I knew when I saw she was publishing that the book would be a huge hit. I'm going to say NYT #1 right now. Rachel has obviously uncovered something critical for our times. She's this one mythical creature who actually transformed herself from being a mother who operated from a place of perfectionism, anger and overwhelm to one who put down her phone, learned to embrace the present and stopped yelling.
I don't yell too often, but boy howdy, when I do it's like the primal roar of a dinosaur and it is not pretty, man. It makes me get all self hatey and then, like a pangolin, I roll up into an emotional ball to protect myself and everyone else.
I've been working really hard on this parenting thing though and I'm starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. I really am.
Themes have emerged. (That reminds me of the ominous narrator's voice on a show I used to watch, "Mystery Diagnosis"- "Troubling new symptoms began to emerge...")
Here is what I am learning:
1. This sucks. Parenting occasionally sucks. Sometimes, during certain stretches, it sucks more than it rocks. More sucking, less rocking.
2. More rocking= less sucking. In the literal sense, rocking my children- holding them close and, forgive the expression, but 'leaning in' to these challenging times, is the recipe to recovery. Running away from my anger issues, my parenting induced emotional claustrophobia and just the general full court press of parenting will not help.
3. I really really really need not be perfect. I'm sure that if I write that over and over, it will take root in my heart. It will actually sound real, and I will believe it. I am not there yet, but there it is in print for the first time.
4. Love thyself, girl. I have found a community of moms who are able (and it took some looking, I must admit) to talk about the parts of parenting that are rageful and ugly. Scarymommy, Mama One To Three and Hands Free Mama are a few that I am into right now. Knowing that there exists a whole world of moms who can say that this business is a big ball of hideous sometimes was a huge relief. It makes me feel like losing control and having a fit sometimes is not my terrible true secret identity, but rather a thing that happens to most of us occasionally.
5. Why don't I dance more? This family broke into an incredible flash mob last night and it was wonderful. Especially the part where Julie got diarrhea and had to sit on the toilet, but we were all having so much fun that we left the bathroom door open and proceeded with Battle of the Door Dances. Though the children tried, I won. But I was wearing tight pants, so not really fair. (Then someone lost Lamby and that party came to a screeching halt.)
And I guess the whole lesson is right there in number 5. Play more- do more of what we love, and let that be who we are. Never let the fear and disappointment be who we are.
I'm sure you've all seen Dr. Deb Cohan dancing in the O.R. just before her double mastectomy, right? Everything I need to know I learned from Deb Cohan.