This is supposed to make me feel better, right?

I had a counselling session today, and I tried to get to the bottom of why I've been on the verge of tears for the past two weeks. Well, not constantly on the verge of tears. Last Friday, after getting back from the urgent care center about DS1's ear, I full out went over the edge. But mostly I've just been getting sort of choked up and demoralized for no clear reason. So we started discussing all my life stuff. Vacation last week: good, overall, save that midnight trip to the urgent care with a screaming four-year-old whose eardrum wanted to burst. My subsequent beating myself up for not realizing how sick he was until it was too late to soothe him. "How were you supposed to know?" Dr. S asked me. "Do you have some sort of superhuman vision that lets you know everything?" "Well, no," I answered, "but this isn't like me. I usually pick up on the signs before it gets so bad that it requires an ER visit, y'know? I didn't, though, this time. " "So?" I started running my hand through my hair, and kind of bunching my arms in the vicinity of my shoulders and head. "So?" he said again, "What about the jury of your peers? Are they going to convict you of being a bad parent because you took your son to the doctor when he got sick? That's just life. You do what you have to do." Jeez, they can convict me of being a bad parent?! I'm screwed. And some militant lactavists have told me that my not nursing DS is the reason he gets sick (he's 4, I don't think the statute of limitations on the nursing-ear infection link still stands.) "No, I guess they won't." I admitted. "So," he says (he says "so" a lot,) "what else?" "Well, the preparation for the September meeting is gearing up. And this is the first meeting that is my gig. I haven't done this before! Well, OK, I have done this before. But it was never up to me before! Somebody else was ulimately responsible for whether it was right before, and now I'm the one who has to make sure that the materials are compiled in time to be reviewed in time to be sent to the printer in time to be sent to the members in advance of the meeting. I took the calendar and worked backwards and figured out when I need to start, and it's pretty much right now." "So you've planned when things need to be done, and you've realistically estimated how long it takes to do them, and you've set the schedule in motion?" he asked. "Yeah." "And what is the problem? What have you not done?" "Well, I don't know," I said, "I'm also nervous about what happens at home. I have to go to San Diego, and..." "OK," he interupted, "let me make sure I understand. You've got the whole thing planned and organized and you're going to be in one of the most beautiful cities in the country. Where is the problem again?" "Well, DH is going to be home alone with the kids, and for seven years I've always been the one who juggled the schedule to make sure that the kids were taken care of and now I'm the one whose going to be not around, and..." "I think it's fine that he's got all of the kids. I think it's good, actually. Did he support you taking this job?" "Yes," I admitted. "And did you hide from him that he would have to help you out because of your schedule?" "No," I countered, "but he's never taken care of more than one of our kids overnight, much less more than one, and had to get ready for..." "You've taken care of them all overnight, without him?" "Yeah, a few times." "So, now he comes into your world." Dr. S picks up his calendar, ready to schedule our next session, and continues, "It sounds as though you are just feeling overwhelmed by everything hitting at once. DS1 starting school, even though you know are excited for him and you think he will do well, and the upcoming meeting preparation and the change in travel. You just need to tell yourself what you've already told me, that it's going to be fine because you have planned it and you know what you're doing." I'm hiding behind my hair and arms again. "I feel like a fraud," I said. "You feel like a frog?!" he replied, expecting me to make some lame-ass, joking analogy, I'm sure. I'm really adept at making lame analogies. After six months of talking to me, I think he has picked up on this. "A fraud," I repeated, "like, with the smoke and the levers and spinning wheels behind the curtain and all." "Well," he concludes, "the Wizard of Oz was really just a regular guy. He was a fraud because he claimed to be a wizard. You're claiming to be a regular woman behind the curtain. In front of the curtain, most of us see just Karen, but if you want to feel like a fraud, go ahead. I haven't seen evidence to support it, though." And I realized, my therapist if the mental health equivalent of someone slapping me upside my head and screaming "Duh!" or Cher telling Nick Cage to "snap out of it!"


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Who's Who

    Hubby- aka DH My husband since 1995. He is the head of the band department at a college prep school, and dabbles as a wanna-be pop star.

    The Princess- aka DD. Third grader at the local parochial school. Loves butterlies, sparkly things, the color purple and has recently developed a crush on one of the twins from "The Suite Life of Zach and Cody". Is ready for her teenage years, having already perfected her exasperated sigh and dramatic eye-roll.

    Hoss- aka DS1. Kindergartener and resident spirited child. His aunt likes to call him "the evil genius" because of his penchant for letting a lack of intellectual stimulation lead him into mischief. Likes trucks, sports, building things and burping. His current favorite word is "underwear."

    Lil Joe- aka DS2. Born in 2003. Doesn't say much we can understand, but has mastered the important stuff ("eat!", "Wash hands!", "Want chocolate ones!", "Hockey game!") Likes to push buttons, much to the consternation of whoever is trying to watch a DVD. Firmly refuses to use the potty, despite evidence that he is physically ready to be out of diapers, indicating a level of stubborn that eclipses even that of his parents and siblings.

    Me? I'm the Mama. That's all you need to know.

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