You Know What’s Weird?

Being in therapy is helping me notice what motherhood is teaching me. Emotional things. The other stuff: how to hold eight things with two fingers, open a car door with your chin, and put a diaper on a baby who is simultaneously climbing the blinds above her changing table and chewing on her handmade turtle mobile…that is kind of happening without me thinking about it overly much.


The emotional stuff is both more obvious and more sneaky. Little changes in my emotional temperature (I meant to say temperament, but temperature is right on). Like being very rooted in the present, because NOW is pretty much all I can handle. Accepting limits to my energy, ability, and schedule: check. Letting it just be what it is: yep. Do I have any choice?

I used to take pride in being a pessimist/realist. My sister and I have a joke. Some people say the glass is half full, some say it is half empty. We say: sometimes THERE IS NO GLASS. Sometimes the glass is lost. Broken. Incapable of holding liquid. Unavailable for reasons unknown.

The other day (in & after therapy) I found myself uttering strange words. I said: maybe everything is ok. Like really, for-reals ok, not just “ok-for-now” or “ok-until” or “ok-if.” I talked about how life is beautiful, the bitter-sweet magic of it. I said that perhaps expecting dire consequences is something I was trained into. I always thought pessimism was hard-wired into my cells, a pervasive mitochondrial cynicism.

But now, with this mommy path I’m on, I wonder.

I have graham cracker paste cakedΒ in my hair. The cat’s food was combined with sippy cup water to make stew and is congealing at the foot of the stairs. Every single kleenex in the box (how do they fit so many in there?) has been ripped and scattered across the floor in a blizzard of downy soft goodness.

And I’m good. I mean, mostly. (Except when I’m watching the clock and texting my wife to find out just exactly how bad traffic might be on the Banfield.)

But I’m way better than I expected.

All I have to do is look at her face. (Ok, sometimes I have to look twice. But that’s about it.)

I look at our daughter’s face and feel it roll over me like a sneaker wave, a surging tide of exasperation and joy that realigns my priorities while pinning my face firmly to the glittering, suffocating sand. The metaphor’s a bit faulty but you see what I mean: this being with her, being her mom, it’s what matters.

Sometimes the momblogoverse can seem like a contest: for the most disgusting mishap involving excrement, the most sentimental epiphany of it’s-all-worth-it, all rolled into one god-awful-awe-inspiring day. I don’t like that competitive feeling but I do deeply appreciate the invitation to write in nap-long (20-minute) or wow-she’s-still-sleeping-type-faster (45-minute) increments. Writing and reading and commenting nourishes me, even if the majority of my comments never get published because laptop-buttons-are-irresistible-i-MUST-push-them-and-also-chew-on-the-cord is happening.

Therapy is a lot like blogging. I get to notice how I’m doing.

And lately, shockingly, I am noticing all the good stuff.

Know what’s weird? I have a glass. With disgusting baby back wash in it and no ice because someone ate/lost/relocated my ice. But still, a glass. I have a glass.

* * *

What’s good in your life? I love hearing from you!

23 thoughts on “You Know What’s Weird?

  1. you know what’s even weirder . . . my boy is about to turn 9 (sheesh i feel like i am living in a time warp) and i still feel exactly like you do right now, only the mess gets wilder and the words get sharper/ruder/funnier but the face is still ohhhh so sweet and the hugs are even sweeter. in fact i think it can get even better than you think you have it now . . . and that’s saying something coming from a gold class member of the “pessimist club”. i think i even have a full set of glasses over here, only they are full of whine (no, that’s wine!) πŸ˜‰

    • Awww. Talking! Our daughter is very vocal but no words yet. Yay for a full set of glasses, and yay for having a boy who is about to turn 9!!

  2. Life is pretty good for me right now, but there is a lot of fear there to suggest otherwise. I’m trying to look past that and see what really is and remember what I really want/wanted but it can be hard sometimes.

    I’m having (or so I’m told) a baby boy in about six weeks. My three year old is being pretty amazing right now and I worry it will all go to shit when her brother comes. My partner is terrified of what the transition will mean and I don’t have the faith to tell him it will be okay because I don’t really know that it will be. I SUSPECT it will be, it seems to be, eventually, for most people, but I’ve read that the first year is full of lows, lows in marriage/relationship quality. Lows in a mother’s happiness. But if I’ve learned one thing mothering it’s that this too shall pass. So hopefully we’ll make it to the point where it will get easier. We shall see.

