Tag Archives: imperfection

How being a Slytherin is saving my life.

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Two weeks or so ago I wrote about how I came to terms with being sorted into Slytherin, which you can read here. But before that nasty little business with Ravenclaw (see the previous post), the real story that I wanted to get to about embracing being a Slytherin is that it might be saving my life.

slytherin my intention to be the best

That last sentence was only a little bit hyperbole.

After I got married, I slowly started to put on weight, as I think is pretty common. But after my daughter was born, I gained weight more rapidly. This is something that did not happen overnight and there are a thousand different factors, but one of the main factors is that I always put myself last.

I was so busy taking care of all of my external responsibilities- making sure I was the BEST mother, the BEST wife, the BEST friend, the BEST therapist, etc, etc, that I forgot to take the BEST care of me that I possibly could. I didn’t listen to my own advice to others- that if I didn’t take care of myself, I couldn’t do my BEST at anything.

I passed all of the usual indicators that make people take notice and take action- numbers on a scale, BMI, moving from regular clothes stores to plus sized clothes stores, taking medication for high blood pressure, taking medication for high cholesterol, seeing multiple family members go through major heart surgeries. None of those did the trick.

What really got me was that the pain in my lower back was so bad I couldn’t do simple things like walk to the end of the block so my kid could ride her bike without excruciating pain. That and the humiliation I felt when I was too big to ride several of the rides with my daughter at Legoland. What got me is that my health was impacting my ability to fully engage in and enjoy the world with my daughter.

But still. I felt powerless over this element of my life. I have never had a healthy relationship with food or exercise- not even when I was thin and LOOKED healthy. I have been very successful in many things in my life- but never that. And I felt afraid of change.

And then one day in September last year, when I was trying to figure out WHY I couldn’t get a handle on this, I said, “Fuck that- You are a Slytherin. There is NOTHING you can’t do if you don’t put your mind to it.”

And so I did.

I called my doctor the next day and made an appointment. I have been taking medication to help, but more importantly, eating healthier and exercising. Little lifestyle changes that are becoming bigger. In 5 months I have lost 40 pounds, which is great- but what is better is that I FEEL better. I have energy. I can do things again. I can walk miles now- much father than the end of the block. I enrolled my daughter and myself in martial arts classes. Last week I even started bringing my walking shoes to work with me in case I am able to slip away for a bit.

By taking care of myself, I am being a better mother, a better wife, a better therapist, a better friend- a better me- and hopefully one that will be around for a long time.

When I start to get frustrated or disappointed, I use a little self-talk and remind myself that I am a Slytherin- that I can do this. You just watch me. But- when I indulge- which I do on occasion and without guilt (this is a lifestyle I’m living- not a diet) don’t even think about saying anything to me or raising an eyebrow. Remember- I am a Slytherin- I will bite and I have sharp fangs.

slytherin I will win

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Being a mom means wearing many hats

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Today is one of those days that I feel the pressure of too much to do and not enough time. On top of that, I feel like I have to shift gears so much I can’t keep anything straight.

I’m still at my office as I write this, taking a mental break for a second. But today, I have been many things:

Clinical Supervisor– I started my day with one of my supervisees. Case reviews.

Therapist– Followed up with therapy with an actual client. Great session.

Internet provider wannabe– then on to trying to solve the problem of the malfunctioning internet in the building next door. No answers.

Manager– fielding questions and calls from clients, therapists, etc, sending emails, answering my phone.

IT person– Still trying to sort out changes due to the ICD-10 in our computer systems. One problem is fixed- 4 more start.

Things still left to do tonight:

  1. Hug and snuggle my kiddo and read her a book before tucking her in.
  2. Eat dinner
  3. Make a Daisy Head Mayzie costume for said kiddo to wear to school tomorrow.
  4. Hot glue tulle on kiddo’s tiny witch hat to make it “fancier” for her costume tomorrow night (Trunk or Treat at school) and Saturday night (Halloween).

