Mothering: we’re doing it wrong, again, of course.

27 Jun

Everyone is upset -kids, parents, dads, therapists, teachers and soccer coaches. We are parenting wrong, again, and all the real grown ups are fed up with the whole thing. They are so fed up they will take away your toddler if you spank her. They will also take away your toddler if you breastfeed her. If all else fails, they will just write about you in Slate and Atlantic Monthly because you are doing it wrong and there is no fate worse than having your parenting be disapproved of by the real grown ups.

I should confess right up front that I have three children who are all good sleepers. Aside from the 6 month window in which we were trying to figure out why Henry was growing in the wrong direction, we have enjoyed very good sleep. For the most part, it has been all in our separate spaces. We did sleep with our babies, all of whom began to sleep through the night once they reached 20lbs. This did not take very long for Theo who was 9lb 3 ounces at birth. At that point, we sort of cheerfully deposited them in a crib or pak-n-play in a room with their brothers. So, while I found Go The F*ck To Sleep  to be very funny, it didn’t really send me rolling on the floor laughing (IFYWIM). Not the way, Parenting Illustrated With Crappy Pictures does. (Extreme lack of ice cream!)  Still, hearing Samuel L. Jackson read it made me laugh. While sleep is not the issue, I do sometime find it impossible to resist the urge to tell my kids to “man up!” when they cry about, say, stopping for gasoline on the way home from the YMCA. Kids are frustrating. It’s part of the gig.

This morning, Liz of  Mom 101 fame, pointed me in the direction of  an article at Slate in which Katie Roiphe asks, “Why So Angry Dad?” I was really surprised to find out that it is all my fault! Roiphe believes the reason we all find the book so funny is because of our pent up rage at our children, I mean wives, well, the mommies. It is the mother’s unsexy blanket, movie and popcorn night creating all this rage inside the father, you see. He is blaming the child but he should really be blaming his wife. “Put on a f*cking dress!” she imagines the child to say to the mother. Yes, we who cannot “manage” to hire a babysitter are to blame -never mind if you cannot afford to hire the babysitter (I would like to know the going rates in your area, just to find out if what we are experiencing is normal or crazy.) Never you mind, if you actually want a quiet night in – if you are tired from working nights and weekends and truly just want to collapse in front of the big screen. I was surprised by the interpretationBut then again not really. Clearly if you are frustrated and tired, you are doing something wrong. It could not possibly be that the job you are doing is hard and demanding. Everything worth doing should come easily with little effort. Also, anytime your husband is upset it is because he needs more sex. By the way, you are lazy.

So, that upset me. It upset me because I was taught by my parents that rewarding things require effort, attention and sacrifice. So, I can blame them right? And so can Slate? Maybe Lori Gottlieb also help me figure out why I am doing it all wrong – or really you – because I am  better than you and we both know it. Much better – except that I feel worse. It is so confusing!  Truly, I found “How to Land Your Kid in Therapy” to be a pretty good read. Again I should state up front that I am not, by nature, a helicopter-parent (whatever that really may be – I assume we know it when we see it, or rather, it is fun to point it out in others.) For example, my 12 year old wakes up and gets ready for school with no assistance from me. Often I am still in bed when he comes to say good bye for the day. If I am up, I am wrangling his two younger brothers. I will keep them out of his way so he doesn’t miss the 7:15am bus. I consider this to be good parenting because it works. I have no idea what his therapist will say.

What I found troubling is Gottlieb’s assertion that the underlying reason that my generation of parents protects, tends and overall oppresses with love our young is “precisely so that they wouldn’t end up on a therapist’s couch one day.” Are any of you thinking about this, you know regularly, seriously, without your tongue in your cheek? Maybe this is the type of thing only a therapist thinks about their own children. I don’t know. When I do anything for my kids – be it the right thing or the wrong thing – I can say with certainty that I am not the least bit motivated by want to protect them from one day needing help sorting life out. I must have missed the parenting theory about making sure the kids know that once they leave my nest they should never, ever seek counsel, help and support by talking out their problems with skilled professionals.

I will say I agree, kids always keep score in soccer. It is silly to pretend that sports are not competitive and that Bs are just As in disguise. I like it when my kids are successful. There are many things I will do to support and encourage their success.  I am unsure how the compare to the lengths my parents would have gone, or the lengths my generational cohort of parents will go (If you are keeping track, I am 36, with a 12, 7 and 5 year old.) I believe in letting kids experience and express frustration, anger, sadness. Whether I believe in it or not, they are going to experience those things, so I figured I would just get on board with reality. Maybe I am just lazy.

