Sick-lic Supercell Storms

Cyclic SupercellA thunderstorm that undergoes cycles of intensification and weakening (pulses) while maintaining its individuality. Cyclic supercells are capable of producing multiple tornadoes (i.e., a tornado family) and/or several bursts of severe weather.

Sick-lic Supercell: A storm that undergoes cycles of intensification and weakening (pulses) while not caring about individuality. Sick-lic supercells are capable of producing depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, PTSD, bursts of mania, overeating, undereating, recovery, tentative single-parenting, severe guilt, financial stresses, perfectionism, people-pleasing and a buncha other stuff.


In 2019, one of my daughters seemed really down about something. Like most moms, I worked hard to help her get to the bottom of it. After incessant (and “very annoying”) prodding on my part, my daughter finally shared that she was devastated to realize I wasn’t the pretty princess heroine of a mother she once thought I was. The jig was up — She knew the real skinny; I was actually just a human being with all sorts of imperfections, quirks and challenges. She was most obviously disappointed to learn of this truth. My other daughter was also grieving “the old me,” and I was grieving my daughters’ idyllic perception of me. All of this inspired a blog post titled, “The Practice for the Panicky Parent.”

After the dust of this harsh news settled, I assumed we’d all get on with our lives per usual. It never dawned on me that we might remain in a storm that at times, became increasingly more unpredictable and severe.

I could rattle off a whole slew of reasons as to why our family has been in a cyclic/sick-lic, perfect/imperfect storm. I’m not going to do that here. Instead, I’d rather focus on how, as a family, we are learning to take shelter. What really matters is getting okay around co-existing with and accepting a sometimes brutal storm system that will likely hover and surge in perpetuity. On occasion, it may pelt us with thunder, heavy rain, and hail damage, for good.

Even still, I am grateful for the peace, love and hearty laughter that occurs when we find ourselves in the calm eye of the storm. Sometimes, we can even hang in the eye for a good chunk of time. When there are signs that the wind is shifting and precipitation may increase, my daughters have learned to take care of themselves. They must. Oftentimes, this means leaving me to contend with my own storm surge, without them. Then, it is up to me to reach out to the meteorological masters who know best how to help me brave the harsh elements.

I’m not going to lie. As someone who has been coined, “Supermom,” (even though I have NEVER thought of myself that way,) I have walked through an almost unbearable amount of shame and self-judgement. On the upside, I have learned a whole new level of forgiveness of self, the understanding of and forgiveness of others and effective methods of course adjustment. Naturally, all of this wavers. I am, however, deeply grateful for my commitment to daily practice. I do not always succeed and I will never always succeed. The acceptance of this fact is a welcome gift for this perfectionist.

Through practice and A LOT of practice, I am starting to figure out ways to make it through inclement weather, erosion, sinkholes and other unforeseen circumstances.

For some time, (which felt like an eternity), there were no breaks in the cloud cover. I was nearly sure I’d never see the sun again and while I want to write an inspiring blog post about how I rose from the darkness and emerged into the light, the truth is, sometimes I do and sometimes, I don’t. I never stop trying and practicing and I can’t do it by myself no matter my level of tenacity and will.

Some good news is that I do understand a bit more about how my cloud patterns move and where the breaks might be. This may not sound like much, but it’s improving my personal weather forecast and in turn, benefits my beautiful family, friends and colleagues.

Several years ago, I was taking a walk with someone and she said, “Pam, It’s like you have a dark cloud over you or something!” While I was taken aback and couldn’t believe anyone would ever say this to someone, I responded, “No I don’t have a dark cloud over my head and I don’t ask why certain things happen. I mean, we can’t REALLY know why, right? Asking “why?” doesn’t help.”

Today, my response wouldn’t be that different except that sometimes, I really do have a dark cloud over my head and even inside of me. I still don’t ask why it is. I just do what I can to remember that I am enough in any kind of weather and may my kids know they’re enough no matter what. NO MATTER WHAT.

Through action and a commitment to practice, I find myself capable of believing there will eventually be a break in the clouds. In absolutely any kind of weather, the sun is above and bigger than the clouds.

Also, the sun is patient.

It’s just waiting there, excited to shine once again.

The Practice for the Panicky Parent

So now, with my daughters, the jig is up. The jig is totally up.

I recently learned that my kids see all that I am. They’ve known about my flaws for some time now, but I am just starting to someday, maybe, sorta, etc., get okay with this fact. My hope is that I can use their truths about me as a learning tool for personal, parental and professional growth. Continue reading “The Practice for the Panicky Parent”

Philanthropy is Phly: Not Phancy – Redux

I originally wrote this article in 2016. Not much has changed except my two daughters, phor example, no longer permit me to say, “fly,” let alone spell it with a “ph.” I am hardly permitted to breathe as it’s incredibly embarrassing for them.

I am reposting this because of my unwavering love of philanthropy and the importance of instilling it in my children and all of our children. Philanthropy is often perceived as only monetary funding. It is so much more than that. 

ORT has an upcoming event at WhirlyBall in Chicago and it has been designed intentionally to interest kids in philanthropy and tikkun olam. (Repair of the world.)

Worst case scenario, at least the kids who come to Sunday Funday on January 27th can be exposed to the different struggles of other kids throughout the world. This is not to diminish any child’s struggles, but to enhance their lives by opening their world to philanthropy.

One more shift that’s transpired since I wrote this post is that I have learned how to be somewhat handy and forego the need for a “Schneider.”

