STFU, stupid ego

There is Logical Me, and there is Emotional Me. Logical Me is, well, LOGICAL. It knows things. It understands reason. It is measured and wise and only if-thens things which truly have causal relationships and is very rarely given to panic and knows exactly what to do in the unlikely event of a water landing without so much as raising its voice. I love Logical Me, but Logical Me is kind of a robot.

Emotional Me is Chicken Little on steroids. The sky isn’t just falling, it’s SHOOTING TOWARDS US and there’s NO WAY TO STOP IT and therefore requires that Emotional Me runs around, arms flailing, screaming at the top of its lungs: WE ARE ALL DOOOOOOOMED! Emotional Me is given to crying hot ugly tears of fear and frustration. Emotional Me also does a mighty fine jig in times of happiness and gives really good hugs, but mostly Emotional Me is a hot mess of angst and I consider it Logical Me’s job to keep Emotional Me in a half-nelson as much as possible.

The good news is that I know this about myself. The bad news is that Emotional Me is a slippery bastard.

When it comes to Matters Of The Children, I am mostly good at letting Logical Me deal with the rule-setting and the expectations and the consequences, and sure, occasionally, things go sideways and Emotional Me is goaded into an argument about this or that, but for the most part, Emotional Me waits until the kids are in bed to inform Otto that we are all DOOMED and the children will never lead independent lives and it’s ALL MY FAULT. (Once again: Otto is a lucky, lucky man, no? Really no.)

Logical Me was really, really hoping that Monkey’s surgery would clear up his recent issues—because, really, who among us is at their best when they’re sick and feeling crappy?—but Logical Me knew that it might not be the answer. Logical Me expected it to help, but knew better than to expect it to cure. And now we see that it’s helped but not cured, yes. Logical Me is not surprised.

Emotional Me is sure we’re all DOOOOOOOMED and my precious baby boy is BROKEN and life is horrible and blah blah blah. No surprises there, of course.

Last night I had a weird little epiphany, though.

Last night we went to our local Board of Education meeting, because one of the things they were doing was recognizing Chickadee’s Academic Team for their performance in the state academic bowl. They made it to the top eight in the state this year (woo!) and this, apparently, merits being announced, applauded, getting a certificate, and getting to shake the hands of all the Board members. Whether or not I believe this to be a good use of the Board’s time (hint: I don’t) is another story, but I get that it’s supposed to be a nice thing for the kids, so there we were, Chickadee slouching down next to a friend and trying to pretend she didn’t know us, and Monkey sat next to her reading a book and completely ignoring what was happening, and I happened to see the principal from Monkey’s school.

Now, you may recall that due to a redistricting a couple of years ago, Monkey ended up switching elementary schools. Which means that Chickadee never went to the school he attends, and further means Monkey’s principal has never met Chickadee.

But there we were at the same meeting, and we caught each others’ gaze and waved and later there may have been another intentional smile and unspoken “way to go” sort of acknowledgement as my gazelle-legged daughter unfolded herself from the chair and walked up to shyly accept her certificate and congratulations.

Logical Me and Emotional Me united in a glorious flood of HEY THAT’S MY AWESOME KID as we clapped, and a minute later—after the second look from Monkey’s principal—an unbidden thought popped into my head from somewhere else entirely.

This means maybe it’s clear to the principal now that we’re not terrible parents.

It’s unfair to think that, perhaps. Monkey’s school has, in many ways, worked overtime to help us and get him what he needs, but we are always swimming upstream against the unspoken current of “Your kid is simply a behavior problem.” The reality of outsiders and Asperger’s is that it’s really very hard to wrap your head around someone being so INCREDIBLY SMART and yet acting like a spoiled brat when they should “know better.” I’ve always felt like the principal there secretly believes we’re just overindulgent parents who can’t handle our kid, and whether that’s an accurate assessment or not I obviously can’t say; Logical Me knows I may be letting Emotional Me make an incorrect inference, but Logical Me also knows it’s a real possibility.

