Tag Archives: opinion

What Are You Grieving?


92423AB4-92CD-46BA-BC35-F29338DB7AC7In the midst of the general death and destruction wrought by Covid-19, a grown woman took the time to complain on social media that she would not have a birthday party this year. She was devastated there would be no restaurant, no margaritas, no tapas, no cake, no friends to make her feel special and celebrated.

My first thought? What a selfish brat! 

This is a grown up we are talking about, not an eight year old who already picked out unicorn party favors. Has she not read the posts written by traumatized, sweaty ICU staff who are actually risking life and limb to care for victims of this pandemic?

I was angry, but not just with Birthday Girl. I was angry with our country and all the interlocking systems that have failed in keeping us safe, in working cooperatively, and in providing resources to treat us humanely. The more I thought about it, the more depressed I felt. Then, like many have already observed, I realized I was bouncing around in the cycle of grief.

We are all grieving different things right now.

Some of us are grieving celebrations in which we cannot partake. Others are grieving loss of employment, or income needed to stay afloat. Some bear the palpable loss of a loved one to this pernicious disease, while others suffer isolation, and the grief of loneliness.

It made me stop and realize what a judgey twat I was being.

It also made me question what I was grieving.

I’m certainly wandering around in a haze of sad uncertainty that feels a lot like grief. I miss simple structure, routine, consistency. I’ve lost all the ways I typically “do” life. I’ve lost being able to see and embrace my friends and family. I bear witness to my children’s pain at separation from their grandparents (who they typically see daily), their friends, and routines of school and activities.

I definitely miss leaving the house and listening to music really loud in the car on my way to work. Who’d have thunk it? And I miss sitting with my clients, face to face. I miss the things you see on people’s face that you can’t experience in their disembodied voices, or in pics, or in ticktoc vids.

So, maybe it’s a bunch of things? Maybe I really just miss being able to race out to the market to fetch that one thing I’ve forgotten without it being a big HAZMAT issue that puts all our lives at risk?

Maybe I miss when life wasn’t such a hyperbole and I could use hyperboles in fun and actual hyperbolic ways?

Yeah, I guess, I’m not grieving anything greater than a birthday party either. We all know the horrors that are right outside our doors (or at least the ones of us choosing to stay in and socially distance do).

I’d like to tell you that the nice thing about this grief is that it will be impermanent. A vaccine will be developed, treatment will come, and we will be free to roam about the world again. Things will get better. Those are all facts.

But will we go back to normal?

If I’ve learned one thing about grief, it is that grief, when traumatic enough, has the potential to change us, to alter us right down at our DNA level. Don’t believe me? Google the epigenetics of trauma. I swear to you it is an actual thing.

So, the good news is if we stay kind, supportive, and connected, we have a far better chance of surviving and getting back to our baselines. If this situation has taught us anything, it is how much we need one another, how essential the embrace of humanity is to our health and existence.

I’m so sorry I forgot that, even for a moment.

What are you grieving? Please feel free to share in the comments below. I try to respond to any and all who take the time to share their time and thoughts with me. Thank you for being here. 

Real Mom Talk– What I Think vs. What I Actually Say and How it Enables Toxic Masculinity


Emily is in first grade now and the mean girl club has started with a vengeance. This has been a seriously rude awakening for both of us. For whatever lucky ducky reasons, my son (who is four years older and five grades ahead of Em), did not go through social crap in the same toxic, manipulative ways my seven year old daughter is already navigating with her peers.

Emily is a sensitive and empathic child, which makes the whole issue all the more heartbreaking. I’ve addressed it with parents, her teacher, and the principal and we’ve come up with some supportive ways to help Em cope with the stress of being a sweet little lamb in a lion’s den.

This week she went back to school after the holiday recess, and happily applied herself to her studies. She loves to read and is thrilled by participating in art. This morning, as I was in the bathroom getting ready for work, she approached me.

“Mama, when you go up to dress, can we have a talk?”

“Of course. Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I just need to do some talking about my feelings.” She said with a serious little face.

So, here’s another difference between Em and Jack. Both of them have the same goopy, social worker mom, but my son rarely willingly divulges his emotional space to me. Em on the other hand is all about the deep, emotional bonding.

As I pulled myself into my undies and leggings I asked her what was up. She disclosed to me that after school, when she was playing in the school yard, under the watchful eye of her babysitter, one kid had stolen her hat off her head and her special new toy, and run off with them,  and threw them over a fence.

She told me this calmly and clearly as if recounting the forensics of a crime scene.

My heart sped up and it was all I could do to keep the steam inside my head. I hugged her. Her glossy curls brushed against my cheek and I felt the little bones of her back under my hands.  We talked about how it made her feel and how she solved the problem and what she thought we should do next.

Then she wanted to play on the iPad.

She moved on, but I didn’t. I couldn’t.

I was pissed.

Had it been an isolated incident, maybe I could have let it go a little easier, but dude, I’ve been dealing with this social crap for the past four months now and I don’t understand why it isn’t getting any easier. It also seemed to suck and confound me because the bully this time had been an older boy.

