Therapy Is Underrated

Somewhere, in a home near you, sits an exhausted mom finally sitting down for the first time today. Maybe she’s in yoga pants and hasn’t showered for two days. Maybe she’s still in her Ann Taylor modern skinny pants and blouse, with a stain from spitup, and makeup smeared from playing hide and go seek during the few hours she spends with her toddler each night. Maybe she’s scrolling through Facebook, hoping for something inspiring to encourage her to finally get on the treadmill and make her Fitbit less disappointed. Or maybe she’s spoon deep in Edys Mint Chocolate Chip. Regardless of a mom’s scenario – we all have one thing in common. For so much of our day, we act as therapists.

We champion our younger employees. Empower teams to share their story at work. Teach the importance of sharing. Encourage a child with special needs to work through their challenges. Beat ourselves up. Act as the optimist when things get rough. Mediate discussions. Edit documents, read stories, and listen intently. We help our friends and family with relationship woes, offer advice, dry tears, and kiss boo-boo’s.

Milwaukee Sander
Welcome to my therapy.

If moms are lucky enough to have a supportive husband and great group of friends, they might have someone around to do these things in return. But sometimes, an outside party is underrated. Someone who doesn’t know you. Or something that lets you disconnect. Somewhere you can just vent and ramble and not be judged. Somewhere you can be alone with your thoughts, working through things at your own pace, and on your own time.

People laugh at me all the time – but I’m not afraid to say it – ‘if your insurance allows you therapy – for the love of god – take advantage.’ Try it. Just go. And if it doesn’t or you aren’t open to someone else’s interpretation or thoughts or too tightly wound to relax in a therapy setting (HELLO!!! THIS GIRL) – find therapy somewhere else.

Free therapy.

My therapy right now is something I never expected. And it comes in the form of a Milwaukee orbit palm sander. And refinishing a table. Me, a mask, sand dust, Miniwax stain, Annie Sloan chalkboard paint, and a cold garage. It’s loud. It’s messy. And I’m in my element. Able to focus on wood grain. And peeling off the layers of a table. Trying to find the foundation and beauty in the original piece. And then turning it into my own vision… staining the top expresso, painting the rest white… a little bit rustic, a little bit classic, and a whole lot of affordable. It started out of financial necessity – we can’t afford the table I want. But I never expected it would turn into such a therapeutic exercise. One I can be proud of. One I can feel I had control over. And one that will be a foundation for many of the wonderful dinners and conversations my family has in the future.

So, whether it’s sanding a table, painting a picture, writing a blog post, or sitting down with a therapist – find something that’s your own. Make it your therapy. Don’t feel guilty. Just be.

It will be okay.



Performance Reviews

Working moms – do performance reviews make you nervous? Hopefully. They are an awesome opportunity to explore your own strengths and weaknesses and hear back from others on how they’d rate you, too. Truth: I love performance reviews. I wish I could have more. I would give anything in the world to learn more and better apply myself at work.

In fact, I would love a performance review as a wife. And as a mom. And as a sister. And as a friend. And homeowner. And neighbor. As a room-mom. And good citizen. As a supporter and advocate for causes I care about.

Until today. Today I was writing my thoughts on my performance review for work and almost bursted into tears. When you have a vision in your head of who you want to be professionally… and how capable you truthfully believe you are – but you are so incredibly tied down to a number of things you NEVER expected, it can be crushing. Crushing that you want to exceed your boss’s and coworkers expectations, but you know that if they said you did – it would be a lie after the year I’ve had. Crushing that I want so badly to work more hours than I do – because I want to further my organization and benefit it – because I get so much satisfaction from it.

And… most of all, crushing that I don’t think there is a change in sight, no way to fix it for the time being.

This year has presented so many hard things to accept – especially for a type A mom who at one point wanted to focus on her career. Then had such a deep desire to be a mom. Then struggled with guilt of wanting to be both perfectly.

I want to be so good at everything. And yet now, in my heart, I know the only thing I can devote all my energy to is my child – my child who is developmentally and cognitively delayed. Who needs weekly PT, OT and ST. Who needs to be seen for a 4 hour appointment at the Feeding Clinic because he won’t eat. Who has moderate hypotonia that I keep thinking is mild – until I really closely watch his actions.

So, across the board on my performance review – I have to settle for mediocrity this year. It’s one of the most difficult things to swallow. I’m average. I don’t deserve a raise compared to my colleagues that are putting in twice the hours and killing themselves at the office… they deserve it. I was that woman years ago. Maybe I will be that person again (with far more balance obviously).  I applaud them. They have been compassionate and understanding and supportive. And for that, they all deserve raises. I know that if the tables turned, I’d offer all the support in the world and actually understand the paint hey are going through both personally and professionally.

This year – even if I get 3’s in my professional review, I know if my little men were to review me, they’d give me 5’s across the board. In the comments, he could write that I give up every single night or normalcy to sleep by his side, make sure he’s breathing, feed him when he actually wants to eat, make sure he can roll over to get comfortable, which he can’t. Make sure that when he cries for me (even though he can’t say mama) – that I’m there. Make sure that when he does something as simple as move his foot on a riding toy – signaling that he gets it’s supposed to move – that I celebrate it with insane enthusiasm. Another friend of mine said that her neighbors must think they won the lottery all the time – but it’s them celebrating their son eating new foods, or using the potty. It’s true. And of course I need to make sure I’m the best mom to his brother, too. So, a 5 from my boys, a 3 from my work (I get my job done as best I can in 40 hours, with a few less on weeks of appointments), probably a 2 as a sister, a 1 as a friend, and maybe a .5 as a wife. Probably a .1 from a workout/taking care of myself perspective (easter candy, anyone)?

If nothing else, lots to improve on. For both my little man and me. As he progresses, and he will… I will, too. Always something to strive for.

It will be okay.