Because 2017 was so stressful, both politically and personally, we have finally sought out professional help. It was a move that surprised exactly no one who knows me, I’m quite certain. Unfortunately, I am terrible at it.

First off, I can barely handle the lobby. Three mirrors, which are almost, but not entirely centered on their respective walls. Under one, a table the exact same width as the mirror overhead, but set, inexplicably, 3 inches to left. Maddening.

I turned to hubby, “This is a test, right?”

“What?” He asked, oblivious and clearly already winning.

“Nothing,” I said leaning, hard, against the table and sending it shuddering to the right. “Oopsie.”

Also, don’t think it has escaped my attention that Hubby is often praised for his ability to ask questions “without an internal agenda” and I am not. It definitely brings out the competitive side of me, which I’m sure we’ll get to eventually.

“And how does that make you feel?”

It occurred to me at our last session that it probably would have been a good idea to get some professional guidance before our last kid. Sorry, 1-4. (Also, probably refer to the rest of them by name and not numbers.) Our therapist cautioned that we needed to “set aside our frustration” because our children would be able to read our anger through subtle non-verbal cues and thus feel too threatened and protective to open up freely.

Right. Subtle. The last time I helped one of the kids with a homework assignment, I ended up beating my forehead on the dining room table— but subtly. This is apparently wrong. What I am supposed to be striving for is to be able to approach them with openness, acceptance and curiosity. And I am curious…Mostly about what the hell they are thinking half the time. I’m told that this isn’t exactly the goal, but, hey, it’s a start.

The worst bit is that I am not supposed to try to fix things. Really? How does that work? That is 100% the definition of my role as a mother— hungry? I fix it. Need new underwear? I fix it. Not sure of the bus schedule, lost your permission slip, forgot your lunch at home…fixed, fixed, fixed.

I am improving, however. Last session, I didn’t say a word. Just clenched my jaw, set my inner dial to “mute” and listened. “No harm, no foul” is my new parenting motto. I am so completely immeshed emotionally with these kids that the only way I can stifle the urge to suggest, to advise, to fix is to fall, possum-like and immobile to the floor. Maybe I’ll get in a nap while I’m down there, which would be awesome. I’m so, so tired.

The Rise & Fall of a Momocracy

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