Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Advice to my daughter: Be careful what you wish for

In July, when N tried out for field hockey, she hoped to make the varsity team.
She got her wish.
Like many wishes, she is realizing that the "dream" of the wish is different from the "reality" of the wish.
This is similar to the "dream" of career, marriage, and babies; what you envision rarely pans out to match reality.

N has not played in the last two games, and last night it brought her to tears, especially since her grandparents came to the game.
Now, N is not alone in not getting as much playing time as she wants; there are at least 5 other girls on the team who haven't been getting much time.

It is hard for me to walk this tightrope with her.

The part of me that abhors sports just for this reason is saying (inside my brain), "Told you so. This is why sports suck. It is win at all costs. Winning is more important than confidence-building or skill development or general enjoyment of the game."

When she complained about playing so many games in a row, I did actually say to her, "Well, N. This is varsity. You wanted to be on varsity, and now you are."

There is another part of me that knows she isn't playing up to how she did last year.
The untrained psychologist in me thinks this is due to 1.) her ankle injury and 2.) being back on a team with girls she played with in middle school who are really good and really aggressive.

Even if her ankle isn't actively hurting, she knows that spot is there, and she is being careful with it. But careful isn't an asset in a game; focusing on an ankle takes your mind off the ball.

And N seems to have reverted to that "let the other girls lead" thing that she had in middle school.
Last year, on JV, she was able to assert herself more.

I think N is letting her own head get in her way.

I have tried (gently) telling her that.
You can't tell a 15-year-old much.

As my children get older, I am, more and more, missing the days when the worst problem they had was that I gave them a green sippy cup instead of a blue one, and that was the sole focus of life's disappointments.
Even though N's problems then were as annoying as N's problems now, I could at least do something about them. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Anxious mom sending her anxious child to middle school

Here is what rational brain keeps saying:

You worried about how he'd do in preschool, and he did great.
You worried about how he'd do in elementary school, and he did great.
You are probably worrying about how he'll do in middle school, and he'll probably do great.

Irrational brain, however, is over here beating this drum:

He's going to be miserable. His OCD will go off-the-chain. He is going to start failing classes. It is going to be an even bigger vat of suck than what middle school already is. 

I think part of the reason I haven't been crazy gung-ho for school to start is because of G starting middle school and just not knowing what this is going to mean for him, for me, and for our family.
This year I have been happy to live in a little bubble of avoidance.

G's modus operandi has always been to do great at school, to hold it together there, and then lose his freaking mind at home. Become tantrumy and belligerent.
This is not unusual for kids with anxiety.

He had gotten to a point where this wasn't happening other than a rare episode.
I don't want to start this again, even though I know we have a physician in place now to help us.

So with this school year, I'm not over-the-top exuberant to have my house to myself again because even though I have been able to clean with the peace of knowing that it will stay clean until approximately 2:45, I'm an anxious pile of goo at the prospect of how G is, how he's feeling, and how he will react or decompress when he gets home. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Why do these situations happen to me?

I wrote about the band director not too long ago.

I failed to mention that this awkward situation came on the heels of two other incidents on the same day that had "worked me up."

I don't even remember now what the first one was, but the second one was when N and I were on our way to field hockey in traffic, stopped at a light. A man in a white truck next to me waved for me to pull forward. When I rolled down my window to see what he needed, he informed me that I needed to pull up closer to the car in front of me to allow more people into the lane.

I told N, "I think he just mansplained driving to me."

Sometimes I can come across as a complete bitch, and I hate to even say that word because what I'm actually coming across as is a woman who is assertive when things are stupid. A woman who doesn't just sit there and allow stuff to happen around her but speaks the truth/common sense when it needs to be spoken. 

Like telling the band director the cones weren't up so how could I possibly mindread and know his plans for band when they weren't practicing outside when I parked. 

Yesterday, something fury-inducing happened.

I went to D's work clinic to pick up a prescription, but the pharmacy had failed to deliver it to the clinic (as they were supposed to). The clinic nurse called them, and they said they had it.
So, I went to pick it up from the pharmacy.

Let's be very clear and specific here: The pharmacy screwed up so I drove from where I was supposed to pick it up to the second place.

