Friday, March 21, 2008


Ok, I've finally hit on it. I have figured it out, and it's all thanks to this guy.

Today, whilst driving in my car along the most mundane of errands - oil change, pharmacy, lunch - I was listening to my local public radio station and this guy, this random rabbi, was talking about keeping kosher, of all things, which is not something I do, and about immigration, which is not something I've done, and about his grandmother, of which, okay, I do have one, when all of a sudden, he said it.

The ten words that are going to change my life. No. The ten words that are going to make *me* change my life.

He was quoting the bible, where it says "love your neighbor as you love yourself,"* and he made the singlemost brilliant philosophical point that has ever been made on the public airwaves:

You can't love your neighbor if you don't love yourself.

And I don't. I don't love myself. I don't even particularly like myself. But then, no wonder that I can't be as loving as I would like toward my children, who are mirror images of me, or to my students, who were me twenty years ago, or to my husband, who is the other half of me. How can I reasonably expect to love them and be loving toward them if I don't first love myself and am not loving toward myself?


So, my plan is this: learn to love myself. I don't know how I'm going to do it, but I'm going to. I don't think it's going to be easy, but I feel like I have to try.

In the book I'm reading right now in an attempt to help me deal with the Bear, it was talking about parents who are also highly sensitive, which, as an angry depressed person, I think I qualify as. She was saying that it's important for the parent who is sensitive to have their emotional well-being in check, to be healthy and well-adjusted and have all our mental ducks in a row, in order for our children to do well. It makes perfect sense. The Bear is incredibly attuned to others' moods, especially to mine, since we're so close, and whenever I'm not happy, she's not happy, and when she's not happy, it makes me angry, which just snowballs into this awful mess. It all ties right back into what Rabbi Brad says - I can't love her if I don't love myself. Dr. Elaine says the same thing - if I'm overwhelmed by everything, then so will she be, and I can't help her until I help myself.

So, now that I know what I need to do, the question is - how to do it?

*Leviticus 19:18, lazy

Thursday, March 20, 2008


And tonight, a horse of a different feather.

Still angry, but submerging the anger under a flood of activity. Let's dye eggs! Let's learn about chickens and eggs! Let's blow the insides out of the eggs first and scramble them and eat them for dinner so as not to be wasteful! Wait, let's make homemade biscuits, too! Let's talk quickly, clean madly, and do five things at once! Load after load of laundry! And play alphabet games on the computer! And sing the alphabet song! Ad nauseum!

It's better than being depressed, because at least you get stuff done...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I am angry.

No. I am very angry. I am chock-full of boiling, seeping, seething, festering anger.

I am a volcano. A vat of swirling, churning, molten anger, barely contained under a thin outer crust. It's that thin layer that keeps the public safe, shielded from the anger that I've been internalizing for so long.

But, like any good volcano, sometimes the pressure builds up inside, and the lava comes out. Innocent civilians are occasionally in the way, and they get burned. It's not intentional, of course, but it's not something that's under my control, either.

It's this anger that makes the doctors think I'm crazy. It's not the opposite of depression, exactly. That would be happiness, or, failing that, inner peace. But the anger seems to fall on the other end of the continuum - not an opposite, but a counter-weight. The depression is so passive - all I want to do is lie down, sleep, forget. I don't want to go anywhere, do anything, see anyone, be anyone, talk, move, breathe, nothing. The anger, on the other hand, is a nice, active anger. It bubbles inside me. It makes me restless, fidgety. It requires action on my part. I can't just lie down and be angry. You can't sleep on the anger. It comes bursting out at the slightest provocation, scalding anyone who happens to be nearby. Does the mere fact that I alternate between these two states of mind make me bipolar, like the doctors want to say? Is the anger a mere manifestation of the depression? Am I angry because I'm depressed? Am I depressed because I'm angry? It seems like the two go hand-in-hand, but I can't for the life of me figure out the connection between them. To me, it all seems like a meaningless spiral - no beginning, no end, and no purpose whatsoever.