    • Oh wow, Esperanza. Blessings on the upcoming birth of your second and that transition to a two-kid family (eek!). One thing I’ve learned from adoption is that while the unknown is scary because we don’t know if we’ll survive it, the flip side/silver lining/whatever is that we also don’t know what kind of unexpected joys might happen. Our very open adoption has brought unexpected goodness (because of our openness) that I never anticipated. Here’s hoping that some of the good stuff surprises you and helps offset the challenges! πŸ™‚

  3. I love those type of word switcheroos that are spot on when accidentally. Happens to me a lot – my favorite is scared/sacred.

    Yay for feeling good – and for the awareness to notice it in the moment.

    I am happy that your writing is nourishing to you – it has that effect on me as a reader too. =)

  4. There was an interesting study done looking at confidence in identity and world view. It came as no surprise to me that mildly depressed people were the most confident/difficult to sway in their understanding of themselves and the world. This lead to a follow up study trying to understand why. The reason surprised the researchers. People suffering from mild depression (often expressed as a pessimistic hermaneutic) had their perspectives and predictions confirmed more often than any other group in the study. It’s tough to convince a pessimist because, frankly, they’re right more often than optimists.

    Personally, I try to sidestep the whole issue. The glass isn’t half full or half empty. It’s half a glass. When presented with dualities I typically find the most peace in the answer that isn’t presented.

    • That study makes so much sense to me. Lisa and I were just having this conversation last night: what you look for and focus on is what you will see. If you look with a negative world view, you’ll find plenty of evidence to back up your assumptions….and you might actually draw more negative stuff to you, which just reinforces the cycle. It’s that law of attraction thing.

      A big yes to finding peace in the places between/outside/among/above/within the all-or-nothing boxes that the world tries to force us to inhabit. Thanks for commenting…you made my day. πŸ™‚ I’ve long admired your blog.

  5. Emotional temperature really is right on. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Virginia Satir, but she uses “emotional temperature” in her therapy (or did, when she was still alive) and writing.

    I’ve been trying to be more glass half full now that I’m pregnant, especially since my fiance keeps reminding me that stress is bad for the baby. It’s a struggle for me, because I tend to be more how you’ve described your historical tendencies, but I’m working on it. I’m still scared of miscarriage and of disapproval from not being married yet, but for now, I have a pregnancy and a fiance and two will-be-stepchildren that I adore, and that is good.

    • I haven’t heard of Virginia Satir…I’ll look her up. Many blessings to you on your pregnancy and congrats on your engagement! πŸ™‚

  6. So glad to have found your blog! I was shaking my head in agreement the whole time I was reading your post. πŸ™‚
    Stopping by from ICLW,

  7. Why on earth have I never read your blog before?? Love your out look on life and I agree sometimes the damn glass is just! Can’t wait to follow more of your journey!

  8. Hi from ICLW!

    I was seeing a therapist during the thick of my PPD last year and she was very good at putting things in perspecitve and making me see that things aren’t as bad as I was thinking. With her help she helped me live a little more in the moment, which I think is so necessary when you’re a parent! I have to remind myself daily that it is OKAY that I didn’t mop the kitchen floor, I spent that time with my son instead and that is way more important.

    And yes! Their faces! Somehow looking into my son’s face can put a lot of things into perspecive for me πŸ™‚

  9. Hi from ICLW!

    Although I don’t have children and can’t relate to that side of this post – I can appreciate a lot of what you said! I agree…sometimes there just ISN’T a glass to be full or empty! I also think you’re on to something with emotional temperature…that term is SO right! Some days I’m up and some I’m down but most days I’m varying degrees in between – and it all depends on where I am in life and my TTC journey…but it’s certainly similar to a temperature!

    I really like you’re outlook and your blog! Glad I found it! Best of luck to you!!

    • The TTC journey is so hard. I’m struggling with that again, hoping to give our daughter a sibling. So many ups and downs…emotional whiplash. Thanks for your comment and best of luck to you too!

  10. Hi from ICLW…I just have to tell you, I laughed out loud several times while I read this post! From the first paragraph, probably partly due to the fact that it was such a perfect description of the juggling act that is parenthood, to the comic, and throughout the entire entry, I was smiling, nodding, etc. So GREAT post πŸ™‚ I will be back!

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