So, at pickup, I approached the kid’s mom and mentioned to her that her son (who is four years older than my first grader) had been physically aggressive to my daughter. I let her know that Em is just super sensitive right now and I’m trying to keep tabs on things, and I knew her kid probably didn’t mean to hurt her hat, toy, body, or feelings, but that was the end result. I told her directly, but politely.

She told me it was inappropriate to mention it in front of her son and that she would talk to him and get back to me…….

Here’s what I REALLY wanted to say, “Heya bitch face, tell your poorly socialized excuse for a spawn to keep his grimy paws off my precious little baby and while you’re at it, maybe you want to have a convo with him about consent and how to treat women because clearly you are training him to be an abusive little shit! Boys will be boys after all!”

I didn’t tell her that at all. I smiled and thanked her for her time and then I went and privately had an anxiety attack that I had confronted this woman who was clearly pissed with me and didn’t have a grasp on where I was coming from.

TBH, I’m pretty much still shaking, even after texting and talking to several friends who validated that I was advocating for my daughter and did the right thing.

It is hard to address these issues with other moms. I appreciate that. Furthermore, I get that the other mom was also advocating for and protecting her son, but oh man, in this day and age, maybe we all wanna double down on those discussions with our sons about respecting the physical space of female bodies and set some good examples for future generations.

IDK. It got me thinking about all the things I sorta wanna say as a mom, but don’t.

Smile and nod. Smile and nod. . .

When does my politeness become complicit? When do I actually enable the abuse of my daughter on the playground by saying what is polite instead of saying what I really mean and feel?

What do you think?

The Real Working Moms vs. The “Real” Housewives


I’ve decided that there should be a reality show about us working moms.

It would show us up all night nursing, cleaning vomit, and soothing away bad dreams.  It could show us unable to sleep because we are worried about how we are going to buy toilet paper and diapers after also paying the rent and buying groceries on our meager paychecks. It might show us exhausted, haggard, and chubby because we never have the time or energy to exercise.

In this show we drive to work half-asleep while feeling like a horrible human because we forgot to put money for our kid’s field trip in his back pack.  In this show, we never, ever have sex. . .

We get appliances rather than conflict diamond jewelry for gifts.  We fall asleep on the couch after one drink.  We are on the pre-school-party-circuit.

No one would watch this show, would they?  No.  Because we real working moms would also be teaching our children to say “please and thank you,” to put a napkin on their laps, to treat others the way they want to be treated.  And good manners are just, so, boring.

It seems these days that all “reality” TV is focused around the rude, vapid, and ill-mannered.  I often ask myself why this is so.  Why is a “Bridezilla” screaming at her seamstress and caterer considered compelling television?  Why are two rich and shallow trophy wives arguing over who gets to wear the same dress to the same party considered interesting?  Don’t even get me started on the jerks down in Jersey who are obsessed with sleeping around and then worrying about STDs.

Even the Amish have gotten on the reality TV bandwagon!  Have you seen the show where the young Amish go to “live among the English” as they come of age?  These kids are plunked down in a city of sin where they experiment with alcohol, sex, and modeling careers.  I watched about ten minutes of it before becoming queazy.

I don’t get it.

My main issue with these shows is that they are watched by a lot of young folks who then think that this is the way to behave.  There is a message that if you act like a crazy freak you will eventually get a show, not prison, or time in a locked psychiatric ward.  Kids don’t have to learn to regulate their own emotional state because it is fine to get drunk, tantrum in public, self-medicate with shopping, and have sex with whoever you please.

There are very few consequences for these people.  The consequence of this media for society is that we are bringing up a generation of vain, self-centered, and emotionally dysregulated fools.

Why doesn’t anyone want to watch a monastery of Buddhist monks meditate and teach mindfulness, or a cloister of nuns perform good deeds in third world countries?  Why wouldn’t a show about a mom who kisses goodbye her children to go work all day so she can afford pizza and a movie on Friday night interest anyone?

Personally, I would like to watch a show about a mom who figures out how to maintain a full supply of breast milk after going back to work.  For a woman, leaving a tiny newborn in the care of another so she can return to work is one of the most unnatural things on the planet.  And yet, no one cares about this struggle.  It is far more interesting to watch two besties duke it out in a hookah bar and then make out with one another.

Every day at work, I get to witness the incredibly tragic lives of people who have endured horror stories worse than anything Stephen King could ever concoct.  I’m talking about the house burning down at Christmas because the sexually abused kid set fire in the closet kind of stuff.  In the face of this, I can’t help but wonder, isn’t our world messed up enough already?

These families let me into their lives, and most of the time all I can do is listen.  It humbles me beyond description, but it is also exhausting how much despair is in our world.  So, you will have to excuse me if I don’t want to watch a bunch of self-indulgent narcissists who really don’t know what a problem is when I come home at night.

I would however like to watch the show in which the working mom reforms our crappy maternity leave policies.

Or, better yet, maybe I’ll just turn off the television and savor the innocence of my own children.  Apparently, I am already streaming “The Real Working Mom” 24/7 over here.