The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Something’s gotta give

Receiving a call from your child’s teacher at 7:30 a.m. is rarely a good thing.

And learning that your six-year-old son won’t stop crying is not the kind of news any parent ever wants to hear.

But realizing that the reason he’s crying is because of me? That, my friends, is a game changer.

Yesterday (Halloween) morning Bucket Head arrived at school, mistakenly believing that he was not going to be able to go Trick-or-Treating, and it was all my fault.

At my request, his teacher put him on the phone.

“Honey, what’s wrong? Why are you crying?”

Sniff, sniff, sob…

“Is it because of Halloween?”

Sniff, sniff, whimper…

“Are you worried that you don’t have a costume yet?”

Sniff, sniff, “Yes,” he whispered.

“Don’t you worry buddy; Mommy’s going to get to the store today and get you something awesome! And when you get home from school we’ll paint our pumpkins and decorate the house, okay?!”

“Okay.” Sniff, sniff, snort. 

Oh my heart! The heat traveled up my chest and neck, settling in my face. He put his teacher back on the phone.

“I’m so sorry, Mrs. Jones. I’m dreadfully behind this year and we haven’t settled on his costume yet. Let me know if he doesn’t pull it together and I’ll come get him.”

I was mortified. Bad parenting moments are hard enough without having witnesses!

He was that upset because of me… because of my inability to get my shit together and help him plan or pick a costume.

The kids had been asking me for weeks to get out the Halloween decorations, but I kept brushing them off, “Not today, Mommy’s working.” “Not now, Mommy’s packing for a business trip.” “I promise, as soon as this book signing party is behind us, we’ll get out the Halloween stuff.” “Let’s just get Bucket Head’s book report done first.” And then, “As soon as Mommy feels better, we’ll talk about Halloween, I promise.”

But that day never came.

The truth is, I’m in a depressive tailspin. It’s been building for a while… the cumulative product of burning my candle at both ends for far too long followed by a recent series of failures and disappointments.

I keep trying to write about it, and other things, but the words won’t come. The demons have set up camp in my head: “That’s stupid.” “OMG, you can’t say that out loud!” “That’s not funny.” “Nobody cares.” “Oh, boo-hoo for you. First world problems!” “Get over yourself.” “You should have listened to us.” “You reap what you sow, sister.” “Face it—you don’t have the right stuff.”

I haven’t been this low in a long time. Suddenly everything feels incredibly overwhelming to me. I can’t seem to make decisions, even the smallest ones. I look at a task and can’t determine the correct sequence of steps to complete it. I’m not sleeping or eating well. I’m crying a lot. I’m not exercising; I had to leave my yoga class a week ago because I couldn’t hold it together. Let me tell you something, nothing ruins the zen-like atmosphere of a good savasana like a crazy lady wracked with sobs on the next mat over.

So that’s why I haven’t been more present around these parts. I’m just trying to work through some stuff and wrastle my demons.

I know what I need to do to get better. It’s just going to take some time, and a shift in priorities.

But hearing my baby cry on the phone yesterday was just the wake-up call I needed to momentarily stop feeling so sorry for myself and focus on him instead.

I also came home from costume shopping to a very sweet gift on my front porch from a good friend. It was some homemade broth with a beautiful note that read,

“Hope you’re loving and honoring yourself while you’re searching for the meaning of life. Just thought I’d share some love and a reminder to do so—just in case you’re being too hard on yourself instead.”

She knows me well. It was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Well that, and probably some horse tranquilizers, but I’m having a hard time getting in touch with my dealer, so broth and friendship will have to do.

And then I set to work.

When Bucket Head got off the bus yesterday, there were cobwebs and skeletons as far as the eye could see. The kids didn’t get to carve pumpkins this year for the first time ever because there was not a single decent pumpkin to be found in all of North Georgia on October 31st, but we ate our weight in sugar and managed to have a good night anyhow.

saddest pumpkin ever

The last pumpkin at Target yesterday. Great.

In the end, Bucket Head was pretty excited about the Captain America costume I scored at Target (on sale for only $8.00), and Mini-Me threw together some stuff from her closet to come up with a darling Rosie the Riveter. So what if nobody under the age of 70 knew who she was. She looked amazing. So proud of that girl and her ingenuity. “We can do it!” Oh yes we can… (probably)(maybe someday)(meh).

The Halloween that almost wasn't 2013 by The Bearded Iris

So that’s the dealio. I’m sorry I’ve been such a stranger. Depression sucks.