That little voice of triumph and vindication, though, that wasn’t Logical Me OR Emotional Me.

That was pure ego.

And here’s the thing: Chickadee’s achievements are hers, not mine. And Monkey’s challenges are his, not mine. Do I celebrate the successes, and agonize over the setbacks? Of course. That’s my job as their mom. I’m not saying I shouldn’t care.

But my ego needs to stay out of it. ALL of it.

Logical Me and I had a good talk last night, about how I can be immensely proud of my daughter and still let it be all about her, and likewise I can be immensely proud of my son EVEN THOUGH he’s got a lot of struggles still going on, too. And none of it is a reflection on my worthiness as a person or a parent; it’s just about loving and appreciating them for the marvelous creatures they are. And SCREW anyone who doesn’t agree, because that’s not my problem.

Sure, now Emotional Me and my ego are huddled in the corner together talking about what a bitch Logical Me is, but whatever.


  1. Katherine

    I needed to read this today. I’m having a hard time with separating my ego from my older son’s current difficulties. He oh so bright, but recently has almost no common sense and it keeps getting him in trouble at school. It wouldn’t surprise me so much if he were still in elementary school, but no he’s a freshman in high school and getting in more trouble now than ever before.

  2. diane

    I had a mom who believed everything I did and said was a direct reflection on her.

    We don’t talk anymore.

    Proud and supportive and loving ROCKS – as long as it really is about celebrating the kid, as you said.

  3. MomQueenBee

    Now that my kids are grown, and (so far) not in jail, I realize that about all even the best parents can do is get their kids immunized and hold their hands when they cross the street. For better or worse, the rest is in the hands of God. You’re doing a great job, Mir.

  4. Mamadragon

    I needed to read this today. I keep wanting to shriek at my school’s principal, “Do you SEE my other kids? Do you SEE how they are empathetic, caring, responsible people? Do you see how I’m not in here demanding special treatment for THEM? NOW do you believe me that my middle child is DIFFERENT from the norm?” Actually there are some people in my family I want to shriek these things at, too.

    I need to think on this some more. I wish I had some words of wisdom and comfort for you, but all I can say is, “Yeah, been there. Still there. It sucks, don’t it?”

  5. Dawn K.

    Ooh! Your emotional side has what I’ve termed ‘End of the World’ disease. It’s a common occurrence at our house.

  6. Susan

    Wow, my Emotional Me needed to read this today.

  7. Stimey

    Bravo, Logical You! As I read the part about the principal and the unspoken idea that your child is a behavior problem, I nodded and nodded because I so get that. It is hard for ME as my children’s parent to remember that their behaviors stem from their brain chemistry or whatever—not from being obnoxious. And if *I* have such a hard time remembering that, I imagine that it has to be really hard for the people at my kids’ school to remember that all the time.

    You are a great mom. I think it is clear from anyone who has read your words that you are a really wonderful mom and you are doing everything for your children, who, yes, are fantastic in their own right. So give your ego a little smile, hug your Emotional You, and tell your Logical You to remember that you are a fantastic family who is doing their best. And their best is pretty damn good.

    Congratulations to you daughter, by the way!

  8. Karen

    Congratulations to your daughter!!! That’s WOW material.

    If you lived in this area I’de introduce you to Graham, a student my daughter met at her college who moved on to an even more challenging college. He has Aspergers and he had similar issues as Monkey. He is now in his early twenties and will graduate next year – just living a fantastic life. AND.. he had a horrible tragedy in his personal family life years back on top of learning to live with Aspergers.

    I think what Stimey said up there is right on target too.

  9. Walkingborder (Karen)

    The middle ground is wise mind. It’s a combo between emotion and logic. But it’s hard to achieve and maintain.

  10. Kerri

    Ditto to what MomQueenBee said above.

    It’s hard not to either take credit for, or feel guilty about, whatever your kids do or become.
    You’re a great mom, Mir. Don’t let anyone (even your own self) tell you otherwise.

