Ravenclaw Coffee

Insomnia + Parenting Videos

I got a new full-body tattoo yesterday.

No, I didn’t. But the line I first typed was so boring and something I type at least once a week that I deleted it and decided to try to write something a little more interesting.

But y’all? I’m super tired. I’ve not been sleeping well. Part of this relates to practical causes like Wesley’s Middle Of The Night Growing Pains and Barking Dog Who Can’t Deal With The Animals In The Woods Behind Our House. But mostly? I just can not turn my brain off. I’m exhausted but I got up at 3am and started working my way through some bookmarked videos and articles that I’ve seen shared out or recommended and haven’t had time to watch/read.

So! I wanted to share something with you.

This is a speech recommended by my therapist (Drink!) as it relates to parenting.

Some of this video validates my apathy – especially as it relates to school. I learned early on with E that I’m a TERRIBLE Mom Of A Student. And it’s because my Dad was a TERRIBLE Dad of a Student. He didn’t understand academic struggles and therefore insisted on Straight As and there was a lot of yelling and anger surrounding school work. I caught a few tinges of that coming out in me with E and decided to just LET GO. I kept up with stuff but I didn’t set aside homework time every night, I didn’t even make sure he did his homework. I really tried to stay as “out of it” as possible because I was unable to find a middle ground between APATHY and INSISTING ON PERFECTION and I decided in the long run (because I’m scarred from the “INSISTING ON PERFECTION” experiences as a child) it was better to err on the side of APATHY.

I don’t get involved in PTA, I don’t email teachers when grades are bad to ask how we can do better, I don’t change class schedules, my kids do ALL of that because I’m unable to just get a “little bit” involved. I have to be “not at all” involved. And I’ve seen it have great results with E. He wrangled all of the schedule changes in high school and even opted into AP classes I didn’t insist upon. The only thing we did was put him in a ACT tutoring class as he inherited my test anxiety, but other than that? Academics was not something we worried about.

(He’s about to graduate from college, by the way. So, so far so good.)

Nikki is an easy student. She is set up to thrive in today’s academic environment without even a care from me so I’m not worried about her in the slightest. I can not bother and she’ll thrive indefinitely. As a matter of fact, she really wants to get into this special magnet school and I kinda have to care a little because I have to make sure we do the application process right and it’s weird because I didn’t even know her Principal’s name NOR her guidance counselor’s name.

So – that video made me feel better about all of that.

And better about not fretting about Wesley’s reading log. I fret a little because his teacher is unhappy when it’s blank, but I’m not fretting too much because – again – I don’t do well with the middle ground. I either have to NOT CARE AT ALL, or I end up being the crazy Mom insisting on him reading War & Peace before bed on Tuesdays.

And now this video validates all of my approaches to academics. I can say it was a DELIBERATE choice to make BETTER ADULTS and not just me trying not to be a crappy Mom. It also makes me feel better about doing so much OUTSIDE of being a Mother. It makes me feel better about random days of outside play when the reading log is waiting.


On the other side of this video is me doing all of the things she tells me not to do.

I take it personally.
I try to help them avoid stress.
I don’t give them chores.
I put on their shoes for them.
I nag them.
I stifle play.
I try to fix things that are not broken.

It was a good video but it was also a little painful. Sometimes it takes other people pointing out our faults for us to see them, but then we have to deal with the shame of those faults and that’s the part that I struggle with. I struggle with the self-hatred when my faults are spotlighted. And sometimes this is hard because I get defensive and want to justify why I’m still putting my kid’s shoes on for him when he’s smart enough to program my cell phone.

But she also brought up the 12-step idea of HALT, when you get upset about something first ask yourself…

Are you:

And yes. Always. All of them.

So I’m exhausted and watching parenting videos that actually give me permission to let go and remind me the importance of self-care. I’m a terrible parent when I’m exhausted. But also? It’s okay to be not be a perfect parent. Sometimes the things we think are terrible “perfect” are actually damaging so maybe care a little less about the reading long and worry more about taking care of ourselves so our kids see that some days it’s not about them.

The problem lies in FORCING yourself to get sleep when your mind won’t shut off. I guess I make an appointment with my GP to get a prescription maybe to help me sleep? But I’m already 14 years behind on all of my other medical appointments so I need to probably make those first.

I’m falling asleep fine (although later and later every night, I’m enjoying hanging out with Donnie at night now after the kids go to bed) it’s just the STAYING asleep I’m struggling with. I went to bed at 10pm last night and woke up to look at the clock 5 times and finally gave up and got out of bed a little after 3am.

