Monday 5 December 2016

Demented Mum: Teenagers, shopping, ageing - it's enough to make you cry

Published 10/10/2011 | 05:00

ALTHOUGH it's the weekend and the sun is shining, you wake bitterly out of sorts. You turned 49 yesterday, and though it couldn't logically be otherwise, you're still looking 50 in the mouth this morning, no matter how much you try to pretend it hasn't happened.

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Everybody else, it seems, has already forgotten your plight.

Yesterday they made a big deal but now the celebrations are over, you're still 49 and there's the grocery shopping to do.

Well, somebody has to help you lug the bags of food in and out of the car-boot, you decide grumpily -- you're nearly 50 after all.

You stamp down to the kitchen where your son is tidily spreading his toast with the last of the honey while the Wolverine prowls around in her dressing-gown demanding to know why there's never anything nice to eat in the house.

You mention the shopping; they both claim a sudden, urgent onslaught of homework.

It's not yet 10am, you say.

Somebody is going to have to Hoover the house and tidy the kitchen while somebody else helps you with the shopping.

After that they can spend the whole day studying if they so wish.

"Choose," you order, spooning coffee into a mug, feeling utterly desolate about the whole half-century thing.

The Wolverine mutters that she'll go shopping. Your son seems OK about doing the Hoovering. For a moment, tranquillity fills the kitchen.

Then your son wonders whether, as is your wont, you'll bring the Wolverine to the café for a treat once the shopping is done.

If that's the case, he argues, he deserves a Danish and a can of Coke.

They start to bicker.

You glare at your offspring.

Who will reward you, you inquire, for cooking tonight's dinner?

For changing and washing the bed-linen?

For cleaning the bathrooms?

For the incessant dusting, ironing and tidying that you do each and every single weekend?

They sigh.

Didn't they give you nice birthday presents, the Wolverine wants to know.

"So that's what you consider appropriate repayment for a lifetime of endless love and boundless care?" you falter and burst, unexpectedly, into tears. There is an embarrassed silence.

When you fail to stop weeping, your bewildered husband is summoned from his workshop.

Later on, after the shopping has been quietly done and the house quietly Hoovered, a friend rings to wish you a belated happy birthday and hears the story.

"I have one word for you," she says.

"Menopause."

"That's all I need," you say, and burst into tears again.

"Yep, there'll be a lot of that," she declares sagely.

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