When I got to the pharmacy and asked for it, they said they didn't have it and I'd have to get it the following day.

It was at this point that something resembling smoke came out my ears.

And so I got on my phone and called the clinic. I spoke to the clinic nurse (whom I had just seen seven minutes prior) and asked her who at the pharmacy she had spoken to that told her the prescription was ready.

This individual then went to the back of the store (where the original girl had gone and found nothing) and found G's prescription, which was there, but still wasn't ready to go out the door.

It had been called in at 9:30 am; it was now 3:30 pm.

I didn't call anyone names.
I didn't tell them they are stupid or inept.
I didn't cuss anyone out.
But I said in an assertive voice, "Wait, a minute. Brittany just told the clinic nurse that the prescription is ready, and you're telling me it isn't ready? I need to talk to somebody in charge who knows what is going on because I drove over here to pick up the prescription that you failed to deliver in the first place."

I spent a considerable part of last night fretting over whether I came across as a bitch.
Do I come across this way all the time?
Are my hormones and general mood instability coinciding to make me a raving banshee?

Of course, I'm biased, but I don't think I'm a lunatic.
I think most people think I'm pretty nice (although admittedly my filter is a little messed up).
Because I don't insult people in general.
I try to be fair-minded and considerate.

I simply won't just "take it" if it is poor service that I'm paying for or someone accusing me of doing something that I didn't do or blaming me for something I am incapable of doing (like mindreading).

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Some philosophies I live by

Now that my friend and I are doing the radio show/podcast, we've been meeting some interesting people. There has been an occasion or two when my friend has felt a little intimidated because the person we're speaking to is a "professional."

Like someone "important."

My almost ten years as a freelance writer means I have interviewed lots of people, some of whom have done some "big" things or have "big money." Because of this, I don't feel this same sense of "whoah" about speaking to certain people.

However, I think what matters most is one of my philosophies in life that I adopted a few short years ago, and it is this:

Everyone has had poop stains in their underpants. 

I don't care if you are the Queen of England or the President of the United States or Beyonce, you've experienced the unfortunate situation of streaks in your drawers.

I won't speak to the reasons for these streaks--whether they resulted from a lengthy laugh or were the result of a bout of stomach flu--but the point is that it is hard to feel that someone is better than you when you keep this philosophy in mind at all times.

And I do.

The other philosophy I keep at the front of mind is

I don't remember what anyone else wore yesterday; 
therefore, they don't remember what I wore; 
therefore, I can wear the same clothing multiple days in a row. 

Occasionally, I go to put on the same outfit I wore the day before, and I momentarily think to myself, "Will anyone notice?" 

And then I try as hard as I can to recall what the people I saw the day prior were wearing, and I cannot recall if they even wore clothes. 
Who knows??
So I don't sweat it.
I wear what I want. 
If some oddball person with OCD notices that I am repeating what I wore, then that person has far more issues on his/her plate than what I wore because he or she is probably three steps away from madness. 
(As a person with clinically diagnosed OCD, I can speak from experience here.)

The other philosophy that is really just starting to fully take hold as I move into my later 40s is the following:

I really don't give a shit what anyone thinks.
About me, specifically. 
(But often in general).

It is so terribly freeing to no longer care, to no longer fret endlessly about whether people like me or think I'm smart or think I'm pretty. 
Because I think I'm smart and as pretty as I'm gonna get considering genetics and aging and my absolute refusal to have surgery unless something is diseased. 

I try very hard not to be a jerk, but I am also done with other people acting jerk(ish) and me worrying whether they'll think I'm a bitch if I respond. 

(See band director post)

I think I'm going to make a really FANTASTIC 80-year-old woman someday!

Saturday, July 27, 2019

The big ask (N at the university)

The older I get, the more I realize that asking is the absolute best thing you can do for a number of reasons.

First, the worst someone can say to your ask is no, which means you are still at the same point where you started.
You haven't lost anything.

Secondly, most people don't ask at all.
Sometimes the only reason change hasn't been made is because someone hasn't asked for it to be made.
In a perfect world, changes would be made without asking, but this isn't a perfect world.

A case in point.

