17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Mom on Meds

Being a mom is challenging I know,
but it's getting harder and harder for me as I am not only navigating the ins and outs of two kids in the big city, but also battling within the ups and downs of my meds. I haven't quite figured out the triggers for when I feel complete exhaustion and utter misery for no apparent reason, so I just try positive self-talk: "This is just a moment, this won't last forever, don't weep and fall to the playground concrete floor right now."

Today was a bad med day. I woke up my hopeful and optimistic self, but I slowly fell into that place that I call my medicine mind. I came out of it briefly when I spoke to my mom on the phone and when I got some unexpected mail, but in general I was just dazed and tired and sad all day long. My daughter needed a nap today but never got it, so the mixture was not the best of times.

On the train at around 3:15 pm, Poopy kept straddling the tops of a bench seat...rude subway etiquette and dangerous. I counted down from 5 about 3 times, and by 1, she was seated in the correct position. By the fourth countdown she made no move to correct her behavior, so I physically removed her and she went from 0 to 6000 in less than 1 second. I had to physically restrain her on my lap by holding her down. This is getting harder and harder to do because she is getting bigger, I have not been exercising much since my head injury and my medicine also has weakness as a side effect. I struggled for several minutes and felt all the eyes turn to us and our noise (both literal and figurative).

I stayed calm but assertive (thank you Dog Whisperer), and tried to coax her out of her craziness with her Planet Earth sticker book. That did not work, so I handed that off to Pukey. As I struggled to hold her down I also worried about my purse being snatched as I did not have a good hold on that. I didn't mind her flailing and weeping and wailing, but I figured the many train-riders did, so I tried to figure out how to stop this display. Finally I remembered the first time this happened and how I got it to stop.

I reached into my bag and pulled out my Sigg bottle. I poured some water into my hand and then rubbed it over her face and hair. I did this twice until she was good and damp. She then took a breath, turned around toward me and cuddled into my shoulder quietly as I rubbed her neck. I took a sigh then and looked up to see a man who was standing nearby watching the entire 7-minute episode, and he said: "Well Done."

And he will never know how much that meant to me. He will never know what a challenging day I had had. How hard it was to put on my clothes, pack snacks, walk to the park, push the swing, negotiate the crazy man at the post office who demanded to know whose baby girl that was only to tell me that she just picked one of her raisins off the floor and put it in her mouth in a tone that suggested that she had just licked the open-wound of one afflicted with the HIV virus, to which I replied: "I am totally ok with that." That man on the train who I simply smiled at in response to his: "Well Done." will never know how much I hate the way I feel sometimes on this medicine and how much I want to stop taking it, but then how I am overpowered with fear for the possible disastrous consequences of that choice. He will never know how hard I am trying to keep it together and stay sane and provide my children with a normal life even though I don't feel normal at all anymore. And he will never know just how much I needed to hear those words today. So thank you, Man on the N train for being my cheerleader today.


  • Practice random acts of kindness, right?

    Hate that you had such a tough day, but way to go you for not just laying down and giving up right there in the subway car.

    Keep fighting, you're doing an amazing job.
    posted by Blogger marian at 5/21/2008 05:01:00 PM  

  • Some days it seems like managing "normal competence" is a super-human effort in itself. I'm sorry you're having such a rough time. Good work today, "Mama."
    posted by Anonymous Proud Daughter of Eve at 5/21/2008 05:09:00 PM  

  • i have always been impressed by the control you practice with your children. i could learn a thing or two from you. you are a great mom. keep moving forward!
    posted by Blogger kristie at 5/21/2008 06:48:00 PM  

  • Chin up, Kage. It may not get any easier, but it will get more managable.

    Oh, and btw, you are all over facebook right now with the Nuvaring.
    posted by Blogger jlk at 5/21/2008 07:47:00 PM  

  • My neighbor had what they think might have been a seizure several weeks ago and he was on some meds that sounded awful - he was moody, lethargic, couldn't sleep, etc. It sounds similar to your experience. I'm so, so sorry for your struggles. Although I know you only from this blog I've been amazed by all you seem to accomplish. It must be especially frustrating for someone as driven and talented as you to be slowed down.

