Not Crazy, Just Mad

bIt’s a Sunday mid-morning on Mother’s Day, and I’m in our front yard sitting in a patch of sun.  The inside of our home is much colder than the outside temperature, and I just want to warm up a little bit.   Our three chickens Hazel, Malena and Emily cluck soothingly beside me in their coop.  My husband Craig is in the living room supervising our girls playing with Lucy the feisty puppy.

We just had an argument.

I blame Mother’s Day for it.

Over the past few days, I prepped Craig about Mother’s Day, saying I would like to “do my own thing”, within reason.  I didn’t require gifts, flowers or  fancy dinner.  I thought that he’d consider himself lucky to have such a low-maintenance wife!  Then I clarified my request and said I wanted to have a lot of writing time.  I didn’t think I was being unreasonable, and he didn’t say that was unacceptable.

But just now, after I had been glued to my laptop for a few hours, my husband just told me that I had a “dysfunctional” relationship with our computer.  That was a low blow.  I’ve freely admitted I’m online too much as a rule, both to him and to pretty much everyone on the planet, but to throw a nasty label like that at me really hurt.  Plus, it’s Mother’s Day.  Shouldn’t I be treated like the Queen that I am?

Now I sit in a puddle of sunlight feeling like I’m in an icy bath.

How dare you say that to me on holy Mother’s Day!!!  I wanted to scream at him.  It would have felt soooo good to yell.  But I won’t do it because I stopped my rage-fests a long time ago.  Making a complete spectacle of myself is the last thing I want to do in front of my girls, our puppy, and our new neighbors who moved in yesterday next door.

So I’m taking a deep breath.  I’m taking another one.  I’m going to keep away from my innocent computer for a while.  Our relationship is not dysfunctional.  I have a life outside of being online, albeit more narrow than I’d like it to be.

My MacBookPro and I are just friends!  We have a healthy relationship consisting of mutual admiration and respect.  I’m reminded of a great 1984 sci-fi, romantic drama called “Electric Dreams” that depicts a love triangle between a man, a woman, and a home computer.  It really was a charming film, and I loved it so much that I bought the Giorgio Moroder-composed soundtrack.  

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I digress.  I need to shake off my anger and do it as swiftly as I can.  I hate feeling this way.  I know what I’ll do!!!

It’s puppy therapy time!

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I shall take a few private minutes with my furball, tell her of my woes, and hold her gently in my arms.  I will let her lick my face even though her breath is pretty iffy – I’ve seen what else she licks and it ain’t pretty, or hygienic for that matter.  I don’t care.  I’m upset and I need comfort.  It’s refreshing to realize I can give myself a time-out with my canine.  Wow.  This is so cool!

As I embrace this coping strategy I can already feel a shift in my rage.  I’m still quite upset by what happened, but I’ll discuss my hurt feelings with Craig after I’ve had my Lucy time.  It might not be such a bad idea to suggest to Craig to have a few minutes alone with Lucy before we work things out.

Suggesting to hang out with one’s pet to overcome a nasty spat may sound simplistic.  I don’t think it is.  The feedback I’ve gotten from my pet-owning friends is that their “fur children” have helped them with emotions such as anger, sadness and loneliness immeasurably.  I remember the comfort I felt as a little girl laying by my Irish Setter’s warm side, hearing her gentle
breathing and watching her chest rise and fall.  It has been a long time since I’ve had my own dog comfort me, and the gift of Lucy’s unconditional love is a Mother’s Day gift of the highest degree.

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Mother’s Day…I’m Just Not That Into You

I don’t need flowers, I don’t need a fancy dinner, and I don’t need lingerie.

I DO need chocolate.  But I prefer to pick it out myself since I have VERY high standards!

I am referring to Mother’s Day, of course.  While I know that many people appreciate this holiday, I’m not one of them.  I’ve never connected with it, even after I became a mother.  All I cared about growing up was my birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas – that was it.  This year I’ve felt particularly repelled by the incredible amount of spam that has appeared in my email folder over the past three weeks.

Strawberries for Mother’s Day!!!  Floral bouquets for Mother’s Day!!!  You-name-it for Mother’s Day!

For me this day has become too loaded with happy expectations and it ends in disappointment.  Who needs it? Especially since you all know I have THE best Mother’s Day gift ever:   snooze

Seven-week-old puppy Lucy snoozing on my pillow despite the fact she’s technically not supposed to be on the bed.  Please let that be our secret!

As thrilled as I am to be under Lucy’s spell, she’s not a panacea to all my problems. I’m having one of those days in which PMS symptoms are beginning to rise their ugly heads.  As a result, I’ve been irritable and unable to relax.  All day long I’ve had an annoying feeling that I should be accomplishing a lot more than I’m doing, and I’m not cutting it!

I wish I could just nap in an instant as sweet Lucy does, complete with puppy dreams.  With two lively children in this house, I don’t see a nap in my immediate future.  What will help me is working out and breaking a good sweat.  That’s my plan for the late afternoon.  My workout becomes all the more alluring because it’s the time when I read your blog posts on my Kindle.  All the juicy, incisive, inspiring writing I read makes my elliptical workout whiz by.

Despite my aversion to Mother’s Day, I admit I’ll take advantage of the holiday all the same.  I’m not asking for much, so I’m easy compared to other “high-maintenance” moms. who require high-end jewelry and Creme de Mer.  I want to be able to hang out with fluffball Lucy, write, work out, and eat something yummy at home.  I know the girls have made me gifts at school and those will be the only gifts I need.

The other day I read a fascinating post on Stigmama.com that discusses Mother’s Day in a different light.  Stigmama.com founder/author Dr. Walker Karraa also mentions other topics close to my heart in relation to motherhood, maternal mental health and awareness campaigns.  Dr. Karraa writes in a highly original, powerful way and her perspectives are never boring!  The post is located at:

http://stigmama.com/2014/05/05/mother-may-i/

Speaking of that which is powerful, yesterday I watched the documentary “Running From Crazy” featuring Mariel Hemingway. The film examines the Hemingway legacy and it takes a close look at suicide and the genetics of mental illness.  What affected me the most were the scenes of Mariel having candid mental-illness themed conversations with her two grown daughters.

Neither daughter said she had severe mental illness, but in one scene Mariel told her daughter pointedly she had been “very worried” about her when she suffered depression.  Mariel had every right to be gravely concerned when depression surfaced in her child, as a whopping seven of her family members had taken their lives, “maybe more” as Mariel said.

While watching “Running From Crazy” it occurred to me for the umpteenth time that as a mom with two daughters of my own I’ll always worry about my girls succumbing to bipolar disorder.  I don’t want my Avonlea and Marilla to feel like Mariel Hemingway.  I don’t want them feeling like they are “running from crazy” throughout their lives, sprinting like mad to escape severe mental illness that arose in the generations before them.

On second thought I’d like the money my husband will spend on a Mother’s Day fancy card, flowers, and dinner to go to a meaningful cause: The International Bipolar Foundation.  The International Bipolar Foundation helps those with bipolar and anyone else affected by bipolar, and they’re active advocates.   As we’re a family on a super-tight budget, we rarely donate to non-profits.  However, since I’m fairly certain that money shall be spent on me for Mother’s Day, I’d like to direct it to a place that makes me feel good.

And now that I’ve gotten theses concerns off my motherly chest, I shall forget about putting away dishes, doing laundry and paying bills and return to Puppyland!!!  Happy Sunday.  😉