I’m not sure what the future holds, I just know what I’m doing right now isn’t working for me or my family. Something’s gotta give. I’ve got some decisions to make and/or horse tranquilizers to score. Wish me luck, would ya?



  1. Just wanted to add my hugs to the many better and bigger ones here. It’s a tough gig being a mum sometimes, add depression to the mix and it’s no wonder something’s gotta give. Just make sure it isn’t your health or sanity. Love you missus.x

  2. Hi Leslie, I have enjoyed your blog for years. Just wanted to send you a hug and best wishes that you are feeling better soon. I was feeling this way as well and was encouraged to get my blood work done. I found out my iron was at 5 and is supposed to be between 80-300. After taking iron pills, I am feeling much better. Take care.

  3. You take time for yourself and your darling family! Depression does suck, I don’t think I would be able to function without my anxiety/depression meds. Sometimes life gets crazy and the wheels seem to fall off. Never fear my bearded sister, you DO have the right stuff. Take a time out, re-set, and then hammer those wheels back on your wagon. You can dooooo eeeet.

  4. I feel I can do anything, but always forget I can’t do everything at once. I load myself up until I am balanced so precariously, the slightest breeze knocks me over and buries me under my own tremendous mess. I sort through the rubble, pick up only what I can easily carry and hobble along until I feel strong again. Pretty soon, like a dumb ass, I start thinking I can carry the whole world and go through the cycle all over again. And again. I am reborn from a self-induced misery on a regular basis. Knowing you experience anything similar, makes me feel brilliant by association. Heal and be replenished you beautiful, talented, adored woman. xoxo

  5. Big (((HUGS))) to you, lady, and thanks for sharing what’s going on with you. I think your friend is right– we are often SOOO hard on ourselves– it makes it easier somehow to know that other folks are feeling like they aren’t cutting it, either. Which sounds wrong– you feeling in any way “less than” doesn’t actually make me feel better, just less alone. And I think the internet makes things WORSE because people so often present only the best parts of their lives (maybe because they are second-guessing themselves thinking, “OMG, you can’t say that out loud!” “That’s not funny.” “Nobody cares.” ?), which makes us regular folks feel like we are doing an even worse job of making the grade. But you CAN say (write) it out loud– and I know that I, for one, DO care. I don’t think we expect you to be funny all the time– I like when people share the *real* stuff– even when it’s not funny…maybe especially when it’s not funny. It makes me feel less alone– and I’m hoping the responses you get here will make YOU feel less alone, too and maybe buoy your spirits a bit. <3

  6. I’m sending you a bunch of virtual hugs and nods of understanding.

  7. you are right. depression does suck. if it helps, please know that i’ve missed you! you are my fav blogger, and i just can’t find anyone else to substitute! :)

  8. Oh Leslie, I used to get down on myself looking at all those gorgeous handwork projects, recipes and room designs in Martha Stewart Living magazine and lamenting that my house will NEVER look that awesome, as hard as I try. And then it occurred to me: she has a staff, veritable MINIONS to do all of her scut work! Anyway, I cut myself some major slack. We just can not do it all, at least not on our own. It is simply violating the laws of physics.

    The only way out is through—so I hope that you get through this darkness soon and are back to knowing what a shining star that you truly are. Your wacky and wonderful sense of humor will prevail, I’m sure–it is a veritable force of nature.
    XOXOXO Lisa in Massachusetts
    P.S. Oh, I owe you a huge thank-you for introducing me to the Outlander book series. I have a serious crush on Jamie (what a dreamboat) and have already pre-ordered the final (sniff) volume.

  9. I’ve been thinking about you since I read this post. I wanted you to know that I sympathize, empathize, and wish I could give you big hugs in person. Tomorrow I see my new doc and I’ll let you know if he gives me some horse tranquilizers that I can share with you. xoxo

    • Thank you so much, JD. And thank you for thinking of me and checking on me via Facebook. I’m sorry I haven’t been more receptive or present. I’m isolating. It’s a bad habit and probably why I don’t have many friends, but when things get really bad, I just find it easier to not interact…like a wounded animal. I’m so grateful though for your care and concern. Thank you!