Of course we’ve had no rain here in years and the dryness has made everything dusty and I’ve also been having trouble with my eyes and my throat and my chest which also disrupts my sleep so it’s not just “KIM AND HER CRAZY BRAIN” it’s also “I MOVED TO THE MOJAVE DESSERT AND DIDN’T NOTICE” which is just a great thing to help with sleep.

Holy crap. This entry has been all over the place. Anyway. Watch the video. Send me sedatives. And rain.

ADDITION: I was going to tell you about TWO things and forgot and hit publish but here is the other thing I was going to share with you – and article about Anxiety & Aggression in kids and it’s great and timely since Wes’s pediatrician suggestion anxiety could be at the root of his aggression which BLEW MY DAMN MIND. I know how to spot anxiety when it manifests MY way, it never occurred to me that Wesley’s could be manifesting in an entirely different way but since I’ve shifted my approach a bit with him and considered the things around his aggression making him anxious? It’s been a lot easier to address the cause of some of his anger. It’s kinda mind-blowing.


An End To The Venting, And A Release Of Guilt

Back in 2008 I was fired up for Obama. I had foam fingers and t-shirts and several stickers on my car. Facebook wasn’t a hotbed of political discussion then, so I didn’t realize that people might hate him. I thought McCain voters just liked his politics better, I didn’t see a lot of Obama bashing except as it related to his policy. It wasn’t ugly, I guess. So I didn’t mind pledging my support via clothing and vehicle decoration and yard signs. It was actually my litmus test for the world. Maybe if someone saw my stickers and yard signs and were planning on voting the same way, we’d somehow become friends! (This was 2008, I didn’t get social until 2011, I was confused about how to make friends.)

But in 2012 Facebook started being a place for political views and I learned how much people hated President Obama. HATED. And I really started focusing on sharing out articles that were Pro-Obama instead of Anti-Romney because I didn’t want to hurt the feelings of my friends and family who were voting for Romney. I also started worrying more that my dedication to Obama would upset people, so while I still openly supported him…I skipped the stickers and yard signs.

The last few weeks I’ve been really thinking about this (hence yesterday’s venting post) and how it all translates to this election. Guys? People hate Clinton WAY MORE than they hated Obama. And they hated Obama a LOT. Hell, they still do. If I had a dollar for every FB status or comment I saw that said something about how terrible the last 8 years have been, I’d be a millionaire. And so even though I’m still openly Pro-Choice, Pro-TANF, Pro-Single-Payer-Healthcare, Pro-Transgender Rights, Pro-Environment…I wasn’t sharing out a lot of Pro Hillary stuff because so many people hate her and what if they don’t want to be friends with me anymore? I mean – I write on this blog CONSTANTLY about the importance of diversity in your life. I’ve written 100 times about how important it is to be friends with people with different political leanings so you maintain your humanity, if I blatantly pissed them off from day 01 with my supportive Hillary posts, then I’d be unable to do that.

So I ignored the subtle irony (that I was offering respect in one direction to people not sending it back) and just held to my periodic benign pro-Hillary post and never posted anything too terrible about Trump. I wanted to save all of those relationships with people BASHING her at ever turn and LOVING him.

And yesterday it started really hitting me.

Wait. What am I doing?

I’m keeping my support a little mild and unoffensive so that I don’t upset the people who are BASHING my candidate every single day an professing their support for a candidate I dislike more than I’ve ever disliked a candidate before? I’m staying quiet so those people don’t get their feelings hurt? When they’re just totally throwing my feelings under the bus because they feel these things SO STRONGLY? Why do I care more about them than they care about me?

Now – am I going to start posting Anti-Trump stuff? No. But I’m no longer muffling my support of Hillary to preserve the relationship with people who have no desire to consider my feelings. I was worried a pro-Hillary sticker might upset people and they would discount me as a potential friend, when my heart is open to everyone! I can learn from everyone! I don’t want people to rule me out!

Oh, poor poor Zoot.

It hit me last night: “Wait. What good are people like that truly going to add to my life?” I thought about all of the blessings my conservative friends and family have spread into my life and the ones that have done just that – showered me with support? They would never just openly trash a political candidate. They might post things supporting their candidate, but they’ll do it respectfully. They use the same rules I use.

