cryin’ on my therapist’s couch

Soon to be a Lifetime original movie.

I feel better today. For the moment, anyway. I have been having my ups & downs more rapidly than I am comfortable with. My therapist attributes it to my having summers off of my degree-seeking schooling. She believes I do not know how to manage the lack of direction I perceive when I am not engulfed by my studies and motherhood. There is an awesome collection of essays about how writer’s tend to lose their identities and their minds a bit when they become mothers. It is called Mother Reader, and I really need to re-read it.

One step I have taken towards feeling a bit more sane is limiting my time goofing off on Facebook. Generally, I believe, I go on there desperately seeking adult interaction. I also look for parenting ideas and knowledge of issues in which I am interested. However, I go on there a bit manically throughout the day–compromising my ability to be present for my kids. I have even noticed that their demands escalate when I am on Facebook. Plus, I do not spend time blogging or working on finding editing work, etc. when I am obsessively scrolling through Facebook. I figure if I can quit eating after 8 pm (which I have done in order to be healthier & more fit,) I can avoid checking Facebook when I am wearing my “mom” hat and only interact on Facebook when it is mostly “me time.” Is there ever an entirely me time for a mom with small children?

I’m sure by the title, you are expecting more about my therapist visit–or are simply relieved to know that I am in therapy.
Here’s what I was thinking after seeing her yesterday. She asked me, “What is the one thing, be it sleep or more time, that you feel you need in order to feel less overwhelmed?”

I did not have to think long. “To have the dad gone,” I answered. Not “gone” in the way he suspects I want him gone (lately he has been accusing me of plotting his death??) But gone in the sense that we do not live together, and in the sense that I do not have to deal with his stuff on top of my own stuff as I try to be a good mom.

Which then made me realize, that is exactly the reason I gave her almost three years ago when I first started seeing her. She asked me my one big reason for being in therapy. I gave her…the dad.

At that time we were living in a 30 plus person cooperative house in downtown Madison. We were sharing a room in order to save money and because we were, once more, trying to work things out. I had just had a baby, my daughter, and she had suffered a rough birth. I wanted to move out of the dad’s room in the co-op, but there were no other rooms available for me. Imagine two adults, two kids, and a baby sharing a room in a house shared with 30 some other adults. Now imagine that those two adults have the communication skills of cranky preschoolers. Hence I sought therapy.

Shortly after this I was ill-treated (and illegally discriminated against) by members of my co-op for having kids, but eventually I managed to get a small space of my own and then a bigger space after that. At which point it was rather obvious that the dad and I were broken up again, so I said to him, “If you do decide to date someone, please wait six months–to make sure it is serious–before bringing that person to our home.” I felt that needed to be said since we did share space in a cooperative house. He agreed and immediately started having sex with one of our housemates whom I believed to be a friend of mine, though our relationship was difficult for me.

I found out about their relationship when she betrayed my trust and told him something I said in–I assume–an effort to turn him against me. I found this especially abominable considering the dad & I had a difficult relationship to begin with but were doing our best to co-parent and be friends while living in close proximity.

This began a horrific cycle of obsession, hate, and anger between the dad and I as well as other members of our house. Having been out of that house for a year now, I feel I must have been half insane while I was living there. I am a highly sensitive person and living in a cooperative house with as much drama as that one had–I must have been in a constant state of arousal–not the good kind.

When I moved out, I meant to leave the dad once more. However, my co-signer on my lease fell through, and the dad offered help. Still reeling from the drama and damage of my cooperative experience, I was vulnerable enough and desperate enough to think we could work things out. And, of course, I was pregnant again.

Which brings us to present day on my therapist’s couch, realizing I am in the same boat I was in when I entered therapy three years ago…but with one more kid on board.

Boy, I am a slow learner.

i just wrote a children’s book.

just now.  about how me & my kids like to draw.  i figure we can all illustrate it together.  that’s probably corny, but what if it isn’t?  what if it sells & starts a whole series of children’s books written by me & the minions?  wouldn’t that be awesome?

which leads to my fear that i am a fraud.  i have some writers & artists following me now, and i worry that they will see what a big, fat fraud i am.  i wish i had confidence.  maybe that’s what i should have asked my parents for christmas instead of dolls that peed themselves….

which leads to me as a mom.  here’s my facebook post for the day:

so today i had to run errands–it consisted of my having to get a new student i.d., my talking about my new blog with my therapist (among other things), and my opening a portfolio for clementine & one for donovan with my stockbroker….
i think i might be an atypical mom.
….baking bread, studying geography, writing comics, and fine-tuning my kids is on my agenda for tonight.

i then went on to comment on my own status as i so often do (yes, i’m one of those people):

i found myself wondering–after seeing my stockbroker–how many clients he had who were struggling artist/student/mothers willing to invest roughly 1/10th of their annual income in stock portfolios so their kids might one day hitchhike through europe, open a restaurant, or go to college…. i would like to think there are more of me out there somewhere….

it’s not that i think i’m special…i just don’t want to be alone.

i then added another comment to my facebook status:

i also asked my stockbroker what i should expect of the market in case of a zombie apocalypse….

yes, i am blogging about my facebook postings.  seriously?  yes, i am.  but i only have 50 some friends on facebook & so it will only be a repeat for like one person or two?  i really don’t know if anyone actually reads my facebook or my blog…ha!

which leads me t how the day began.  the dh called me “weird”–& coming from him–i knew  it was a compliment.  i was telling him about how i used to flex & unflex the muscle under my eyes.  i told people that it was so that i might one day close my eyelid from the bottom like a frog…but it was really because i one day planned to stop flexing it & letting the muscle turn to fat, creating a pooch under my eyes.  i thought that people with pooches under their eyes looked cool & i thought that my face needed more character.

the dh called me weird–i am strange–& i want to stop pretending that i am not.

to fb or not to fb….

it’s been a long painful journey for me to figure out what is and is not okay to facebook about.  like small talk, it is a foreign world, this facebook….  introverts like myself are not known for their abilities at small talk, and facebook is one big small talk fest, it seems.

also, as someone who over analyzes almost everything i think & say–facebook is challenging.  i often find myself thinking in facebook statuses.  i will be in the middle of a meltdown (mine own or the children’s), figuring out how to phrase it into a facebook post.

jokingly, during my one of my first facebook incarnations, i created a comic called “to fb or not to fb.”  where i made fun of myself & my struggle with facebook.  i have also, as an experiment, posted about a personal feeling and then posted just “snow pants.”  there was no response to the personal feeling post.  there were several responses to “snow pants” as a facebook status post.

facebook is just weird.  i have closed down my original page & re-opened one that has none of my family involved in it.  i want to be able to say what i want to say and not worry about what one of my right-wing “christian” relatives will say in response.  so i’m only friends with people i actually like–which isn’t a lot of people…ha!  i also have my facebook page as a way to get my writings & art out there.   i no longer try to share deep feelings.  yet i still struggle.  i think about a status…if it will fly, i type it up & look at it & debate awhile before posting–& then worry it will be taken the wrong way & perhaps remove it.  if the facebook status in my head is clearly inappropriate, i turn it into a short story or a comic.

& i just wrote an entire blog post about facebook….

yikes.

oh, & here’s an example of to fb or not to fb :

to fb or not to fb