  10. My e-mail advice the other day just downright sucked donkey balls, and I’m setting it straight RIGHT NOW. You are a kick ass mo-fo ninja, even if you don’t feel like it. Yeah, you have moles and freckles and smelly parts like the rest of us, but DAMN, GIRL, look at everything you’ve done! For real. And yeah, we all drop the ball at home, whether we blog or practice law or teach or work part time at a large Ag corporation (ahem), so that’s not out of the ordinary, and frankly, thank God people talk about it now so we all know it isn’t that unusual. Clearly family is a priority for you, and not in a “My Pinterest Board has to be PERFECT!” way. If we didn’t know the lows, we wouldn’t know the highs, baby. You? Are a rock star. And not the heroin type. Or Britney Spears. Or Miley. Okay, you’re not a rock star. You’re you. Which I like better anyway.

  11. And? It does suck to get a call like that. And I’m sorry it happened to you and Bucket Head. But he ended on a smile, no?

  12. forgiveness and TLC… things will ease out… you’ll find your way…

    there is a lot of intensity right now, I think.

    remember those so true words:

    there is a crack in everything… that’s how the light gets in.

    • Wow, Cynthia – that’s beautiful, and made me get a little teary this morning, but in a good way. Thank you for being here. I’m ready for some light!

      • For me, things really shift when I cease trying to undo what’s already starting – and instead start to see that whatever has started will itself change. That’s the crazy, maddening thing about life – it never stops changing! So the lovely parts – like my boobs, lol – they change. And the hard parts – they change, too. Being at peace with the nature of life works a kind of magic… where I suddenly realize I have the strength to do what I need to do to shift things where I want them to go. Or maybe… have the strength to accept what I thought I couldn’t accept. I think there is… for all of us… a kind of scrambling… where we’ll do anything but look at the truth… fearing the truth is going to be some horrific truth about ourselves… we are horrible or we are inadequate to deal with horror… when in fact… the deepest truth is we are okay…. we are part of some larger process… we are not in control of everything and yet we can affect things… and there is great strength and beauty in life, of which we are a part. I think Autumn is particularly tricky for this kind of stuff… because everything is dying all around us… and we are moving into Holiday season… with all that is and isn’t in our Holidays. I think your unique sensibility… you ability to see the humour in things others turn away from… this indicates to me that you are onto this… you are a miner of this… you are just stuck in a hard spot… mining a particularly difficult vein… but it is a vein of gold, all the same. Hang in there, Leslie. If I were to give you any advice (and clearly you can see through my own bullshit and see that I am an advice giver, be in sneakily or not… lol… ) it would be to turn toward what refreshes your spirit… dip yourself in that cool water… let yourself be the very dipper, itself… fill yourself… knowing that you when you are filled, you fill others. Namaste, Cynthia

  13. It’s this fucking time change! I hate it! I’ve been missing you and thinking about you, Beardo. Feel better! Big ol’ sloppy hugs and ass grabs from Texas. xo

  14. Oh, Leslie, I’m just seeing this now. Depression sucks. It lies to you. And it sneaks up on you so stealthily that you don’t recognize it until something like this happens. Which makes you feel more depressed, but also acts as a catalyst. I hope you’re finding the answers you need. Wishing you much luck and sending much love.

  15. Best of luck while you sort this all out. Everyone’s priorities get out of whack sometimes. Sounds like your teaching your kids how to bounce back! Be kind to yourself. Love.

  16. I know I’m super late in reading this, but I’m sorry you are going through a tough time. I can’t imagine the stress of juggling all that you do. I’m glad you know what you need to do to get better. We’re all behind you.

  17. I’m so sorry you dealt with this, Leslie. Love and warm thoughts to you. Hope the last couple of weeks have been better for you. xoxo

  18. Don’t fall off the wagon, Leslie. Can’t tell you how many of us feel like this. At one point when I was in college, I was working this horrid job that I hated that sucked all my energy. I began emailing my teachers that I was sick when I really wasn’t, skipping class all the time, skipping work on a daily basis (luckily it was work study, so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but resigning after not showing up for weeks, and not emailing my supervisor to tell her what was going on; man, that was a hard conversation). I love when bloggers blog about their depression and anxiety because I don’t feel so alone, especially when their experience matches mine so closely. Now that I’m an adult with a “real job,” I can’t just not show up, or hell, call in sick whenever I want, because girl, I’m the breadwinner in my household and I’ve got bills to pay. So keep on going, and forget the pressure to be funny because even when you aren’t funny, you’re still inspiring someone else to keep going.

  19. This post made me cry, because I empathize so much. I am in that same place and it feels awful. You are one of the reasons I started to blog in the first place because your posts resonate so much with me. I’m sorry that you’ve been hurting and I hope you continue to find your way. Much love to you!!

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