I keep grouping all of my conservative contacts into one big group but in reality? They’re not. There are respectful ones, and mean ones. There are the ones who look at the Obama presidency as 8 years of “not their guy” but they can also see the good that he’s done. Just like I was strongly in support of President Bush’s Housing First approach to homelessness. Maybe they’re strongly in support of the expansive freedoms giving to the LGBTQ community under his leadership. They don’t think the last 8 years were 100% awful, but they do want a chance to take back the white house. They also understand that a lot of the Obama efforts people like me supported were thwarted by a Republican led House/Senate at points in the 8 years. I always get frustrated when people 100% hate everything Obama’s done because I’m disappointed he didn’t do more! So shouldn’t people who vote differently than me be happy?

Anyway – I guess my conservative friends and family are actually divided into two groups. Mean and Not-Mean. I still won’t trash Trump on Facebook where all of my conservative friends and family will see it, because I believe in being Kind. But I’m not going to hide my support of Hillary to protect the connections with people who don’t have the same attitude towards me. If you 100% bash a President who helped get my oldest child the freedoms he deserves without even considering my feelings, then why am I so worried that my Hillary sticker will upset you? If you openly post that my candidate is horrible and this country is going down the crapper under her and Obama and you never even think about people like me reading your words? Then why am I so stressed that my Pro-Hillary article share will make you dislike me? If you declare all Hillary supporters have been brainwashed by liberal media then why am I worried you’ll be angry to see me in a Hillary shirt? If you openly bash everyone who uses government support like food stamps and welfare without considering people like me who benefitted from those programs? Then why do I worry about your feelings when I express support for my political candidate without bashing yours?

And last night I decided I don’t care. I’m playing nice still, that’s who I am. But I’m not going to muffle my support for my candidate for the sake of the feelings of people who so openly trash her and people like me. My t-shirt and button and sticker were shipped yesterday, and I’m going to wear them with pride. I’m not going to post bashing Trump articles or proclaim an end to all friendships with his supporters, that’s not me. But I’m not going to tender-step around the feelings of people who 100% ignore mine. I can’t feel guilty for posting well-written articles showing support for Hillary when the people whose feelings I worry about have no problem sharing out repeatedly disproven conspiracy theories relating to Clinton and her husband.

I’m letting go of the guilt. I’m still playing nice, but I’m not going to be so concerned about the feelings of people who don’t care about mine that I stifle my positive support of my political candidate. If someone won’t allow me into their lives because of my Clinton sticker – even when I would have allowed them into mine even with their Trump sign – then we don’t need to be in each other’s lives to begin with.

And to all of my conservative friends and family who play the game like I do – trying to keep things positive while recognizing the system is complex and no one person is perfect nor to blame for all of the bad – thank you. Let’s rise above the ugliness.

Ravenclaw Coffee

I’m Good.

We had a great visit with Wes’s Pediatrician yesterday about his anger issues, we have a plan in place for some evaluations, and I’m just happy to be on a path again. I had forgotten how good it feels to just be doing something. I also got an 8-mile run in yesterday, ate pretty well, and got to meet with my accidental book club (It’s what I call the group of women who have welcomed me since Fate led me to their group 6 years ago at Barnes & Noble) to discuss Homegoing and it was a great talk as usual. Yesterday was all around a good day. Which means feeling like poop for getting about 4 hours sleep is not so terrible.

Ravenclaw CoffeeI’m also drinking coffee this morning out of my favorite mug, AND it’s just a tiny bit chilly outside so I’m excited about that and we have no soccer tonight so I can be home and maybe cook an actual meal for my actual family.

Who am I kidding? It will be cereal while we watch this week’s This Is Us in our pajamas.

I just wanted to check in and let you all know it’s a good day. Monday was rough but your messages/comments/emails reaching out and patting me on the back telling me it will be okay…really made me feel like it was actually going to be okay. So while I don’t have anything profound to discuss today (I am working on things in my noggin’) I wanted to check in and say, “I’m good. Thanks in large part to you.”

Hodgepodge and Miscellany.

Today’s entry comes in three completely unrelated parts! ISN’T THIS EXCITING?

The Follow Up

Thanks for the wonderful feedback on yesterday’s entry. There were a few contrary thoughts on my blog’s Facebook page and I really didn’t have time to dig into them (I no longer have Facebook on my phone) but I will clarify in case there’s anyone here (I care about y’all, I have no idea who follows my blog’s Facebook page.) who needs it.

