The phone! The phone is ringing! There’s a mommy in trouble...yes a mommy in twouble...this is sewious!
Okay...clearly, I need therapy so I’m going to imagine that the Most Popular Therapist is helping me on National TV. Yes, I tend to think that airing out my problems on national TV to a viewing audience of apparently lots and lots is the way to resolve my twoubles, er, troubles.
It’s my kids.
No, really, it’s me.
Set: Dr. Phil show
Dr. Phil: Today we are going to be talking about Mothers Gone ‘Round the Bend. First up is an old mother of two young girls.
I walk out. Climb awkwardly on high stool chair, hope like hades the tummy isn’t poking out and the hair hasn’t begun to frizz.
Dr. Phil: Hello.
Me: Hi, thanks for having me. No wait, I meant, thanks for inviting me to be on the show. Hee hee I’m not a pervert. And I’m sure you’re a gentleman.
Dr. Phil, eyeroll to audience: My wife is right there. (points)
I make a little embarrassed wave to Robin. The camera flicks her way, and she smiles and laughs graciously, glad for another second of fame. The audience applauds.
Dr. Phil: Okay, so you’re here today because you feel you have gone ‘round the bend. Is that true?
Me: Yes, I mean, yes it’s true. (lick lips nervously, oh no, there goes the lipstick, now I’ll look all pale and pruny)
Dr. Phil: Which bend have you gone ‘round? Can you share?
Me: Oh the crazy one, you know, the “I’m round the bend crazy” bend?
Dr. Phil: Are you asking me or telling me?
Me: Umm, telling you, I’m telling you.
Dr. Phil: Okay, since we have that straight. (mugs to audience…gets laughter) So what drove you ‘round the bend?
Me: Not a Lexus SUV. (laughs) (no response)
Dr. Phil: You have a problem with SUVs?
Me: ummm,no, that is to say, not...I mean...it's not why I'm here. My kids. That's why I'm here. Why I'm crazy.
Dr. Phil: Your kids?
Me: Umm, right, then, that’s not fair, it’s not their fault. It’s just…their whining.
Dr. Phil: (eyebrows up two degrees)
Me: The whining?
Dr. Phil: (eyebrows up two more degrees)
Me: My whining?
Dr. Phil: And what have you got to whine about? After the break...
I shift nervously in my seat and wait the hopefully only two minutes of commercial.
Dr. Phil leans forward: You’re sabotaging my show. You’re supposed to be crazy not tongue-tied. So…a little crazy...if you please…hello, welcome back, we’re talking to a mom driven crazy by…her kids, isn’t that what you say?
Me: Well, at least this time it didn’t involve baby powder, or light bulbs and plastic food.
Dr. Phil leans forward, gets glint in eye: Now you’re sounding a bit past the bend.
Me: I am trust me I am. It is the whining. But...I’m afraid I’ll sound whiny...
Dr. Phil: Go ahead. I’ll give you thirty seconds.
Me: Okay it’s that I want no whining and they want all whining and why does there need to be so much whining I mean why do they need to whine about all stuff good and bad equally and questions...can’t they just ask a simple question in a normal tone of voice not whining...it drives me crazy...how much time left?
Dr. Phil: Just keep going.
Me: Really? All right then. They whine about getting up and going to bed and going to school and getting dressed and eating breakfast, lunch and dinner and snack and everywhere we go, and even if I buy them a treat they whine because it’s only one not two and no balloons...Patience is crazy for balloons and I hate them plus they are choke hazards right? So I rarely ever buy balloons and then I lie, lie like a rug, because after she goes to sleep I do balloon euthanasia with a pair of very sharp scissors, and I feel good about it, I even feel good about it when she wakes up and is all sad, oh no my balloon died...see? Crazy.
Dr. Phil spreads hands and mugs to audience.
Me: They don’t stop. Not for a second. They are in constant competition for me and my attention and half the time I just want to say here’s two dollars, walk to the store and get a balloon but they are too little and don’t even know how to get there not to mention all the crazies out there...I mean different sort of crazy not my sort, I’m just round the bend, those people are...they’re...well, they're just wrong.
Dr. Phil: Who? The balloon people?
Me: This isn’t about balloons! There are no balloon people. That’s crazy, Dr. Phil.
Dr. Phil: I think your thirty seconds are long past up and we need a commercial.
Me, ignoring him: You know what I really wonder is where the line between benign neglect and years of future therapy because “my mother doesn’t like me and doesn’t want to play with me and I have low self-esteem” is...I mean, I’ll admit it, I’m not crazy about hi-ho cherry-o and imaginary dogs who bite the mean guy...sheesh I was unsure that Persistence even knew how to sort shapes...does she even know shapes?...not to mention my doctor thinks I am dreadful because the one photo of my kids in my wallet was a year old and was in fact the same one I showed *last* time I was there...
Me: Geesh I love my kids, I do, oh my goodness they are amazing...but what happened to me? I think I missed the last few years of my youth. Do you know I have to use body butter and moisture socks on my feet every night to keep them from cracking? And what’s with the stiffness and soreness every morning? And food and diets. You know, this is crazy. I woke up and was OLD. But my kids, they are still so young. They don’t get that mommy’s no spring chicken.
Dr. Phil, Excuse me, shape sorting, a photo of a chicken? Biting stiff dogs? What?
Me: and today? Today I find out crap I should have been teaching Patience about parallelograms. I had forgotten about those, who knew. See, this is why I pay to send them to school...for someone else to teach them. And the teacher never said, so how was I to know I was supposed to fill the A bag and the O bag and bring it back. So we missed O but at least I got an apple and acorn in the A bag. I guess that misses the point, that it's supposed to be something you do with the kids not for them quickly as you are walking into school. I have these Hallmark visions and intentions, but maybe that's just more signs of craziness. I don't know. It just never seems to work out the way it is suposed to, you know? And quatrefoil? Sheesh, what is that? A quatrefoil. I'm semi-intelligent, okay used to be, but seriously, quatrefoil, can you tell me what that is? I don’t know this stuff! I forgot it. I think it slid out of my head along with the placenta. But it takes a village, right?
Dr. Phil: I don’t think you can say crap on the air.
Me: Oh, sorry. No more crap. It’s just...boy sometimes they need so much and I just don’t know I’ve got enough in me.
Dr. Phil: Do you see what your role is in all of this?
Me: My role? Well yeah, it’s MOTHER. But do you know what that even means? Because I could really use some help defining that job...
Dr. Phil: You know what? You need help...I’m going to follow-up and make sure you get what you need...Tomorrow...teens in trouble. No mothers allowed.
While credits roll, Me: Really? Help? A full-time lovely nanny? A maid? A yard service? Oh you know…that’s what I need. I had that, maybe I could come back to this side of the bend…
Dr. Phil: Therapy. This isn’t Supernanny or Trading Spaces.
Well, like I said, at least it didn’t involve baby powder, light bulbs and plastic food, or any Barbies in any toilets.
By Julie Pippert
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