The problem I have with the Atlantic Monthly piece is that it completely ignores the cultural reasons for this particular attachment style parenting. I am not parenting in a vacuum (much as I would love to do that because I hear vacuums are quiet.) What’s on tap here in my time and place: a struggling economy and a board of parenting experts that have promised if I meet enough of my kids needs they will not have any later – which of course, makes no sense, but that what is advertised.  Let us also remember the marketing of camps, extra curricular activities, sports, classes and book groups – all the ways I am told that if I spend my time and money,  I will have better kids, that if I do not invest in their gifts and talents now, it will be too late. In a rough economy, this is a particularly low blow. Spend money now while your kid is 8, so he will be well rounded enough to be hired at 20! The notion that somehow my kids are not good enough as is breaks through the haze. This is my own idea. I must swim uphill to standby it.

Through all of this marketing of books, theories, classes and ideas,  I still contend with- as I imagine mothers at every time and place have – those perfect strangers who assert their right to barge in and let me know how what they think about it all.  And overall, I consider myself very lucky in this regard. My mother and mother-in-law think I am a good mother. My father, step-father and father-in-law think I am a good mother.  I live in a community that overall supports my parenting style – though I think I would be considered more strict than most. I am absolutely in favor of telling my kids to “knock it off” if they are acting like lunatics. I have even been known to use the word naughty in public. (Stop chucking acorns at the squirrel; that’s naughty!)

Still I find the microscope on mothering to be taxing and a distraction from my real work. I wonder if  people around me think I am too strict, too permissive. I wonder if when my children cry in public, people think I must be indulging them, or maybe they think I am being too harsh. From the first moment I held my first baby,  I began to receive conflicting advice. Never wake a sleeping baby. Wake your baby to eat every 3 hours. Don’t fuss so much over your kids. Hey, why don’t you have a jacket on him?  It’s cold out there. Kids these days have no manners and are too busy. Stop scheduling all their time. Don’t let them play Wii all day. Mothers need to relax. Why is he crying? He should be sleeping through the night by now. Stop worrying. This is not the type of village I am looking for. Please send lasagnas and a housekeeping staff.



This piece was written last week and is cross-posted from my home-space blog: needs new batteries by Karen Bayne

Please contribute to the conversation! Did you read these articles or the book? Is it funny? Is it sad? In what areas do you get too much advice about your parenting choices. What cultural or socio-economic factos are being over-looked when we just sit around and tell mothers how very wrong they are?


Running on Empty

21 May

On my way to work with preschooler and his full fish tank. It happens.

 We believe mothers cannot give from an empty well. We believe mothers cannot give from an empty well. We believe mothers cannot give from an empty well.

The words echo inside me  each time I sit in a MotherWoman circle. Different words push themselves to the forefront of my consciousness, asking me to examine them, to uncover them, to believe them.  For the next few weeks on the MotherWoman blog,  I will be musing on what the principles of our MotherWoman circles mean to me.

Every time I think about what we believe, I find myself called by this ancient image of the well.  It rises to the surface for me.  It  is the very essence of why I sit in the circle, why I pause a moment to leave aside whatever I need to leave aside and tune in to myself, to my experience, my body, my breath.  I am here. I am safe. I am a mother.  I give to my children, my family, my community.

And somewhere, there is a well.  It is inside me when I am given the opportunity to slow down, to breathe and to feel its depth. It is all around me in the faces, in the strength, in the tears and smiles of the women sitting near me. We breath together. We shout a silent amen at each other across the room with a simple hand gesture. This is a MotherWoman circle.

Other days, I sit with those words and just here the echoing sound of the word empty, empty, empty.  I see clearly what I lack, what I am unable to do for my children, what I cannot give them, what I wish I could give them. I see what I do give them and then resent because of the echoing empty well that sits there inside. I do not feel the fullness.  But I know it is there, somewhere.  I see the resentment for what it is – a warning sign that life is out of balance.  I can give from a depleted well, but I will pay a steep price.  I have the ability to make a choice, to regain balance, to fill the tank.  Someone passes the tissue box. This too is a MotherWoman circle.

I know what to do when things are out of balance for me. I beg for babysitting from a sympathetic mother in law. I tell Matt  I am going out with friends.  I dive back into yoga, swimming. I sit in the sun to knit; I cook well and make piles of dishes. I go to bed early. I do all the things I swear I do not have time to do when I am busy juggling working and mothering, all the while getting so out of balance that my soul requires chiropractic adjustment. And it works. It is predictable for me what works. The well is filled – for now.

I will forget again. Or my kids will need me so much I have no choice but to keep functioning and functioning until I sit with that emptiness again and feel the words sinking in deeper next time around. I believe mothers cannot give from an empty well.