I've been trying to pinpoint what exactly it is that I'm angry *about*, with no success at all. Life is hard, sure, but billions of other people out there have it worse than me, and they somehow manage to make it through each day without freaking the fuck out over every little thing. How do they do it? I'd like to know. Is everyone this angry inside? Do they just do a better job of controlling the outbursts? Or do they somehow manage to float above the everyday bullshit that brings me down? I can't figure it out, and I can tell now that it's getting to the point where I need to get some more help than I have right now. Either I need to get some less annoying children and a husband who's around more than two hours a week, or I need a refill on my anxiety meds. Or, option three, I need a nice therapist who can help talk me down off the ledge.

I am angry when my children don't do as I want. Or when they act like, you know, children. I am angry because my husband is a workaholic, because I'm a single parent, because I live in a house with my in-laws, because my house won't sell, because I'm poor, because life is life, and that's it. Overall, my children are pretty decent. I can't make them not small, and I can't make them self-sufficient overnight. I can't do shit about my husband except leave him, and I can't afford that. I can't fix the economy, and I can't make anyone buy my house. I can't make my in-laws change. This is just life. And it's a lot like everyone else's life, and in the great grand scheme of things, it's really not that bad. But for some reason, I can't quite manage to cope with it as well as other people. Hence the anger.

Monday, March 17, 2008


Ok, am working on a longer, more substantive post, but am too wiped out to put in the necessary thought and effort. Instead, horrifying parent moment 234987254, brought to you by Jane and the fine folks at Taco Bell.

On Mondays, I work late. I tutor a little girl who is truthfully not that bright. Not that she's "not bright," she's just a very, very average student. Whatever. Who cares. On Mondays I work late.

Due to the nature of where I work, the relationship of where I work to where the kids are in school and where we live, and the various times required to travel between the three, I can't pick the kids up from school on Mondays. To do so would require me to bend the laws of space and time, and if I were going to bend the laws of space and time, it would be so that I could spend one night with Johnny Depp, not haul ass to daycare. Ahem.

So, on Mondays, my MIL picks up the girls at school, because she is Awesome Grandma like that. And I know that she does this every Monday, and she knows that she does this every Monday, but every Monday I still call to check and make sure she's going to get them on time. It's just a thing that I do.

Today, I called, and she said yes, of course I'm getting the girls, it's Monday, isn't it? And then she said that she was *thinking* about taking them out somewhere this evening (location irrelevant to this story). The place that they were going to was in another town, and if they had gone, they would have not been home when I got home.

And all the cold, rainy way home from work today, as I watched the windshield wipers flap and listened to tales of economic woe on the radio, you know what one thought kept running through my head?

Please, please, please let them have gone out. Please let the house be empty when I get there. Please. PLEASE.

I may very well be the worst parent in the Western Hemisphere for this one. Not only had I not seen my children all day long, I was actually wishing for them not to be home when I got there. It's gotten to the point that there are times when I don't particularly *like* my children very much.

Don't get me wrong here. I *love* my children. They are the reason I do everything that I do. They are soft and innocent and smell like lotion. They are funny and smart and obnoxious as hell. My kids. I would cheerfully walk through fire for my children, any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

But there are times when the sheer magnitude of having a 2 and a 3 gets me down. Times when the screaming, the biting, the no-ing, the not-sharing, the pickiness, the need-need-need-need-need-iness wear me down to the point of exhaustion. Times when I hope and pray to the invisible gods of motherhood that the house will be empty when I get home, even for just an hour.

And if that makes me a bad mother, then I'll just have to join the club. Maybe we'll make t-shirts.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Can You Hear Me Now?!

Have you ever had one of those days, you know, those days, where it seems as though nobody is listening to you? At all? And that you're just a parrot, a talking head, an empty voice box repeating the same stock phrases over and over and over and OVER with various changes in inflection and tone? All to no avail? And that you might as well record yourself and put it on a loop, then pop on down to the bar and knock back a few? And then go and pound your head into the sidewalk?

Tell me you've had this day.

