Looking on the bright side here. While my life may be complicated right now (huge understatement) I do have skills, mad skills, to get things done, including:
Making lists (ha, see what I did there?); it’s true though. I’m a master list-maker, planner, type-A personality. The OCD helps; or it helps manage the OCD. Probably both. Regardless, it is a very helpful skill when trying to keep track and manage all the people and animals living under our roof.
Managing a household of five. I have a husband, a three-year-old son, and five-month-old boy/girl twins. I’m the COO of our tiny corporation and I get shit done. More often than not, the kids are clean, the laundry is done, the fridge is full, and dinner is on the table. Basically, I’m a rockstar (a rockstar with OCD). That’s not to say we never skip baths or order delivery, because we do. And we have help, lots and lots of help (both of the paid and unpaid variety). But those are the kind of executive decisions I am prepared to make on a moments notice for the good of the company (and my own sanity).
Being patient with my children. This was a big fear of mine before I had kids but turns out to have been groundless. My ability to tolerate even the most extreme doddling and whining surprises even me sometimes. I just love them so much I can’t be annoyed. Of course, we all have our limits and I have reached mine, more than once. And remember H-man just turned three so we are entering all new levels of inappropriate and frustrating tiny person behavior.
My job, which I love, and which has been so helpful in terms of toning down the post-partum anxiety. Somehow having more to worry about spreads the anxiety out thinner so I don’t feel it as intensely, or something like that. I don’t know; I’m not a my shrink (obviously). But it is sort of like how getting married two weeks after taking my first bar exam worked out perfectly because I couldn’t freak out too much about either event. Plus my best girl basically took charge of all the wedding stuff and did it way better than I ever could have.
Picking out gifts for other people. For reals, I have some sort of gift that allows me to intuit the perfect gift for most people on any occasion. “It’s like a gift from God or something.” (That’s a quote from Drop Dead Gorgeous there; if you haven’t seen it, go watch it now. I’ll wait.)
Sending thank you notes. With the twins, I’ve struggled some, but generally I’m very prompt with handwritten thank you cards for gifts and thoughtful behavior generally. It’s just polite.
Growing babies. My first pregnancy had a slight hiccup related to my kidneys but otherwise no complications and a healthy post 40-week baby. My true triumph though is the twins: carried to 38 weeks, no c-section, no NICU; bam! I am a baby growing machine (not anymore though; we are so so done).
Asking for what I need when I need it. This is a relatively new talent, developed out of sheer necessity since the twins were born. I no longer have the luxury of beating around the bush are hoping that my husband or friend might intuit my desire. If I need or want something these days, I straight up ask for it, without hedging or embarrassment:
I want you to take the babies to your parents by yourself this afternoon so I can stay home by myself because I need space.
Please pick up dinner on your way home from work tonight because everyone is screaming at me and I just can’t.
Can H come play at your house this week so that Matt and I can focus on the babies?
These are things I might’ve desired previously but would not have actually asked for. Now, I ask. And usually I get what I ask for, and it’s so much better.
Recognizing when I’m going under. I have battled depression off and on for almost 20 years. It never goes away, but there are times when it’s not so bad and times when it seems to swallow me whole. Over the years, I have gotten better at recognizing when I’m going under and throwing out a lifeline or two or 10 to the people around me that know me the best and love me the best and who I trust to see me through the dark time and into the light.
Crying in my office without anyone noticing. It’s just a matter of being quiet and having the right supplies for repairs afterwards. Really not so hard.
Telling my truth. This is also a new one for me but has quickly become essential to my survival. If I’m going to live through this (actual) shitstorm it’s going to be by being honest about how hard it is and how much help and encouragement I need from my friends and family. I can’t do this alone. Truth.