weepy and slightly confused by what occurred.

When its rampage has been focused on the children, a sense of guilt also kicks in. So, I sit at the table and start to think the ‘what ifs’, as in ‘what if something happens to him on the way to or from school and my last memory is of screaming and shouting at him?’

Then there is the ‘bad mother syndrome’ where you berate yourself for being the worst mother in the world and how nobody else shouts at their children like that. (Logically I know this is not true, especially as on Monday night, when Gorgeous and I were sitting in the garden after our ‘trip to the park’, we heard next door scream at her children “get out of that trampoline or I will fucking get in there and drag you out!”)

There will always be the parents that claim to never have said a cross word to their children, smacked them, swore at them etc. Those people are either not being entirely truthful or are very, very lucky. For a lot of people, life is not so straight forward. They are juggling lots of balls in the air, for example, working full-time or, like Gorgeous, working three jobs (I don’t know how she does it my hat truly does go off to her), trying to cope as a single parent, dealing with illness, depression and many other difficult circumstances. For me it’s trying to cope with peri-menopausal symptoms and the changes that brings while at the same time dealing with teenage hormones, frustration at work and family issues that I will talk about another time.

For the record, despite all this, my children are my world (and yes, The Husband is too). I am not a perfect mum but I am trying my best to raise children who are responsible, resilient, kind and loving. It isn’t easy and I often get it wrong but my intentions are good and most importantly my children know that, although their mother is a raving lunatic, she also loves them very much.

Eldest Child just rang to say he got to school too late and everyone had left! FFS!

So, after spending two hours of feeling like the worst wife and mother in the world the following happened.

First, The Husband appeared from upstairs and said, in quite a friendly tone, “alright?” For a second, I felt my eyes glow red and The Beast stir but I swallowed her down and said “yes” in the sweetest voice I could muster.

We ate dinner at the table and actually chatted! He then popped out to visit a client and left with a smile and a cheery goodbye!

A little while later Eldest Child returned home looking handsome with a lovely haircut and a smile on his face. I warmed his dinner up and he sat in the dining room, instead of disappearing upstairs and (I can’t quite believe I am saying this again) actually chatted! He discussed his plans for his college induction tomorrow, told me how he was going to go back to school on Friday to sort things out and promised he would dismantle the PC tomorrow night before Middle Child returned home on Friday and created Holy Hell because he had taken over her Xbox area.

“Maybe I’m not the worst mother in the world after all” I think, as I pour myself a congratulatory glass of red wine.

Middle Child texts! It seems that during the safety talk before their descent down the Ardeche River, the instructors sprayed water at the group. The water caused Middle Child’s sun screen to go in her eyes (at least she was wearing it today) so she couldn’t see. The first aider put eye drops in, which caused her to become ‘practically blind’ and she could hardly see anything for the whole day. She then threw up in the river and nearly fell asleep in the boat!

“FML”, I think as I pour a second glass of wine!

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