What do you do to fill your well? Do you know when it is empty? Where do you go when you feel that way?

Blog Carnival: A Love Song to Mothers

28 Apr

We all have women who have mothered us in our lives.  Who are the mothers in your life you would like to honor?  What lessons have they taught you? What gifts have they given you? We created this video to honor those women.  Join us in celebrating the mothers who have nurtured you by participating in our first ever MotherWoman Blog Carnival.

It’s easy to participate:
1. Write your post of love, gratitude and admiration for the woman or women in your life who have mothered you. Or use a post you have written already!
2. Link back here to this post.
3. Come back and add your blog post to the link widget below.
This carnival opens today and closes on May 14th. Don’t forget to visit us again for the round up and to visit other writers. We can’t wait to hear from you.

Variations in Winter

19 Jan

The children are out of sorts. I am off my game, unable to move us beyond the necessities of food, school, keeping them in health. My middle child has an anxiety disorder and a neurological condition. His condition is invisible to the casual observer. He is verbal, tall for his age and without physical impediment. Its effects are far from invisible to our family.

The behavior that results from his conditions are not invisible to people at the store, at the Y,  and in restaurants.  His low muscle tone makes him wiggle. It is his way of keeping up right. Without the wiggling, he might fall. Sometimes he falls. This is loud. He worries loudly. He cannot screen out background noise very successfully.  He talks loudly to speak over all the noises in the world the rest of us are not hearing, like the kitchen vent, the traffic on the street, the noise of the dryer, people talking in the hallway, the hum,hum, humming of fluorescent lighting.  He has a limited sense of proprioception – that means he doesn’t quite know, in a body sense, where his body is in space. Do you know that feeling of missing the bottom step?  Or the chair isn’t quite where you thought it was? This is my child’s world all the time. What he does to compensate is crash himself into furniture, walls and people. It simply looks crazy to anyone not trained to spot it. It looks like he won’t stand on his own two feet. It looks like he is crashing into shelves at the grocery store knocking stuff down at age 6 1/2 and old enough to know better.

And how do I look?

He worries.  This ” interferes with daily life,” as the professionals say. He worries so much about being late that he makes us late. The worry is not invisible. The meltdown is not invisible when his worst fears are realized. He looks – and is – having a tantrum. A tall kid melting down with curls bouncing everywhere.

You know that look you get when boarding an airplane with children?

He is plenty bright, but his brain runs in certain patterns. It does not flex easily. He sees a movie in his mind of how things will play out. When a surprise hits him – big or small – every thing in him revolts. He wants to bend circumstances and beat them into the form of the movie he had playing in his head.   It takes him a while to get off script. The scripts are a tool he uses to keep the chaos at bay. When they fail him, everything in him revolts. He has, by temperament, a will of iron. The revolt is loud.

And it is always louder in winter. The light is too bright on the snow. His skin is too dry, a constant irritation of which he remains constantly aware, like that kitchen fan I can’t hear like he can. Perhaps he also has SAD. He needs to run around in the sun, dig in the dirt, do laps around the house. I need to be able to take him places without us both crying. Spring is coming, but not soon enough.

This child lives with me. He is in there somewhere. I believe it.

And just like that, working part-time with not enough care.

23 Nov

Just like that I’m working. A month ago I was feel rather gloomy about working  here in Northampton. I couldn’t quite find my feet despite all my skills, experience and training.  We moved. It was hard to start over. It felt for a while like my work didn’t come with the rest of our stuff. What turned the tide? Social media, prayer and hunger most likely.

So just like that, I’m moderately busy. The more work you have, the more work you get – and it must come from clients. There is no one like a satisfied client to send more business along.  I’m not quite as busy as I’d like to be, but busy enough considering that like most working moms I don’t have enough affordable, quality childcare and we are running full speed into the Holiday Season. As an aside,  we generally call it the Season of Croup for lo, as long as we have been parents (11 Christmas this year), there hath been croup at the holidays. We inevitably end up with someone sleeping between us with the windows open to the cold New England breeze in dark December because nothing is better for a swollen larynx than your own mothering’s teeth chattering as you sleep on her chest.

I find myself leaning into next fall as I scramble to keep my work life flowing with a 4-year-old in tow. He is in very part-time preschool. It is very nice and very affordable. The only three moves we can make are

1. Very unaffordable preschool/daycare

2. Very not nice daycare

3. Wait it out til all day public Kindergarten.

We are waiting it out. He is in the school’s preschool program. He will be happy at the Kindergarten is 10 months away. Summer will be a whole different animal – every working mother stares that beast down pretty hard right at the end of February break.Next September everyone will get on that bus and stay there til 3 – though 4 would be better.