  • I understand why people are mad. That’s why it took me so long to process my thoughts because my “I love the National Anthem!” self was upset. WHO DOESN’T LOVE THE NATIONAL ANTHEM? Who does’t swell with pride and cry? How do you not want to stand tall for the women and men who fight for us? I think what got me really trying to spend time thinking about it was the #veteransforkaepernick hashtag on Twitter. So many stories from Veterans (a lot of them minority men and women) about why they fight and freedoms etc.
  • I don’t think I could sit with him. My patriotism and my respect for the friends and relatives who have served for our country…it’s a gut feeling. It’s not something I think I could resist. I hear it? I stand. I stand PROUDLY. But then I sit and I read and write to support the changes I think we need to make me even MORE proud. I’m not idle. I’m not content. But my history is not the same as anyone else’s.
  • I know nothing about Colin Kaepernick. Maybe he comes from a long line of rich people who have never been poor. My stories were more general, not specific to him. I’m not going to get into why it doesn’t really matter if a person of color grew up rich or poor because they’re still being judged by their skin color, but I’m saying my “if you get out of the cycle of poverty” reference wasn’t specific to Kaepernick. I know nothing about the dude.

Making Excuses

I’ve gotten a lot of great emails and blog comments during the last few weeks. Ones that really help in some way. Either because they compliment me when I’m feeling shitty, or because they enlighten me in some manner. Either way – I keep telling myself, “When you have some time? You need to find those comments and those emails and reply to them all.”

Because I don’t want to be brief in my appreciation, but I rarely have more than 5 minutes to respond to emails so lately – I only have time to be brief. And those comments and emails just keep getting pushed further and further back and suddenly I’ve waited so long that now I feel guilty and undeserving of the nice words to begin with. So if you’re one of those people? Who knows if I’ll ever respond which sucks because that means you’ll never know how important your words are to me.

What I’m Watching

I just finished watching The Get Down and it was good. In some ways it was AMAZING, but in other ways…UGG. Some of the stories/language were a bit too much for me. But the central story arc, young love and drives to success – I really enjoyed that. I fast-forwarded through some of the other parts, I don’t like a lot of blood and sex and cursing. There also was ALWAYS the expectation that something could/would go TERRIBLY wrong. Even though the 6 episodes had a nice ending I’m still worried about all of the characters and I don’t need TV to make me more worried.

I also watched One Mississippi with Tig Notaro. My love for her is well documented but watching her based-on-real-life story in sitcom form was weird. I was listening to her podcast while some of this stuff was going on in her life so watching it years later after hearing her recount it in real time was strange. I think you might enjoy it more if you didn’t go into it knowing everything. But…is still enjoyed it. It made me cry. And DAYUM, her and her wife (who plays a sound engineer on the show) have some INTENSE chemistry. I can totally see how they connected in real life. I hope there’s more episodes just so I can see them together more.

In Conclusion

1) It’s complicated, I’m aware.
2) I’m sorry I suck
3) Insomnia is better with streaming television


The Magic Power of Sleep

I woke up at 3:30am with a pep in my step. I skipped book club last night but I made a LOT of progress on some looming projects and caught up on some house work and was asleep by 8:30. Meaning I got a whopping SEVEN HOURS of sleep which is – most definitely – more than I’ve had most nights recently and I fall APART if I don’t consistently get between 7 and 8 hours every night.

3:30am and I’m feeling good! Finally I feel rested and I have time to pack lunches (mostly, not the cooked stuff) before I head out for a 5am run and then it’s Therapy Thursday and then a fun shoot at work and some soccer tonight.

So of course, Wesley wakes up puking.

It’s weird though, if my kids ever REALLY need me to be a calm force and a strong Mom, immediately when I wake up is the prime time to need it. I’d like coffee to be brewing, but for the most part, I’m at my Maternal Best when I first get out of bed to greet the day.

I’m at my maternal WORST at 8pm when I’m really wanting to be in bed.

So I’ve been in Good Mom mode caring for him (he’s also way better at puking than his sister, it always ends up where it belongs) and I’ve got a load of laundry going and I just swept the floors. I hate I can’t go run (Donnie only had 3 hours sleep night-before last working on a presentation for work so he needs sleep more than I need a run) but I’m actually still feeling really good this morning even though I have a sick kid.

I am hoping I can at least get Donnie to go into work late so I can go to therapy. Not because it’s so imperative I go, but because they’ll still charge me even if I don’t since I didn’t cancel 24 hours in advance and I’m nothing if not frugal with my copays.

So I’ll take care of my sweet baby today and hope this stuff doesn’t hit me next. And I’ll bask in feeling RESTED even if I didn’t get to run.

It really is amazing how different I feel when I’ve had at least 7 hours sleep. I know many of you think I’m a wuss for complaining about 5-6 hour nights when that seems to be the norm for the rest of the world, but holy shitake mushrooms, Batman…5-6 hour nights do nothing but make me feel like I’m losing my every-loving mind.