May 05, 2011

Lessons From the Couch: Part II

I talked about the benefits of my therapy in Part I, all those amazing lessons I learned and how it made me shiny happy people again. But of course it wasn't all roses- there were some hard truths to be realized and there is one that resonates most of all, buckle up.

Revelation goes a little something like this:

Me: Okay, so I've got the kids in therapy, I'm doing A, B, & C, minding my P's and Q's with my E. X. and keeping the adult conversations on the D. L. {Alphabetically preferably to maintain OCD} The kids seem great, they are adjusting just fine, no problems, no lashing out, no hitting or burning of anything, I think they are going to come out of this virtually unscathed. {At this point I may have been doing some celebratory-like dance, possibly the running man.}

Therapist: No...They won't.

Me: OH SNAP! No you didn't! {Lots of rapid eye blinking and stammering}

TH: You have damaged your kids, inadvertently yes, but damaged nonetheless. This divorce has damaged them. There is nothing you can do to change that or erase that; now you help them through it.

Me: {Not sure what portions of this next part I actually may have said or what I was thinking in my head, whirl wind and such.}Thanks for making me feel like a complete LOSER lady. I'm obviously the worst Mom in the world, {go ahead, jot that down in your notebook} because I care so much its killing me. And I've apparently failed the parenting through divorce portion of my life. Had I known this was going to happen I could've started the damage during pregnancy and drank liters of caffeine, thrown cases of Twinkies down my throat {okay maybe did that}, ate seafood by the pound and actually taken some cold medicine for the cold I had instead of white knuckling it by thinking I would harm my precious little babe in any way! You may as well give custody to the hillbillies up yonder so they can work the still, or the junkies in the Meth house downtown or to Martha Stewart for crying out loud {cause you KNOW her kid has got to have issues, wire hangers anyone?}.

After breathing in and out of a paper bag for 10 minutes and begging for some Advil to OD on, I calmed down and she explained. Regardless of our attempt at being a perfect parent {or being an irresponsible"____" go ahead fill in your own word here, what's that? more blanks?}, both parents damage their kids in some way. Sperm donors, baby Daddies, part-time, full-time, hands on, Ward and June Cleaver types, the entire lot of us.  We can't perfectly parent, because we aren't perfect. And here's the kicker, and so true, you don't even have to be present in your child's life to screw it up, you don't actually have to do anything. You can equally damage them by being absent or unavailable. Therefore either way, anyway, lose, lose. Decisions we make as adults will affect our children and the shape their values, insecurities, relationships, and parenting skills for the rest of their lives. So no pressure. Might I also add we do way more positive than negative here.  {Fingers crossed and prayers said?} There is no parenting handbook. Lord knows if there was I'd be first in line for an autographed copy. Maybe I'll write one {pull it together and stop laughing, myself included}. I used to be a perfect parent before I had kids.  Let's just face it, most of us parents {except the really good ones} are just hanging in there, we're flying by the seat of our pants, taking our experiences and lessons and tweaking them, growing right along with our kids.

So then, there was this.....this is a genuine artifact. She journals, I blog.

Translation:  Dear Mom
You are the baddest Mom ever.
Yes, I saved it, mocks me, but makes me laugh.
This does not help. I promptly brought this to Therapist to have her explain the charges that had been laid against me {in writing no less}. I might have been crying waving the paper wildly in the air and mumbling something about how I messed up my daughter and I be picking her up at Juvy, she'd be BFFs with Lindsey Lohan and dating Charlie Sheen in no time.

TH: Cari, how old is she?

Me: Five.

TH: Calm down, she's five.

ME: {Apparently I've been known to overreact-huh? Moi? } This is maternal love lady, this 5 hours of pushing while changing a tire up hill in the snow....both ways, kind of love.

So now here I sat in office, on couch, written in crayon, I have a "child of divorce" from a "broken home". I hate that term "broken home", let's just stop shall we. Broken marriage perhaps, marriage beyond repair and better off for the children certainly. But what is broken in our home? My kids now live in a nurturing, functional,  loving home, yes without a Daddy quite often, but it is not in any way broken. As far as I see it, two parents can be living in an 'unbroken home' {?} and it be wholly unhealthy and damaging. Parents that stay together for the sake of the children are probably doing more damage than the parents moving forward. You have a happy parent, you have a happy child. {And their lives will still get screwed up.}  Reassuring.  How's this going for all you kid-less folk out there?  Massive guilt and unimaginable joy, the perks of parenthood.

Me: {So I approach the Drama Queen, I don't call her that for nothing; these banners were taped up on every door in the house.  I must have kicked her off the computer, I have a strict 6 hour computer/TV time limit per day} Drama Queen, let's put these papers away, because I'm not the baddest Mommy ever.  I love you.  Do you want to play Candyland?

Drama Queen: Can I be red?

Me: Yes.

Drama Queen: you {scampers off}.



  1. okay so is it terrible that that note form you daughter had me rolling in the floor.. because I wrote that to my mom... on her hallway wall (I called her a terrible mother and evil person.... but close)

    I love my mom... she is one of my best friends. Just know that.

  2. haha I love the lessons on the Couch series. You are definitely someone I can relate to!
    Hope you had a Happy Mother's Day! You deserve one!!!
    Please be sure to link up and create a Monday Memory post on your blog with my new blog hop.

  3. Nessa-I think I had my share of hate mail to my Mom too, which is why I think it's hilarious, well now anyway:)

    Kelsi- Thanks for reading, I had a great Mother's Day, hope you did too!

  4. mine always preferred "i hate you"s on sticky notes. smaller to be more easily put in various places. i think her grandma still has one stuck on her corkboard. lol

  5. This is a serious issue -- one I think about a lot because I'm in a similar situation -- which is why this Onion headline makes me laugh: "Study Finds Every Style Of Parenting Produces Disturbed, Miserable Adults." Well, if we can't laugh, we'll cry, right? And there's been enough of that for me ...,26452/


Let me know what you think by posting a comment or sending me an email, I promise not to stalk you if you do!