Waiting it out has been our family policy on the day care conundrum though for 11 Christmases now we have doubted and reevaluated that decision. We’ve always ended up picking high quality, affordable part-time care. We are not alone in our confusion. I had a chance to hear Sharon Lerner, author of The War on Moms, spoke this morning at the MotherWoman breakfast here in Northampton. I learned that 62% of mothers report wanting to work part-time and 26% are actually working part-time. This means 36% of women are working way more or way less than they want to be working. We aren’t getting enough help here. I feel it everyday. I’m aiming for the 26% mark. It’s a teeny bulls-eye to shoot for from a great distance.



cross-posted at needs new batteries

Remarks from Elizabeth and David Oakes at the MotherWoman Breakfast

22 Nov


The powerful words of Elizabeth Oakes










My anger pushed me. I was desperate to find the proper solution.

I was scared I wouldn’t ever find it. I was terrified that I would hurt myself or my children. I was confused about why I wasn’t deliriously happy with the perfect family we had created. I found no one who could help me. I felt incredible guilt over failing as a mother, a wife, a person.

But when I felt hopeless,  I knew I was in territory that I might not survive.

My name is Elizabeth Oakes and I am a survivor of severe postpartum depression. I live with my husband, Dave, our daughter, our son, and a dog and cat in Berkshire County. I’m a New York City girl who chose the rural life. I am a Licensed Massage Therapist with my own business. I hold several college degrees. And I consider myself self sufficient, resourceful, and well informed.

After our daughter was born, my husband recognized my depression. I spoke with a therapist, but I never told anyone about the terrifying intrusive thoughts I was experiencing. No one ever asked. No one noticed that I hadn’t used a sharp knife for six months. Gradually the depression and anxiety faded, and life was better.

The second time around was worse from the very beginning. I was asking professionals for advice soon after my son was born. The ONLY advice I was given was to “Take Zoloft”. Not being comfortable introducing pharmaceuticals into my breast milk, I didn’t, and I got worse. I tried supplements which helped but I went off them too early. After weaning my son my moods became so unstable and unpredictable that Dave took me to our local hospital. The psychiatric ward was full so I was shuttled to a “crisis house”. There I was relieved to just sleep.

After I left I still felt very unstable so I called the MD I had met there to see what else could be done. “Go to the “urgent care” group” I was told. Great, ten days later when the “urgent care” group met, I asked of the clinician in the largest provider of mental health services in the county, “Does anyone here specialize in postpartum conditions?” “No” she said, “There is no difference between postpartum mothers and anyone else”.

I was so angry and frustrated. The medical professionals I dealt with were not bad people but they did not have the knowledge nor training to help me. None of the psychiatric professionals I consulted identified my postpartum depression accurately or responded appropriately.

The one thing that did help me through this whole dark time was the post-partum support group in Northampton run by MotherWoman. There I found knowledge, caring, and support all free from any kind of judgment. Every week I could get there I found other women like me, and even when I couldn’t get there just knowing that another woman was probably up worrying at 2am just like I was, was incredibly comforting. Sharing our experiences with people who really understand is priceless.

However, the worst was yet to come. I was taking medication but the miserable days I was experiencing got worse and worse. I could not recognize myself. I really believed that my husband and children would be better off without me. I had strong impulses of not wanting to be alive so I wouldn’t have to feel anymore. I was terrified and so was my husband. He put the emergency plan into action and I went to the hospital, again.

I had lost trust in the medical community but I had nowhere else to go. I had to trust them if I wanted to live.

Almost a year later, I am well on my way to a full recovery, and I have a deeper understanding of post-partum mood disorders, various treatments, and the medical model of care in my area. Most of all I have a deeper understanding of myself.

I have been able to let go of the desperation, fear, confusion, terror, helplessness, and hopelessness. But I am not yet ready to let go of the anger. Anger spurs me to action. I want to make sure that no other woman in Berkshire County ever has to go through what I did.

Enter MotherWoman again.

With the incredible leadership and support of MotherWoman good changes are happening for the mothers of Berkshire County. I will be attending MotherWoman’s facilitator training this winter in order to start a postpartum support group in Pittsfield. MotherWoman has arranged a meeting with psychiatric specialists at Berkshire Medical Center in January. We will schedule training for medical and mental health professionals. And we are on our way to creating The Berkshire County Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Coalition. None of this would be possible without MotherWoman.

My daughter is now four and my son is two. They are wonderful children which must be due to the amazing care of my husband and to some higher power. I hardly remember the first year of each of their lives. I don‘t know that I will ever be able to let go of the sadness and guilt over that. But thanks to MotherWoman, there is a light on the horizon for mothers and families in our region.

