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Friday, January 25, 2013

You're Too Smart For Your Own Good

So I see a therapist.  I'm not ashamed to say.  It's so hip and now.  All the sane Mommies are doing it.  Actually, I should say this in the past tense as she chose to let me go as of yesterday.  She feels that I am ready to stand on my own two feet and that future sessions may possibly only enable me to save up experiences to share with her rather than dealing with them on my own in the moment.  Whatev's.  When she told me I felt elated, scared, excited, and a little bit hurt.  "What, you don't want me around anymore?" I asked somewhat sarcastically.  She laughed.  "Start a blog." She said.  "You have really great ideas on parenting and have a lot to offer." Although I felt flattered that she would think this within my means, I was also already beginning to doubt.

I've read the Mommy blogs out there in cyber space.  Many are able to write in such a way that have me spitting out my white herbal tea on the screen in laughter.  Mouthing through bites of a hastily eaten peanut butter toast, with gratitude welling in my heart, 'So, true.  So, so, very true.' I imagine them like white knights of a secret society.  Writing from some dark hideout while the ravages of Motherhood fly like balls of fire exploding around them.  They wield their words like weapons.  Quick and from the hip.

In that moment of doubt I realized that I was undoing all of the work we had muscled through over my sessions with her.  'You are an amazing Mother doing wonderful work'. 'You are worthy of great things'. ' At times you are your own worst enemy'.  I remember a particular session when I was expressing my worry over a certain childs' behavior and what effect that may have in a future sense- and she told me to stop.  Slow down.  That I was "too smart for my own good".  Take things in bite size pieces.  So in that moment of receiving a compliment I stopped.  Appreciated what was being expressed and resolved that I would not put this off any longer.  I would start my own Mommy Blog.

 I'm strapping on my big girl panties and doin' this thang. Perhaps it will work and I'll reach out to my Mothers in Arms and make a difference in someone's life or perhaps it will be a flop resulting in being socially ostracized on account of my ineptitude.  Scowls of scorn and shame- or worse yet- looks of pity will follow me throughout my days.  I am choosing to believe in the former.  Tucking my fears under my armor I'll go forward with this and hope for the best.

This reminds me of a friend of mine's child.  We'll call him C.  Through the amazingly spectacular world of facebook I was reunited with this childhood friend several years ago.  I was glad to see that although she had grown and matured in the adult sense of getting a job and and a husband, and that whole bag, I was relieved to discover that  her streaks for hilarity and the odd and interesting have not gone away.

This friend now has toddler, C.  We have received updates about C from the time he was born.  He's adorable.  With eyes like my childhood friend and her quirkiness. One day she shared a video of C with his shadow.  At the time he was a little over a year, I'd guess. He was walking on the sidewalk, the sun high on his back, frantically scurrying from one part of the walk to the other while angrily babbling in toddler talk.  On closer inspection we, the viewer, realize he is in a panic to disengage himself from his shadow!  This dark companion was definitely a disturbance in his life and most obviously unwelcome.  The fact that he could not extricate himself from this dark presence was extremely upsetting.  He looked to his Mother who calmly told him it was just his shadow.  "No, no, noooo!" he continued to wail while swiping his hand back and forth in the air. No luck. He was stuck with this, his dark passenger.  Poor guy.

We laugh at C.  I certainly had a good laugh at his expense.   His sweet childish innocence.  Fast forward to a year later and another video surfaces.  Again C faces his shadow.  It seems that he is still uncomfortable with this companion but has come armed.  With a stick.  One wrong move from this strange presence and it's goin' down.  He holds himself differently.  He is commanding and direct- even a little playful.  Of course the shadow holds its ground, but C seems to feel better about this confrontation.

So you see where I'm going here.  I can use this as an analogy for life but I'm sticking with Motherhood instead.  My biggest fear as a Mother is that my children will grow up to hate me. I carry this fear with me like a dagger pointed directly at my femoral artery.  So close that I can feel the nick of its blade threatening to bleed me out at sometimes even the smallest of indiscretions.  I can feel the anxiety well up and perspiration spread across my back as I send a child stomping and wailing up the stairs to a  time out or lose my temper when I notice, after several spills on my freshly washed floor, "I" tilting back in her chair having a cracker party while crumbling and tossing said crumbs gleefully into the air.  I can feel panic gripping me as I realize I have overbooked myself once again and I can choose to be late to take E to bball if I drive like a bat out of hell from I and S's pickup, pick up Em from home and drop her off at Activity Day Girls and didn't I need something from Trader Joe's for dinner, and AND??!

I feel the darkness creeping in.  Clouding my ability to see anything clearly. "No, no, no, noooo!!" my inner child wails.  I'm frantic, erratic, my conversation takes on a terse commanding tone as I shout out orders like Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket. I'm spinning in circles gripped by my fears of this dark ambiguous presence I've created for myself. I'm doing everything alllll wrong and I can't seem to get off this crazy train wreck.  I'm a horrible Mother and they know it.  They are going to blame me as the cause for all of their adult dysfunctions...

But wait.  Isn't that the sun I feel warming my back?  And when I look up at the sky it is exactly where it should be. My children- I count them 1, 2, 3, and 4 are all well and accounted for.  I think "I" is even smiling at me from the back seat in spite of the fact that I carried her under my arm like a football from the house to car after she chose not to hurry her sweet self out the door.  So why am I stressing? Why am I allowing the blade to edge ever so close to the sweet inherent innocence that make up who I am as a  Mother?  I only want love and beauty and goodness for my children. Always.  And in putting my focus on the unknown I am completely messing up the right now.

I'm a great Mother doing amazing things! This is my stick or schtick I choose to command that shadowy presence with.  Get thee hence unwanted darkness before I beat the S&%*T out of you!  I cannot dismiss him completely but I can take command. Perhaps instead of constantly fighting the shadow I can learn, as C did, to relax with that presence.  Perhaps let go and get a little playful. To dance, run, leap with him tugging, er, tagging along.  By golly I think I can...
Song of the Day:  La Roux "In For the Kill"


  1. I hope its okay that I make a comment my dear Meggers. Can I just say I feel the same way? Parenting is hard and its hard for me to remember I AM not alone in my struggling to make sure my children don't grow up hating me as well. AND that I do have a partner who cares just as much about these sweet daughters of mine and does his best at parenting as well. Well just wanted to tell ya I love ya and I look forward to reading more of your Mommy blog. And Julia would like Em to know that she misses her and her hair is gorgeous. I have kept her updated with showing her Em's pics on facebook, hope thats okay.

  2. Thanks for your comment and for reading, Sarah! Julia is such a sweetheart. We'd love to come up North at some point and visit all our LView Peeps! It's been way too long.

  3. You are such a great writer. Loved reading and love that you have a blog.

  4. Thank you so much, Laurel! That means a lot. I've enjoyed reading your blog as well.

  5. I enjoyed this. You have a voice to your blog and that is good. I look forward to reading more.

    I am going to give you one tiny piece of completely unsolicited advice to start you off on your blogging journey. Please, please, please left justify your blog. Centering it makes it really difficult to read.

    Anyway, keep up the good work! I'm looking forward to see what you some up with.

    John Kinnear

  6. Hi John!

    Thank you so much for reading and for your critique. I was really hoping to get some feedback, but wasn't sure how to go about asking for it. I see that I am getting views, but have no way of gauging how I can improve so I really appreciate any and all advice. Thank you again and I will definitely be making those adjustments.