When I was still N's Girl Scout troop leader, I contacted the city university to ask if the girls could tour and talk to someone in the psychology department.

That psychology department happens to be a very "female-strong" place, so not only were they delighted to meet the troop, they went on the develop a program and badge for other Girl Scout troops.

Fast forward to this spring after N's college visit (which all freshman did at her high school).
She remains interested in psychology, so I asked her if she would want to volunteer in the university's psychology program if they would allow it.
She said yes, so I emailed the contacts I had made at the university.
The worst they could say was "no," in which case N would be able to vegetate at home in front of her phone all summer long.
But they said yes.

And so, N has been going to the university one day a week to learn about the psychology department, what they do, research, etc.
She is networking with both undergrad and graduate students.
She is making an impression on a university professor (who could, perhaps, help mentor her if she chooses a psychology path).
She is learning about psychological research and helping the lab.
She is gaining confidence.

And all I did was ask.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Band director letter (option #2)

Cooling down.

Hello Mr. W, Ms. K, and Mr. A,

I am writing to ask that the cones that designate the band's practice area in E's parking lot be located and placed in the parking lot before any other activities/sports take place in the afternoons/evenings. Although my child is not in band, I learned this evening that these cones are missing.

When I arrived at E at 6:30 pm for a field hockey booster meeting and field clean-up, there were no cones marking off where band normally practices. Because there were no cones and because my child is not in band, and I, therefore, do not know the band's practice schedule, I parked in the big lot.

At the end of the field hockey meeting, the band was in the parking lot, where a minivan and some trucks were blocking the exits, making it impossible for me to leave the parking lot.

To make a long story short, I had a difficult time getting Mr. A's attention (whether he was willfully ignoring me or not in order to "make me pay for my error" is a matter of perception). When he asked that I not park there, I told him I would not, but that there had not been cones up when I arrived so I had no way of knowing the band's intentions of using the space. It was a rather awkward situation, to say the least, and not one I would wish on another E parent. Thank goodness this wasn't my first impression of the school and its teachers.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter.

I'm sleeping on this (will I send or not?)

Tonight, I had a bit of a situation.
I am debating whether or not to send an email to the activities director, principal, and teacher involved.
It is pretty bad when kids in band are texting my kid saying, "The teacher is a dick. He's going to be a dick to your mom."
I am sleeping on it.

Hello Mr. W, Ms. K, and Mr. A,

I am writing to ask that the cones that designate the band's practice area in Es parking lot be found as soon as possible. Although my child is not in band, I learned this evening that these cones are missing. 

When I arrived at E at 6:30 pm for a field hockey booster meeting and field clean-up, there were no cones marking off where band normally practices. Because there were no cones up and because my child is not in band and I, therefore, do not know the band's practice schedule, I parked where I have been parking for the past several weeks when I've brought my daughter up to field hockey conditioning and practices. 

At the end of the field hockey meeting, the band was in the parking lot, where a mini-van and some trucks were blocking the exits, making it impossible for me to leave the parking lot. 

Mr. A was busily directing his students to move around, so I understand why he did not notice me at first when I stood below the crane. After a few minutes of him directing, I then had to wave my arms and yell in order to get his attention (although band students did not have their instruments so noise wasn't an issue; perhaps, him being 60 feet in the air may have made it difficult for him to notice me). 

I asked if he could have someone move the van so I would no longer disturb his band practice, and he asked that I no longer park there, at which point I told him there were no cones up, at which point he informed me that he cannot locate them.

I have had many pleasant experiences with E teachers, so I don't wish to assume a teacher would willfully ignore an E parent because she had accidentally parked in a lot that wasn't marked off with cones to designate it as being needed for band or make her feel like an idiot by having to wave her arms and yell in order to get the teacher's attention.  I'm afraid this might backfire and simply make the teacher seem like a jerk. I would hate to think what a brand new parent to E whose child is a freshman might have made of the situation. 

Fortunately, I suspect Mr. A was simply very focused on his band students, specifically where his trumpet players were standing, so I will chalk this up to an awkward one-time situation. 

For Mr. A's sake, mine, and any other parent who parks at E and doesn't know the band's schedule, please make sure the cones are found and put in place as early as possible.

Thank you,