Monthly Archives: October 2015

“Type A” Mom in a “Type B” World

I used to think there was something gone awry with my youngest child. Is it possible to have ADD only at home, I wondered? He seemed to be doing just fine at school. He’s social and gets the occasional reprimand from teachers for talking too much but I never got reports of difficulty staying focused on work or grades that were dropping. Yet, at home, to get him to focus on a task, one single task, was next to impossible. Ask him to get a pair of socks and 10 minutes later he’s still in his room, no socks on feet, listening to music and playing with his toys. Getting him to take a shower is another lesson for me in patience. I’ll check on him after I hear the water running and, is he in the shower? Nope. He’s playing with water in the sink or styling his hair. And once he gets in the shower, you might expect washing to happen. Oh, you silly, silly people. Many a time, I will come upstairs 15 minutes later and there is nary a sud of soap on his body. He’s just been standing there…singing. Holy Lord, give me strength!

Mornings are the worst. Getting ready for school is always a fight. We have tried setting out clothes the night before. We have tried using an egg timer to give him a sense of the time he has remaining. We have tried threatening loss of technology time. We have tried a reward system if he runs on time. Nothin’ doin’. At least he has graduated past the “It doesn’t feel good” stage of dressing… or maybe he’s just trained us not to buy clothes with tags in them. The frustrating thing is, I know he can get ready quickly. The other day, he wanted to gift his teacher some books for the classroom that he had finished reading. He set his alarm (Wait. What? He knows how to work that thing?) for 30 minutes before he normally gets up. He got dressed, brushed teeth, made his bed, AND wrapped a present, all in the space of about 20 minutes. Is he trying to drive me insane?

I seriously was contemplating having him tested for ADD until my husband and I were talking about it one day and he said “There’s nothing wrong with him. He’s just like ____ (I will not name names).” Ah ha! Light bulb! That makes total sense. My husband, my eldest son, and I are all Type A personalities and my youngest is just a Type B. It’s not that he’s purposefully being slow or not listening to me. It’s just his nature. He knows not the constraints of time. Neither order, nor regiment binds him.   His is the laid back, carefree life of which I sometimes dream. While I am known to have a mini panic attack if running late, he takes life at a leisurely pace. I have begun to appreciate him for the amazing Type B traits that he possesses. He is creative and curious. He enjoys the journey. He feels fewer social pressures. He is a friend to all. And he is the sweetest of boys who still loves to snuggle with his Mom. To understand this has been freeing for me. It helps me to be less frustrated by his slowness and distractibility. The key word here is “less”. I am not entirely frustration free, mind you. I am still Type A, after all.

The Power of the Spoken “F” Word

Remember when your kids thought that the “F” word was “Fart”, the “Sh” word was “Shoot”, and the “H” word was “Hate?”  Now, at 11 and 8, my sons unfortunately know what the real words are.  They have heard them enough from TV, their Dad’s mouth, and their friend who’s vocabulary has benefitted from having two older brothers.  They know it is a faux pas to use these words and they know that they may get in trouble if we hear them uttered.  But it is clear that they, especially my 11 year old, are starting to learn the power of the curse word.

Growing up, I lived in a household where expletives, though used sparingly, were used with confidence. Perhaps it was because I was shy and introverted as a child, but I never really felt comfortable wielding those words.  The words felt phony coming out of my mouth.  As an adult, however, I recognize the power of an appropriately uttered F-bomb and I have become more comfortable in these expressions.  They can diminish the pain from a thumb whacked by a hammer.  They can demonstrate the anger that my tear stained face cannot convey (You should know that I tend to cry with any emotion – sad, angry, happy.  Reading my face does not always tell you how I am feeling.).  The “Sh” word expresses frustration and disappointment, typically in my own actions.  For example, “Oh, Sh&#$!”  I forgot to pick up the kids!”  Just for the record, and so you don’t question my parenting, I have never actually done this.  But you can imagine that the “Sh” word would perfectly sum up my feelings in that situation.

So, the other day, when we were on the way home from school and my son was telling me a story about a kid in his class that was really bothering him and he said, “He really pissed me off, Mom!”, I responded in the way that most good parents would… with disappointment and consternation at his use of the expletive.  But, deep in side, in a place I would never share with my kids, I was thinking “Way to go, J!  You F&#%ing owned that word!”.  I was secretly so proud!

Staying Connected

I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. When I first joined, I became a woman obsessed. I felt the constant need to be checking posts; fearful I would miss out if I didn’t keep constant contact. I felt left behind and somehow less interesting of a person if I wasn’t regularly posting clever quips, commentaries, and photos of all the amazing things I was doing (because everyone’s life on Facebook is amazing). It was all consuming and only added another level of stress to my life. I had to take a break. I had to reexamine my relationship with Facebook.

Now, I am back. But I no longer feel that I have to be constantly posting. These days, I look upon Facebook as more of a resource, a tool to stay connected to those I love and to the world around me. For many years, I fought technology. After going through medical school and residency, I felt too connected. I was too easily reached: by pager, by phone, by hospital intercom. It seemed I was always available to everyone else and rarely available to myself. I avoided getting a device that could call me, text me, and email me because I thought it would sap too much of my time and energy.   But when I followed my heart to Spokane and left my family and friends on the East Coast, I lacked an easy way to keep in touch. Facebook (via my IPhone) has provided this for me. I can watch my mom teach a yoga class in Florida. I can see my cousin’s little boy grow and see my aunt and uncle thrive in grandparenthood all the way in New Jersey. I can share the highs and lows of motherhood with my high school girlfriends in Georgia. I can reach out to a friend who is struggling through cancer and lend support and prayers as she embarks on her journey. I am thankful, as I may never have known many of these joys and sorrows if it weren’t for Facebook.

Facebook has also allowed me to keep on top (though, perhaps only superficially) of what’s going on in the world. I am a worrier and so, to prevent undue negativity in my life, I have chosen to avoid watching the news and reading the newspaper, which seem to be full of disaster, tragedy, and violence these days. Consequently, I am easily out of touch with the events going on in the world. I do listen to NPR in the morning while getting ready for work but this only provides me a snippet of current events. For better or for worse, I get much of my news from Facebook. At least it keeps me from looking like a total ignoramus at parties and in workplace hallway conversations.

Facebook is also a fabulous source of fun and humor! There are some amazingly funny bloggers out there who share insights that allow us to laugh at our situations and ourselves. There are satirical cartoons and videos of monkeys petting puppies and crazy quizzes that predict which Golden Girl you would be (Rose). These things bring a smile to my face and, during a hectic and draining day, I need this. It is good for my psyche and good for my soul.

Now, I do admit that I still have to fight the urge to constantly check Facebook (though now it’s for fun and not out of a sense of social obligation) and I continue to feel that people project an unrealistically rosy image of their lives on Facebook. It can be a virtual Lake Wobegon, “where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average”. But I am starting to see people sharing more of their authentic selves and this gives me hope. The Facebook balance of love and hate is a little bit tipped towards love today.