Response to “I feel like a horrible mother and I don’t know how to change”

You’re not a horrible mother; You’re an underequipped one. So let’s get you some equipment.

Thumbs up for everything Sarah Alperin says in her reply to you. I am a marriage and family therapist, and may also have some perspective.

Yes, yes, yes, you are almost certainly being impacted by thoughts of your mother's suicide. Absolutely, if you wonder whether it's complicating the situation: It is.

Grief will never be ignored. It demands attention until it’s integrated into your story. (Photo by Karim MANJRA on Unsplash)

If you were my client, I would be working with you on that topic, and bringing you and your husband together to strengthen your joint parenting. There are specific things your good husband can…


We met online in the early 90s. What it’s like 25 years after the wedding.

Who knew we’d start a trend? Online dating, marriage, and 25 anniversaries later, it’s still all good. (Image by Mylene2401 from Pixabay)

Before cellphones, before digital photos, before the web, before email even, we met online.

And today marks 25 years of marriage.

Unless someone else claims the crown, we’re pretty sure we’re the first online daters to hit that milestone.

It’s been hard; it’s been easy. It’s been sad; it’s been full of joy. We’ve been impoverished; we’ve been…well, not. And I adore him more each day.

On-line before the internet

Lo those many years ago, I was a single mom going to school in the Midwest, and my future husband was a single dad working with minicomputers on the East Coast.

I’m the original…


The problem with conversations about economic justice is that poverty is complex...and our tiny human brains want to reduce all complexity to a single maxim.

The evidence of maturity is the capacity to hold at one time two conflicting truths. To wit: Poverty is both conquerable and unconquerable; the poor can be both victims and self-destructive (precisely like the rich); the economic divide is systemic and individual; empathy is helpful and destructive, as are calls for fortitude and character; giveaways engender a leg-up for some, and grift for others. And as Jessica demonstrates, escape requires both grit and great luck.


Blackbelt Scripts

How to say ‘back off’ without getting punched

There you are, walking Fido and staying in your own lane, when you hear “Oh, what a cute dog!” … and cringe. Because the next step in this dance is that a complete stranger walks over and pets your pooch.

Bad enough in normal times, but in pandemia, it’s potentially lethal.

Step away from the dog. (Image by Simone Dalmeri on Unsplash)

Or an oblivious neighbor, a distant acquaintance, or a fellow shopper strikes up a conversation and stands much too close. The pizza delivery guy, waiting for a tip, licks his fingers before handing you a receipt.

What to do?

You can’t always hide behind your front door or cross…


PANDEMICS 201

Here’s what the great thinker had to say about smallpox, Europeans, and the ‘best-governed’ Chinese

Since we’re all Covid buddies now, could we maybe talk about pandemonium? And perhaps invite other friends into the conversation? Not just living friends. Let’s include some old, dead friends, too.

François-Marie Arouet de Voltaire, c. 1724, post smallpox. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Our old pal Voltaire, for example.

François-Marie Arouet de Voltaire more or less stopped participating in discussions in 1778, when he died at the ripe age of 84. But his writings may have something enlightening— ahem — to say about pandemics.

Voltaire made his fortune profiting from an economic bubble (The Mississippi Company) that precipitated the 1720 stock market crash and effectively bankrupted the French government. …


THE CLEANER THE BETTER

I Have Lungs Because Face Masks

Here’s a story: When I lived in Asia I rode a small motorcycle to work most days. Like most of my bike-riding compatriots, I wore a face mask.

And like everyone else, when I arrived at work, I’d peel that thing off my face to find a mask-shaped patch surrounded by smoke-colored grime that took five, ten minutes of bathroom attention to remove.

Pro tip: Don’t do this. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

And every day as I rewashed my face, I’d think: “Whew. Look what I didn’t inhale!”

Multiply that layer of grime and soot by hundreds or thousands, and imagine the quantity of soot my lungs didn’t have…


SURVIVAL OF THE CLEANEST

Your long nails are a health hazard. And harder to clean than your backside.

As a young woman, I envied people with long beautiful nails. I’m not naturally blessed with strong nails, and I’m allergic to most of the concoctions required to create them artificially.

Now that I’ve got some years on me, my nails are finally getting stronger and longer.

This is not a good thing.

The shorter, the cleaner. (Image par Kuradomova de Pixabay)

Not only because long nails are a productivity killer (I’m a 90wpm typist in short nails; I drop to 70wpm in slightly longer nails, and about 50wpm in nails that extend beyond my fingertips. I imagine if I had longer talons, it’d drop to 20wpm).

But because…


BIBLICAL-LEVEL DISEASE AND PESTILENCE

From my generation to yours: I’m sorry.

Empty streets. (Image credit: Pxfuel.)

Italy has stopped treating elderly COVID-19 victims. Hospitals there are now reserving medical treatment for young people. (Source)

Medical “ethicists” think that wouldn’t happen in other places. (Source)

Um…Yes it will. And it should. Because if you don’t prioritize saving young lives, you sentence the young to death. And that’s not the best, or most ethical, use of finite resources.

Which means that I — an “elderly” person — will probably die.


If words have meaning, “sexually provocative” provokes sex

Last week in Paris, I saw a half-nude man. Sexy, right?

He was flopped on a sheet of dirty, wet cardboard. His pants were around his knees, his genitals and buttocks exposed, and his shirt yanked up around his armpits.

Oh, you French women and your sexually provocative clothes. (Image credit: Wikimedia)

I guess he was dressed in a sexually provocative way. If you’re into public sex with a dirt-caked semi-conscious man on a urine-soaked Parisian sidewalk.

While walking, I also saw a half-nude woman.

Too touristy to be French, she was overflowing her weeping yoga knickers, crop top, and heels. …


BLACK-BELT LIVING

Ask a therapist — and mother of seven

QUESTION: My girlfriend is upset that I put my kids before her. I’m doing the right thing, right?

Military dad hugging his two kids with a semi-truck in the background.
Military dad hugging his two kids with a semi-truck in the background.
Did you leave her in the cab? (Image credit: coastguard.dodlive.mil)

First, congratulations on being a stand-up parent. There aren’t enough of you in the world, so round of applause. But are you entirely right to put your kids first? Let me ask you a few questions, because the answer’s not as simple as you might think.

  1. How long have you been dating?
  2. Is your relationship with her the reason you’re no longer partnered with your kids’ mother?
  3. Is she crazy?
  4. Is she kind?
  5. Does she want you to be a good parent?

LauraMaery Gold, LMFT

Therapist, author, and felicitously married mother of seven, writing on communicating clearly and partnering perfectly. Obsessed with medium.com/relating

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