Things I probably won’t get to tonight:

  1. Make Star Wars Rebels dress for best friend’s daughter’s birthday. (There is a complete lack of wardrobe options having the girl characters from that cartoon. Shameful).
  2. Research new project at work.
  3. Read for pleasure
  4. Dishes
  5. Laundry
  6. Finally watch Sunday’s Walking Dead episode that has already been moderately spoiled for me just due to social media exposure- but seriously people- I have NO TIME!!!

And while I don’t believe it’s an omen or anything, I think it is hilarious that my Joy Funko Pop figure has been falling down on her head all day- no matter how many times I put her back up. She has never done that before. I’m sure it’s nothing….

joy on her head

Now- back to work….

*RWMOTB is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Too much clutter

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einstein-messy-desk.jpg

I feel no shame- ok- only minimal shame about the fact that I tend to function best with a bit of clutter around. But there is such thing as too much clutter, even for me. I am only kinda referring to the clutter on my desk at work of the multiple piles of things to do, things to file, or things that I have absolutely no idea what to do with. Or the clutter that accumulates at home- clean clothes piled in random places in the bedroom or couch, mail that needs to be sorted on any flat surface, half completed art projects or Newt’s school papers that I can’t part with but that have not yet made their way to the “forever box”.

I’m really talking about my cluttered mind.

I have never been particularly structured in my approach to anything. My days have never adhered to a specific time schedule or flow. I always assumed that when we had a kid our days would inherently get more structured, but when Newt was a baby, she did best with an on-demand feeding schedule, and she never slept anyway, so a sleep schedule seemed futile. Matt and I always said that we would get more structured when and if Newt needed it…but she never seemed to need it. She’s only had a bedtime since last month- when she started kindergarten, and even then- we kind of wing it. But as long as she is happy, healthy, and thriving- it works for us.

At least, it usually works for us. Right now I’m wondering how well it works for me.

Matt has always done shift work, so he works weird hours, and has non-regular days off. Plus, he has had more schedule changes than I can begin to count- especially in the last year or two. Every time we hear of another schedule change, we always reassure each other, “We’ll make it work.” And we always do.

Matt’s job has zero flexibility in when he can work, but I am extremely fortunate to have a job that I love that also gives me the flexibility to work around my husband and my daughter’s schedules. However, having a job that is flexible, means that I have to be flexible too. Sure- I can get off at 3 pm to get my kid from school, but that also means that I need to get some work done at night after every one has gone to sleep. That also means that my brain is full on functioning when I finish my work at midnight and should be going to bed. So….I write a blog post instead- maybe in an effort to get some of the clutter out of my head to allow me to sleep.

I decided a week or so ago that I was going to create a “Command Center”. You know- the ones that all of those really organized moms make and post on Pinterest. We have the perfect place in our kitchen- one that is actually made to be something like that. So, I’m psyched about this great idea and got started on Sunday. I perused some great ideas from other blogs and pins. I got rid of 3 garbage bags full of clutter (mostly bills from 2013 for some reason). And then I found myself staring at the lovely paper calendar I purchased for “Command Center” that is going to revolutionize my life. I’m staring at it with a fairly deep resentment.

This calendar is a great idea. One that was actually my husband’s. One that will allow him to be more aware of the upcoming events and bill due dates. This idea is to allow him to help me. THIS is one of the things I vowed to open myself to in my last post. But it just pissed me off. I’m sure there are so many things that this says about my psyche, but to me, it is just another thing that I will have to manage. I already keep everything in my google calendars on my phone. They are color coded, actually well organized, and I can get to them anywhere. So now I will have to get in the habit of transferring the information from my google calendar to my paper calendar in my half completed “Command Center”? Somehow, this does not seem likely.

I will keep you posted on the progress of my Command Center. Or not. Maybe I will magically turn into that really organized person with a clutter free home. Or not. Who knows.

One thing I do know- not matter how overwhelmed I feel or cluttered my mind is- I will make it work. I always do.

