Mission Statement

We are a people who tell stories in one form or another.
After all isn't blogging just another way to gather around and tell those stories?

Motherhood is Painless is about finding the humor in the every day. In finding the happiness in those stories that we tell. What would happen if we *all* learned to laugh at ourselves? Maybe then the dark corners would recede a bit and we would all rejoice at the love we find there.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Variations on a Theme

Here we are on another Saturday morning.

It's cold. The kids are finished with track practice.

Claire is talking her way through her homework. Dave is doing something game-related on his laptop. Ben is "cleaning up" his Legos. He's not, really. He's playing with them, when he really ought to be reading an essay about plastic straws and writing something. But, I'm trying to be calm and rational about it, and not lose my shit over a 10 minute homework assignment, that's probably going to take him the better part of an hour to actually do.

I'm not going to engage on this one.

I can't parse out what it is about Saturday homework that sets me off. Ben and I are both fine with the routine every other day of the week. But something about Saturday is just horrible. I can't be nice about it. I become this caricature of the angry mom, bellowing like an irate cow over it. He becomes the stereotype of the Distracted Kid. Can't focus on the homework, so either zones out with something else, OR runs around in a manic state.

It's a terrible combination. What's worse, the harder I try to disconnect, the angrier I get about it. And the angrier I get, the more bad behavior it seems to trigger in Ben. So, round and round we go, until we're both so angry we can't speak.

Dave has often said that I need to leave the house on Saturday mornings, that my presence is  enough to set off the cycle. But that seems like failure to me. So, now I'm going to use the time for blogging. At least then some of the ruminations end up out of my brain.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Stay on the Path

It is no secret to anyone who knows me, even a little, that I struggle with depression.

Sometimes, it's a shadow just lurking out of sight. I'm aware of its presence, but not deeply under its sway. Other times, it washes over me, consuming my thoughts like the waves of a stormy sea.

Most of the time, it's a low-grade vibration, quivering just under the surface of it all. Before you ask, I'm never at any real risk; my husband helps me; I see a therapist regularly; and I take medication.

Today is one of those days, low grade vibrations, sometimes there are peaks, and I'm happier. Watching the kids run at track practice, joy writ large across their faces, practicing their relays. Hugging my husband, feeling warm and safe, and allowing the tears to fall for a moment.

I feel just a little broken, and I can't say why. Not today. I slept well, but every little thing seems to be pushing me closer and closer to breaking. What do I do? I think, sometimes that I get to the weekend, and the walls that hold me up during the week need to rest themselves and I am left without their protection.

The only advice I can give myself is to stay as calm as I can. To try to stay distant. If I come to close, I might shatter. I feel like a soap bubble, one breath away from tears again. But there is homework to do, meals to prepare, family to enjoy. I can manage this much, I think.
Fake it til you make it, I say. 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Reboot 2018

A while ago, I went away with a group of friends for a long weekend. We rented a house out in Sag Harbor, NY, ate good food and drank wine. We talked about the selves we were before we became mothers. (Our kids range from 15 down to four, with the common thread being a group of 10 year old girls, all friends through Girl Scouts.)

One of the themes that came up over and over again was how would we start anew, now that our kids didn't need us as much as they had in the past. Granted, Ben, at 8, still needs me quite a bit, but I can start to see a light ahead of me, and the next chapter of my life.

I'm not ready to say anything else, since all of this is still pretty vague and formless, but it is a sprout, and as it grows, I'll keep you in the light.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Keeping On

It's been a while since I wrote anything about Ben and our ongoing challenges with living with and managing his ADHD.

We started seeing a pediatric neurologist, who did a slew of tests, and surveys of both of us (his parents) and his teacher. Ben also had to do some computer testing, and needed to sit through an EEG. That was the hardest part, seeing him attached to a machine like that, and to try to sit still.

When all was said and done, this doctor not only had answers, but some solutions as well. 

It all boils down to medication. Ben scored fairly low on the attention spectrum, and after a few false starts, is now happy and pretty successful on a dose of medication. I was really against the idea for a very long time, but now I can see how it softens the hard edges. He's still spirited, impulsive or just plain headstrong, but he can sit for lengths of time, to do school work, homework. He can eat a meal with us, or play Minecraft without slipping into a table-flipping rage. 