  11. Kathykate

    Logic means nothing when hormones and emotions team up. Wouldacouldashoulda goes right out the door. You still got logic driving the momcar, good for you! Me, notsomuch!

  12. Deirdre

    My Logical Me and Emotional Me are constantly battling, too. But I’ve learned to let Ego enjoy it a little bit instead of squashing it down all the time. When we are really struggling with something about our kids, and there is a small success–or a giant one–we tell the kiddo how proud we are, they worked really hard, they earned this grade/recognition/sticker/honor . . . and part of me is gleefully shouting to myself, “I’m doing SOMETHING right!” And honestly, that gleeful shouting is part of what helps me face the next drama without Emotional Me collapsing and hiding under the desk.

    Way to go Chickadee!

  13. Mare Martell

    You heard me. It seems to be a LOT easier when I realized that the stuff my “son” is going through doesn’t have anything to do with me. It’s merely a matter of me helping deal with the catastrophes his alter’s cause.

    Right now, we’re up to counting 11 different people that live in his head. It’s frightening to see these “people” come out and spend time with whomever we happen to be with at the time. It’s unnerving when he screams like a woman or suddenly starts rocking back and forth with a young child’s voice coming from his teenage body.

    I didn’t cause that, even if we were genetically linked. The plus side is that the professionals we’ve been diligently seeking agree that our assumed (yes, I know what assumed means) diagnosis isn’t off. Two places have turned us away because his psychological state is too much for their hospitals to handle. The struggle to get him the care he needs is astronomical sometimes, but luckily, my LOGICAL me, deals well with that sort of thing.

    Keep up the “fight” Lady. Your kids are striking individuals with all their talents, faults, victories, and flaws. Just like mine.

  14. Tenessa

    I can totally relate, but I tend to be completely amazed that my other two kids are so neuro-typical. Well, they are still odd. I mean they ARE genetically related to my husband and me and we are, well, odd, but they are so REGULAR when taken in the context of their older brother. It dumbfounds me regularly.

    I, on the other hand, stopped caring about what other people thought a long time ago. My oldest would throw himself bodily from the shopping cart, if I didn’t hold him in, screeching at the top of his lungs. If I touched him during these fits, once he spoke English, he would yell, “DON’T HIT ME!” Nice. I just stopped glancing at the people around me because my son follows the rules. My son is very respectful in that, “this is what I’m supposed to say even though I may not understand why” kind of way. Sometimes. SOMETIMES. The monster that lives inside, gets out and shoves my lovely little boy aside and takes over for awhile. He is learning better control over that, but I don’t believe that either one of us are responsible for those meltdowns. They happen. And if random strangers take issue? DIAF. (not literally, of course)

  15. MommyV

    Logical Me and Emotional Me want to say that we both love this post and your writing. We are glad to have recently found you. Thanks!

  16. Amelia

    What a delightful mom you are. Some of us have to go to 12-step programs to have epiphanies like this one, you know that? No kidding. So well done, you. :)

  17. elz

    Of course you should be proud of Chickadee’s accomplishments. That she’s such a nerdling and successful in school during all the tumult with her brother is a testament to her resilenece and your parenting. Thankfully my girls go to the same school, so when one has been a gigantic PIA, the administration knows that we have another one who hasn’t been a problem…that day.

  18. gabi

    I think its a fair response to want someone to see evidence of something that will ultimately result in a more accurate picture of your child’s condition. It is not necessarily all your ego. The more people understand you as a parent (i.e. you are parenting your children independently according to their own individual needs) the more they will be willing (hopefully) to see each child’s situation as specific to that child and not a product of something you have done. IN other words, I think it is totally fair to hope and pray that your daughter’s accomplishments are enough to help others take your son’s condition seriously and treat him with the compassion and understanding he deserves.

    That being said, this is my opinion as a complete outsider (and stranger, for that matter), but sometimes those perspectives can help. I hope it does.