On being Wonder Woman

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Some time after I had my daughter and went back to work full time, I adopted Wonder Woman as a sort of totem. Finding it difficult to live up to my own expectations of myself as a wife, mother, therapist, supervisor, daughter, sister and friend, Wonder Woman became my reminder to “put on my big girl panties”, suck it up and just do what I thought I needed to do.

Art by Ant Lucia www.antlucia.com

Bombshell Wonder Woman by Ant Lucia
http://www.antlucia.com

But somehow, even in trying to internalize these thoughts that I am a badass Wonder Woman, somehow even in surrounding myself with images of this goddess super hero that can keep up with BOTH Batman and Superman, I found myself just frustrated. The fact is, I feel barely capable of managing my life as well as a normal human being….never mind someone with super hero abilities.

The myth I was creating for myself, was the myth that not only could I have it all- things like motherhood, career, happy marriage, good support system, a house with a pool; I could also DO it all and do it all-by myself- all of the time.

But something happened today. Something that made me feel a much deeper and more real connection with my mythical role model. Something that felt more empowering.

In a training today on clinical hypnotherapy of all things, I was reminded that while Wonder Woman CAN do it all, she does not do it all by herself. She is part of a team, part of the Justice League. I was reminded that I am part of a pretty fantastic team too, that has people from both my personal and my professional worlds.

Bruce Timm's Justice League

Bruce Timm’s Justice League

I am a badass Wonder Woman, but my strength does not just come from inside me. I am stronger with my badass team standing with me. My strength is not diminished when I need or ask for help. I don’t have to prove to myself that I “can do it” by trying to do it all- by myself- all of the time. I am a strong woman, trying to raise a strong woman.

Art by Andry Rajoelina http://andry-shango.deviantart.com Words by random internet people.

Art by Andry Rajoelina http://andry-shango.deviantart.com
Words by random internet people.

You’re a child therapist? You got this mom thing covered, right?

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Some light reading while hanging out with mom at work.

Some light reading while hanging out with mom at work.

There I was, screaming at her. Screaming at my beautiful, sweet (then) 4 year old daughter. About a dress. She wanted to wear a super fancy dress and I wanted her to wear a regular every day dress, and we drew our lines in the sand. I was tired, stressed and overwhelmed. Not about a dress I’m sure, just about getting through the day to day. I had to get her dressed and fed, the dogs fed and let out and myself dressed and off to work. I did not have time for an argument about a dress, especially when it was *clearly* an inappropriate dress to wear on a regular day. She was screaming back at me, tears rolling down her red face. Both of us making our arguments and neither of us listening to each other.

After several minutes, I just grabbed her. Grabbed her and hugged her because at that moment I wanted to do everything but. She quickly calmed down and so did I. The rest of the morning went off without a hitch.

I can’t remember what dress she ended up wearing that day. THAT is how unimportant the subject of our disagreement was. I do remember how I felt. I felt sad and angry. I felt ashamed at myself for losing it. But most of all I felt like a failure, not just in my “mom” moment, but also in my career.

 I have been a mental health therapist for almost 16 years and much of my work has been with children and their families. People come to me to help them figure out how to make their day to day routines smoother. How to deal with children with significant emotional and behavioral problems. I know all about child development. I know about behavior management. I know some pretty creative ways to reach kids and I know the importance of communication and self-regulation and assertiveness and nurturing and structure and limits and patience. Especially patience.

So, of course I felt like a failure when despite all of my knowledge about children and managing behaviors and letting things that don’t matter go, I resorted to screaming and ineffective parenting. I felt like a fraud.

Sometimes I forget a very simple fact.

I am not perfect. I am human.

I am not always the best mom, or the best therapist, or the best wife or the best friend. Sometimes I am not even particularly good at those things. But I always keep trying and keep learning.

I am learning to be patient with myself. I am learning to be kinder to myself. I am learning to allow myself to be human.

-Kat