816 North Opinion

Susan Vollenweider: Even happy moms wallow in crankiness sometimes


“Mom, are you in menopause?”

Moments before I had been involved in a salsa making contest with my teen daughter. We were working for competing restaurants in a beautiful Dream Resort Town (mine was owned by Ryan Gosling). I could see that her version lacked a few ingredients — like onions and jalapeno peppers — but I was proud of her for trying. And then...

“Mom? Are you awake? Are you in menopause?” Noah whispered just a little louder and a lot closer than the last time.

I refused to open my eyes but unpeeled my tongue from the roof of my mouth and croaked, “What time is it?”

“5:45. Are you?”

“Why?” Maybe if he got to the point he would go away and I could reclaim Ryan and my last 15 minutes of sleep.

“You were really cranky yesterday…and you are kinda old.”


And double ouch.

I grunted at him and he climbed into bed next to me to play on his tablet. Eyes still closed I didn’t revisit my dream but, instead, went back to the day before.

It was one of those toast-jelly-side-down-on-my-white-shirt kinda days. Every jar I opened sloshed on me, every question I asked had an answer that I didn’t want to hear and every step I took led me in the wrong direction.

I was short with my kids, let a visiting teen know that I was a Cussing Mom and freaked out in front of a bank teller when I thought that I had accidently made a deposit into the wrong account.

It wasn’t that anything big or bad happened — we all have our health, a roof over our heads and even though the ice maker broke, we have food and water aplenty. Our needs and plenty of our wants are met; there is love in our home. Wisdom says that these things alone should make me happy. And when I have a clear head, they do.

But not yesterday.

Yesterday I was just…blue. In a funk. I felt cranky so I acted cranky: immature in action, mature in admission. I didn’t want to be my usual perky, optimistic self. I wanted to wallow.

So when I opened the plastic bag containing toaster waffles and they flew everywhere, I wallowed in my klutziness.

When I reached for the coffee creamer and knocked a full bowl of three-bean salad to the floor, I wallowed in stupidity.

When the brand-new internet password wouldn’t work on the wireless printer, I wallowed in frustration.

I missed my mom and dad and brother and a long list of other people who are half a country away. I had a pity party about the lack of recent advancement in my work life. Even my reflection disappointed me. Should a woman my age really wear bangs?

Lying in bed with my eyes still closed I recapped the entire day that ended when I flopped, fully dressed, on my bed feeling worthless and fell asleep to Antiques Roadshow.

“What time is it?” I asked him again.


I gave a quick thank you prayer for a new day and opened my eyes. “Buddy, women go through menopause for years, I’ve probably been creeping through it for a while. It’s not a destination, it’s a journey.

Yesterday was just one of those days when everything frustrated me and I took it out on you guys, I’m sorry about that.”

“It’s OK, Mom, I guess even happy moms sometimes get cranky. It happens.” He leaned over and gave me a kiss on the cheek. “Can I have waffles for breakfast again?”

Freelance columnist Susan Vollenweider lives in Smithville. For more of her writing, visit thehistorychicks.com.