  19. Kat

    Chickadees achievements ARE a reflection of you–AS ARE Monkey’s! BOTH of your kids are obviously the result of a loving, top-notch, supportive, home. And yep, they’ve both got challenges, lots of challenges, as well. But their challenges are also reflective of home. Monkey’s are so less severe than they would be if he didn’t have a good safe place to call home and Chickadee’s are probably a different shape than they’d be in a less-wonderful place to live.
    You deserve to be proud, and your ego should be boosted.

  20. navhelowife

    Good on you for realizing that we are not our children. It’s a hard lesson. If anything taught me that recently it was the realization that I was sooooo excited that no one was FAILING! Or even had a D! This report card. Their childhood is not mine, that is for sure.

    Good on C for her accomplishments. And Good for Monkey for being a good sport about going to a SB meeting.

    Don’t be shocked at some of the behaviors continuing. He probably is still healing, and that makes you feel like crap too. And also, perhaps some responses might have developed into “habits” that might take time to erase.

  21. Karen R.

    Great job Chickadee — and to all of you! Congratulations!

    And Tenessa, that lovely (not) behavior doesn’t always end. Last fall I had the wonderful experience of hauling my very upset adult HFA daughter through a store while she screamed that I had to protect her from her father before he beat her up.

    Now this man has always been an adoring father who has never laid a finger on our children. But she started screaming at him when he had problems getting into the mall, and he finally yelled back right before dropping us off. And if someone yells at you, naturally the next step is to beat you up…

  22. ramblin red

    once again, you are completely in my head and understand me, all voices included…loved this!

  23. Scottsdale Girl

    “Whatever” indeed. I love me some epiphany. *hugs*

  24. Randi

    OMG you’ve totally nailed how I am as well – Emotional Me and Logical me. Notice I listed emotional me first. She tends to take over. The bitch needs to go find some cookies and shut up.

  25. carmie

    Don’t be so hard on yourself. Who set up the tomato frame for the Chickadee tomato to grow, grow, grow? She never would have been able to do everything she’s doing now if you hadn’t supported her and given her every opportunity. I’m talking as someone who works with kids in the public school system and sees really smart, bright, funny kids whose talents are just ignored by their families.

    You SHOULD be proud of yourself, and take some credit for her success.

  26. MomCat

    I agree. Be proud of them both.

    Congratulations, Chickie!

  27. Momma Chaos

    I’m having an Emotional Me day where the world is doom and I’m not even sure we will survive the week with Fishing Pole in this mode, let alone see him grown. I need to go find my Logical Me again. Some days, reading your blog- Monkey reminds me so much of Fishing Pole (although monkey is older).


  28. Varda (SquashedMom)

    How much do I love that last sentence? Yeah, this stuff is all such a sticky wicket. This post couldn’t have been better timed for me. Right there with you, sister.

    Today I had to deal with my dear friend whose daughter sits next to my son in their 3rd grade class. And right now they are not getting along, and he is being truly mean to her. And I know it’s because he perceives her as constantly entering into his space, and I know it’s a deadly combination of his sensory issues and his ADD/poor impulse control fueling this. But I have to fight so hard to not view him as “bad” and to not be really mad at him because he is being evil to my dear friend’s kid. And then I get afraid that she will think I’m a bad mother. sigh.

    Ego, go back into the corner and shut up, my kid needs me to understand this from his side, so I can help him to figure out what’s really going on and to come up with better coping strategies.

  29. Vern

    In my world when Emotional Me and Logical Me start duking it out, it’s usually the Ghirardelli/Nestle Tollhouse/Hershey’s Me that triumphs in the end.

  30. Chuck

    I call my Logical Me my military, drill-instructor me. I tend to think, OK, what advice would a gruff NCO give me about this problem. I was only in for four years but it’s actually pretty effective when I’m trying to figure out how to act, sometimes.