If you need your toilet fixed, I’m your gal. Continue reading “Philanthropy is Phly: Not Phancy – Redux”

You = VIP: an Experiential Experiment

Last week, I took time off from work. For a brief shining moment, I acted like a stay-at-home mom to my beautiful daughters. It was wonderful. (See photo for proof of great time. Also, we have actual seating in our home.) Continue reading “You = VIP: an Experiential Experiment”

A Love Letter Redux to Juliette

The original letter I wrote to Juliette four years ago can be found here – “For Juliette: A Love Letter You’ll Hate (For Now)”. I write my daughters fairly often, but this one stands out and serves as a sort of unspoken grading tool for how I am doing as a mother. I give myself a “C” grade as a mother, but the important lesson here is that I don’t accept my own “C” grade. I trust the trustworthy people in my life instead. Continue reading “A Love Letter Redux to Juliette”

The Megaflop Mom’s Mercy

When I had my daughters, I was self-employed. I had ample time to devote my full attention to my girls. Attending to them was innate – and very satisfying for all of us. What wasn’t great about my being self-employed, was having to travel and sometimes, internationally. I knew it was a gift to be paid so handsomely to see the world, but to be honest, I didn’t really like corporate public speaking. It was transient and while it was great that the “X-product/system 2.0” worked great, I sought more meaning for what I was pitching. I needed to get closer to helping humankind on a level that coincided with my core values. Continue reading “The Megaflop Mom’s Mercy”

It’s Motherhood, NOT Mother-should

For the past several days, it’s been challenging to show up as an enthusiastic mother of my almost 14 and almost 11 year old daughters. I don’t feel this way very often, but when I do, I feel it and hard. Whenever I get like this, I try to remember them as my beautiful little babies before I became COE. (Chief of Embarrassment.)

 

Continue reading “It’s Motherhood, NOT Mother-should”

Atoning for Too Much Tikkun Olam

This morning, I devoted a brief amount of time to catch up on “the news.” I put “the news” in quotes, because while natural disasters and locating avenues to help human beings recover and thrive, are newsworthy, much of “the news” I skimmed through, left me disgusted and incredibly sad.

For as long as I can remember, I worried about my family, my community and pretty much any injustice and atrocity I perceived in the world. As an adult, I learned that my worrying had to be transposed into action. Naturally, I still worry, but have implemented a rule that I’m not permitted to worry for very long, unless I am actively working on helping to repair or heal whatever it is that keeps me awake at night. Continue reading “Atoning for Too Much Tikkun Olam”

The Ugly Truth About the Weight of Beauty

Yesterday, I posted some photos of my daughters on social media. They’d been out of the country for a few weeks, so when they returned a few nights ago, I posted their photos like the insanely thrilled mom I was, to see them, spend time with them and hug and kiss them.

Aside from my two daughters encompassing inner beauty – depth, compassion, philanthropic awareness and serious smarts, they are also beautiful on a base external level. I don’t think I’m biased just because I’m their mom, I’ve noticed that the physical attributes of my daughters receive a great deal of attention from a large and diverse audience.

For every compliment on their physical appearance I receive, (which has little if anything to do with me), I just smile and try to say, “Thank you,” without saying,

Their looks aren’t what’s most interesting about them and I wish more people would focus on who they are from the inside out.

And things like,

They’re going to drive the boys crazy.

LOCK HER/THEM UP.

…sigh…

These generous complimentary people are kind and very well-meaning and most of them, I love and respect very much. Plus, I agree that my daughters are physically beautiful. I also realize that if photos are posted by me, I expose people to their physical looks and not their clever wit, charm, genius brains and huge hearts. Their compliments are lovely, but I don’t share any of them with my daughters and that is intentional.

I never want them to think their value is tied to their physical appearance. Our society dictates enough of this. Let me be a safe haven from that.

When people kvell over my daughters’ looks, there are times, where I find myself wanting to scream or at the very least, protect them. For far too many years of my life, I became almost totally reliant on my outer shell. So much so, that my innards became atrophied. This is something I intentionally stress with my daughters because I know how empty it feels to think being attractive is the most important part of me and if I lose my looks, I am nothing. or, a man is only interested in me because:

  1. He thinks I’m pretty/cute
  2. I have a flat stomach and 9% body fat
  3. I am a dancer and contortionist
  4. All of the above

My youngest daughter is comfortable with who she is, and my teenager, continuously finds the flaws in her skin, hair, body, etc. It hurts me to the core when I hear her saying negative things about her physical appearance. The rub is that I totally understand it and empathize with her. While I was considered cute, or pretty or whatever, I never actually thought it about myself. I never felt thin enough, my nose wasn’t perfect enough, and my hair was enormous and curly, etc. So basically, I put all of the weight of my own self-value into something, (my outer shell), I didn’t even find all that pleasing.

When my teenager beats the crap out of her looks, I often find myself thinking, “I wish you’d put this energy into apologizing to your sister for being mean to her.”

Now that I’m older and definitely wiser, I understand that I couldn’t really appreciate my outer shell because my insides were totally stunted. Now, my insides are pretty great and my outsides have shifted and aged. I feel more beautiful today than when I was seen as really beautiful. I’ll take it any day over how I felt as a young person.

Several years ago, a blog post changed my life and how I parent my girls. If you have daughters or people in your life who struggle with their self-worth, I highly recommend you read this and then practice at it. It literally changed how I talk to my own daughters and frankly, how I talk to myself.

How to Talk to Your Daughter About Her Body

The suggestions in this article are incredibly helpful. I hope it helps you and anyone else who doesn’t know in actuality, how really beautiful they are.

Happy growing.

you are beatufiul

Jake Lawler

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