In my new book, Moody Bitches, I look at how women are taught from an early age that moodiness is a problem to be fixed. That is simply wrong-headed. Women’s moods are our body’s intelligent feedback system. If we learn to manage them properly, they are a great resource and a tremendous source of power. They show us when we are primed for certain challenges and opportunities.
And the post–menopausal emergence, if you will, coincides with the point at which most women will have a fair amount of experience under their belts. (Perhaps they’ve already served as a U.S. Senator and Secretary of State, for instance.) This is often the right time to make a push, to take more of a leadership position, enter a new arena, or strike out on your own. My mother was a great role model in her perimenopause, taking her symptoms in stride and referring to her hot flashes as “power surges.” She got another degree and switched careers; that appealed to me as a teenage girl. Now I see this rise in power as a way to channel new energy and even new anger. It’s a chance to make changes that should’ve been made decades ago. This may also be the time when children — adolescents, in particular — are ready to take on more responsibility, so perhaps there is a benefit for everyone in changing that family dynamic.