  31. mamaspeak

    It’s so enlightening for me to learn that so many people “think” of things in the same way/order I do. My mom was wrong, I’m not all that unique after all. (I’m good w/that BTW.) I often say, “My logical side knows that if A happens, then B will happen. My emotional side hasn’t gotten there yet.” I know HOW I should approach things, but my heart just isn’t there yet. I suppose my heart may never get there, I just need to let my brain take charge in those cases.

    I was also raised by a mom who can’t really separate herself from myself or my brother. Until my 30’s, (and lots of therapy,) I didn’t want kids, bc the role model I’d had showed me that I had to give up myself for my kids. I get that my mom gave me the tools to lead a productive life. I also understand that at some point, as an adult, I took the tools and made my own choices about using them or not. Those choices are not a reflection on my parents. My mom, still doesn’t get it. (She gets upset when my house isn’t cleaned to her standards bc, “it’s a reflection on her.” I’m not joking.) I’ve come to terms that she never will. Doesn’t mean I like it, but at least I know where she’s coming from and where I should be. And when not to answer the phone.

    But, your kids ARE still kids. Quite a bit of them is a reflection of you. Trust me, everyone blames the mom in therapy, right? So take some credit too. There will be a time, when regardless of what you’ve done, they will be adults and they will have to own their issues and reactions, but they aren’t there yet. And, I think, that regardless of what/how your kids behave, if you weren’t the attentive parent that you are, those situations that are bad, would be much, much worse. Also, Monkey is probably getting some the beginnings of hormones too. I know it seems early, but your body doesn’t just start all at once. And those hormones screw with EVERYONE! So take some credit for the good, and cut yourself some slack. You’re a great mom, and screw those who can’t see it on their own. My emotional side says you’re pretty & you deserve some chocolate. ;-)

  32. Chris

    The last paragraph is just perfect.

  33. Patricia

    I am very ANGRY with you, well, not really, but the Emotional Me I have wants to put on her angry eyes and snarl. Why? Well, as your kids are older than my kid, you have always been this source of hope — hope that this changes, gets better, that there is a point to the hours and hours of conversation about some character I neither know nor care about. Simply put, you give hope that the light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train. (Shocking I know)
    Then you tell me that I should have planned better and had a second child to be able to have a least one at one time or the other who is the “good kid” to prove I’m an ok parent. Well, gee, thanks — I have an only, I have been forced to pin ALL of my worth as a parent on one little set of skinny shoulders.
    Are you actually trying to tell me that my kid is NOT just a reflection of how awesome I am, not just a way to live out the hopes and dreams I never fulfilled, and is not to be walking proof of my parenting awesomeness??? Oh, great, now what am I going to do….oh, wait, these bon-bons aren’t eating themselves.

  34. Sharon

    My all-grown-up daughter would like me to tell you that you’re right and that you’re doing a good job. I couldn’t agree more.

  35. Lara

    This post epitomizes what I love about your writing. You verbalize, via written word, those unspoken thoughts that most people are afraid or ashamed to acknowledge. It makes me feel better as a Mom, so nice to know I’m not the only one ;)

  36. Kristen

    I’m Sharon’s daughter – the one two posts above this one. Your stories about Chickadee have helped me to see how crazy I made her life for 10 years (ages 10-20), but I think we’d both agree that it evens out, and love carried us through. You’re going a great job, and though there are times when it’s hard for me to read about just how hard it can be, well, Thank You for putting it out there. (at least until I have a child of my own.)

    Oh and mom? I love you.

  37. Useyourwordsmom

    Oh, lady, you are so talking to me once again. I battle the *judges* all the time. If I had a dime every time someone gives me the “You indulge your children” look. And if I had a quarter for every time my Emotional and Logical Brains go to war…In any case, you are so clearly such a fabulous mother to both your kids. And a great virtual friend, if you will, to all of us who read your blog. So thank you, again, for sharing this story with us.

  38. The Domestic Goddess

    Dang. I needed to read that. Their successes (or failures) are theirs to celebrate (or not). Thank you for putting that out there.

Things I Might Once Have Said


Quick Retail Therapy

Pin It on Pinterest