There have been other tweaks as well. I've been giving him ground flaxseed meal in his oatmeal, for an extra dose of Omega-3s, and when he has trouble settling down at night, he takes melatonin. Lastly, we have a prescription for an appetite stimulant, because many ADHD medications cut the appetite. (They are all stimulants, you see.)

A tiny part of me still bristles at medicating a kid who isn't even eight years old, but I know what is expected of a neurotypical kid, and without the help, Ben isn't there. It's the right thing for us, for him and I'm glad we live in a world where it's possible to get him that help. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

One of our favorites

When I was a new mom, I was lucky. It was summertime, and my mother-in-law had the time to come visit us every week. She would take care of Claire, and I'd have a short break for myself.

One of the best legacies of that time was this carrot salad recipe. She would bring me a huge tupperware full of it, and I'd be assured of something easy and healthy for a few days.

Omi's Carrot Salad

shredded carrots (about one large carrot per person)
3-4 scallions, white and green, chopped
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
handful flat (Italian) parsley, chopped
juice from half of one lemon
olive oil
salt and pepper.

Whisk the dressing ingredients together in the bottom of a large bowl. Add beans, veggies and herbs and toss to coat. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

I haven't a clue what happened

Hello Blogfriends!

Surely, you can't still be here, waiting for me to write?

(peeks sheepishly around the corner...)

Let's just say that the winter got away from me, and leave it like that, mkay?

Here's the thing - the winter did get away from me. I've been trapped in a sort of quasi fugue state. There's just. So. Much.

And my kids aren't getting any smaller.
Claire is weeks away from turning ten.
How the heck did that happen? Wasn't she just a screaming pink little bundle, scaring me half to death by her mere existence? Yet, there she stands, five feet tall and rising, warm brown eyes, keenly curious about the world around her.

Ben is still scrambling along. The road we've taken with him continues and there are bad days and good, but we're hoping that the good continues to outweigh the bad. He's like the girl in the nursery rhyme. "When (s)he was good, (s)he was very, very good, but when (s)he was bad, (s)he was horrid."

I have more to tell you, but let's just ease into this, shall we? The road is long, and the way is slow.

<3 p="">

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Eyes Wide Open

There comes a point when you cannot possibly shut your eyes any more. When the truth is shining its light so brightly that to ignore it is to ignore something far more fundamental.

Like so many other people in this country, the results of the 2016 election have left me reeling. I didn’t fully understand the depth to which the racism and hatred had sunk the morale of the nation.

I live in a bubble - New York City. Our neighborhood is one of the most racially and culturally diverse in the city, making it probably the most diverse in the country. I can count on one hand the people I talk to regularly that voted with the conservative faction.

So, there it is.
I tried to talk to those people to find out why they made the choices that they did. I couldn’t get through. I listened, and offered alternatives. But even if I could make them listen, it’s too late, the votes have been cast, and peoples views have been exposed. Like flipping a rock in the garden, to reveal the maggots and bugs underneath.

My kids, young as they are, are scared. Scared for their friends. Their school has a student population of mostly immigrant families. Ben is worried about the wall. He wonders whether his friends will have to go back to their countries until the next president can tear that wall down again. Claire is worried for the safety of her Muslim friends, many of whom wear headscarves. And if they don’t yet wear them, have mothers who do.

They haven’t yet begun to worry about their dad, flying around the country for work. They are too young to have experienced terrorism on that scale. But their school experience has included lockdown drills and active shooter drills since they began attending.  

When I heard the news about the election, I cried. I let the disapppointment crush me for a while, as I lay on the bed sobbing about the lost hope I was feeling. I took another few days to properly grieve the hope of President Hillary Clinton. Then I woke up, and I’m going to stay woke for the rest of my day.

Now, I am making phone calls, speaking my mind for the first time in years. Planning and participating. This past weekend our neighborhood put together a bake sale in our local park. We raised $3600 for two local non-profits that support the immigrants that live here.

Bit by bit, we will find our strength again, I have to believe in that. I cannot allow myself to lose hope and I will keep my eyes open and looking towards the future.