All I did, from the time I got up, was repeat myself. It did no good. Nobody was listening. Nothing can possibly be more maddening.

My MIL and I spent a good twenty minutes this morning searching for my black cardigan sweater(s) which she had taken from the dryer and hung up, and which are now missing in the great black hole that is this fucking house. I watched her take it out of the dryer and hang it on a wire(!) hanger. I know that it is hanging on a wire hanger, somewhere, with great big poky spots in the shoulders. We searched all over the house:

MIL: Is it on the shelf?
Me: No, it's hanging on a wire hanger.
MIL: Did you look in your drawers?
Me: No, it's hanging on a wire hanger.
MIL: Did you look in your closet?
Me: Yes, it's not there.
MIL: Did you look in your closet?
Me: Yes. It's Not There.

ad nauseum, ad infinitum. We never found the sweater(s).

At school, it's the slump between Winter Break and Spring Break, when it's crappy and cold outside and all the kids have cabin fever or spring fever or something that makes them congenitally incapable of focusing for more than two seconds together.

Them: Can we watch our movie today?
Me: No, we have work to do.
Them: Are we going to watch our movie today?
Me: No, we have work to do.
Them: Hey, it's movie day!
Me: No, we have work to do.

and later,

Me: We're going to do Activities 11 and 14.
Them: blank looks
Me (again, this time in English): We're going to do Activities 11 and 14.
Them: pick noses
Me: You. Right there. What are you supposed to be doing right now?
Them: Uh, Activities 11 and 12?
Me: No. Imbecile. You. Next to him. What are you supposed to be doing right now?
Them: Er, Activities 11, 12, 13, and 14? Right?
Me: No, but now that you've said that, you're going to do all four activities instead of the original two. And let that be a lesson to you about listening when someone gives directions.
Them: flipping pages randomly
Me: Activities! Eleven! Fourteen! Go! Now! Work, damn you!
Them: more blank looks

All day. All damn day. Then, when I come home:

Me: Tank, don't put that in your mouth.
Tank: puts rock in mouth
Me: Tank! Don't put that in your mouth!
Tank: contentedly chewing on rock
Me: TANK! Get that rock out of your mouth!
Tank: Don' Wanna! ::cries::

and later:

Bear: I'm so tired. I want to go to bed.
Me: Come over here so I can put your jammies on you.
Bear: wanders off
Me: Bear, come here and put your jammies on.
Bear: off in another room now
Me: Bear! Come. Here. Now. Jammies. Now. Here. Come. Get.
Bear: Huh?
Me: Sweet Merciful Jesus, child, get your ass over here before I come Get You.
Bear: I don't want to go to bed! ::cries::

All night. All damn night. I have absolutely had it with feeling like a talking head. Nobody ever listens to a word I say, and then I get all bitter and worked up about it, and nobody cares about that either. I am ready to freaking lose my shit over here. I'm going to hire a trained monkey to come in here and be my stand-in. Doubt anyone will notice.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Sweet and sour

Am recovering from flu/sinus infection/pneumonia triple threat long enough to share this:

The Bear has recently begun to call me "Mother." In her lispy little three-year-old voice, it comes out like "Mudder." I'm not doing this justice, but it's just the most precious thing in a long while. Seriously. I've taken to calling her "Daughter" in return, just for fun. She totally gets it.

Her sister, on the other hand? Not so sweet. She's biting. Again. She bit her sister five times over the weekend, with many more narrowly averted disasters. And today, at school, she bit two of her classmates. Yes, my kid is That Kid. The Biter. The one who probably bit your kid at daycare and made him cry.

I'm sorry.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

I am dying, Egypt

I have the headache that beat up all the other headaches and stole their lunch money. My eye sockets hurt. My teeth hurt. My hair hurts. The back of my neck hurts. When I blow my nose, my head hurts. When I bend over, my head hurts. When I look sideways, my head hurts. I want to throw up and die, but I'd have to bend over, and that would hurt. The pain is like flaming hot spears being rammed into my ears and twisted and shoved and jiggled. I am going to go and cut my head off now and throw it away. I want a new one.