    That man does sound like an angel. Never pass up an opportunity to say something nice to a Mom. Chances are always good she really needs it. Probably true for most anyone, actually.
    posted by Blogger Gina at 5/21/2008 07:47:00 PM  

  • That was truely beautiful. We really never know when we will be used to make a difference do we. I hope that "Well done" bouys you up for days to come. :)
    posted by Blogger Amber- aka kanga5 at 5/21/2008 09:27:00 PM  

  • Fight Fight Fight - you WILL win...

    You are doing a great job. Thank goodness for angels in our midst who help us when we really really need it...
    posted by Blogger Chloe at 5/21/2008 09:35:00 PM  

  • Wow Kage.... I can't even imagine how hard it is somedays. Isn't it amazing when someone (a stranger) actually acknowledges how hard we work as moms. It seems like I get more annoyed stares sometimes, than "well dones". You are in my thoughts and prayers. You are so strong!
    posted by Blogger beth at 5/21/2008 10:44:00 PM  

  • God bless the man on the N train. It's so nice to receive a little validation at just the right moment.

    And Gina, you are exactly right about how hard this must be for Kage who is such a driven and talented person. I told Kage recently that now, because of the meds, she might only be able to accomplish that of an above-average person instead of her prior pace of a super-duper above average person.

    You're doing great Kage and you can borrow my most recent mantra if you want - I will not let the bad days lead me to believe the rest of my life will be terrible. Nor will I allow to good days to lead me to believe I have everything under control.

    On a side note on strangers commenting about parenting skills, today I had a NYC moment when random old guy told me it was too bright to have my baby outside and I was just pushing the little guy in the cart from the grocery store to the car and he was sleeping!
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 5/21/2008 10:55:00 PM  

  • Good job, Kage! I am so glad that man said something instead of silently admiring you. My mom was always a good "cheerleader" and I try to emulate that (with varying results). A simple word of encouragement can mean so much, so it's a shame we don't spread them around more liberally.

    I am going to use your post as a reminder to do just that.
    posted by Blogger Kathi D at 5/22/2008 01:06:00 AM  

  • Hang in there, Kage. We're all your cheerleaders.

    And next time people stare, remember what the former "mother" of our Astoria Branch (Cecilie) used to do: turn to whoever was staring and say, "she's teething," no matter what age her tantrum-throwing child was at the moment. Anyone who stares won't know the difference. It always seems to justify the behavior in the outsider's eyes.

    Good luck!
    posted by Blogger sunny at 5/22/2008 04:23:00 AM  

  • Wow! I love people who say kind things without knowing how much they mean to us...

    I'm just impressed with your parenting skills, Kage. I know you are having a rough time of it, but I was so thrilled with your patience and quick-thinking. Seriously, you're a fabulous mother! I'm sorry you have to deal with the ups and downs of meds and figuring it all out, but you're doing awesome...
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 5/22/2008 07:45:00 AM  

  • In my opinion, those words came straight from your Heavenly Father through a willing mouthpiece. God knows you and knows your struggles and wanted to let you know that he is pleased with how you are handling things.

    We should all strive to be in tune so that we can be willing mouthpieces for God.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 5/22/2008 11:12:00 AM  

  • Thank you all so much for your comments. Your thoughts and encouragement really strengthened me today. I had a much better day today, and it's a good thing because I had sick husband home added to the list and I am feeling particularly flabby today. Those mom love handles are extra grabby after not working out in a while and I am trying to ignore them by eating a black and white cookie (my new fave junk food must-have) and sipping a coke. That will surely help them diminish am I right?

    But seriously, the online community thing is working for me, and I just hope I don't turn into the Tales sob story...but thanks for listening/reading.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 5/22/2008 04:08:00 PM  

  • So glad you received well deserved praise, sometimes from strangers it means more.
    I'm there with you as a Mom on meds. In the last few months I've developed weird arthritis, saps my strength and gives pain in return, making it impossible to be the mom I've been, nevermind improving. Now we're going to throw steroids and pain killers into the mix. o boy.
    posted by Blogger jendoop at 5/23/2008 12:03:00 PM  

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