Thank You.


And the heartfelt words of her husband, David Oakes


I am David Oakes, and that beautiful woman is my wife.

The hardest thing I have ever had to do was walk away from Berkshire Medical Center with my two kids and without my wife, their mother. — When I brought Elizabeth to the Emergency Room the first time I thought “what the heck is going on? and how could this be happening?” We have everything in life anyone could hope to have!

Yet an hour before that she was curled up in a ball on the floor crying uncontrollably. — She looked up at me like a lost child and said “help me Dave I don’t know what to do.”

As I walked away from the hospital in a daze, I felt like I had let my whole family down.  What could I have done to prevent this?   I love my wife, and would do anything for her, yet I felt so defeated and lost. — What was I going to do about my full-time college responsibilities?  What about my internship starting this week?  What about day-care?  How could I fulfill both of our responsibilities while she was getting help? Several questions filled my head, and I came to terms very quickly that my family needed me more than ever.  Post-partum depression doesn’t only affect the mother, it affects the whole family.–

I had watched week after week as Liz struggled with her depression.  She eventually isolated herself from friends, family, and even me.  –We had a strong marriage and it was eroding before my eyes.  The woman of my dreams was snapping at me one minute then offered a tear-filled apology the next.  Dealing with our children became more of a burden to her, than a joy.

As her depression worsened, so did my frustration, I became resentful, I was sleep deprived, accommodating her any way I could, and cautiously walking around on eggshells.

During this time, Liz found out about Northampton Wellness Associates, where she ultimately went for a natural and supplemental approach to her condition.  Luckily, she also found out about Mother/Woman and began attending groups held in Northampton once a week.  Finally, she started feeling better, and actually got to a point where she felt good enough to stop the regimen of supplements she was taking.  Unfortunately, after she did, she started backsliding into depression faster than before. Only this time when she started the supplements again, they didn’t work.

One dark December night Liz told me through her tears and despair that she was thinking about suicide,– without hesitation I brought her to the hospital again, and called my sister-in-law to see if she could come up and help us out again with our crisis.

All I could think about at that point was my wife was going to kill herself, how that would forever affect our family, and how alone I would be without her.  After several medication trials, Liz’s profound relationship with the Mother/Woman groups, and some time, –we are now on the better side of these events.

Liz and I both learned a lot about each other during those troubled times; especially during couples’ therapy. We are 11 months removed from those days and Liz is very involved in advocating for post-partum mothers. She is the best kind of advocate this organization could ever hope to get. Intelligent, well-informed, articulate, and passionate about helping Mother/Woman bring its goals to fruition– (did I mention beautiful too?).

I can tell you that when Liz had no one she felt she could turn to for understanding, not doctors, not therapists, not even me, she went to the Mother/Woman groups and came home feeling validated and energized. The very real support Liz received from the Mother/Woman family was without question the single most therapeutic component to her recovery; I have yet to see a husband or a pill that can match that.



Remarks by Aida Ruiz-Batiste at the MotherWoman Breakfast

21 Nov

Good morning. My name is Aida Ruiz-Batiste and I work at the Baystate Brightwood Health Center/Centro de Salud. Brightwood Health Center is located in the poorest community of Springfield known as the Northend. I have the privilege of working with the whole life cycle, from infants to elders. I love working across generations in this community on a broad range of issues, from the medical and psycho-social aspects of life, to advocacy and community development.

I am a mother of 4 children, 2 biological and after my sister died of AIDs in the early 1990’s, I raised her 2 children as my own. I have three grandchildren. I was a very young mother and had my first son at the age of 14. I suffered from post-partum depression.Not only was I young and unaware but I was also very alone, afraid and many times discouraged.  As I matured and my life came together, thank God, it became clear that my purpose is to provide help and support to the Latino community, to those struggling in poverty. This purpose takes many forms, professional, volunteer and personal.

When I was introduced to MotherWoman, I quickly saw how this amazing model of support could benefit the women and families I work with. This could be one of the solutions I have to offer the local Latina community. It provided me with a new way to serve the Latina teenage mother.  I took the MotherWoman Group Facilitator Training in the fall of 2009 with my colleague Donna Jackson Kohlin, a nurse midwife at Brightwood Health Center.

MotherWoman has touched one of the most profound and sensitive parts of my being a woman. Through MotherWoman, I learned that we really, really do have permission to be women, to suffer and also recover through a miraculous partnership of support that says, “I will meet you where you are without judgement or fear” and for that I thank MotherWoman!

Mothers and grandmothers are the center of the Latino family. These matriarchs hold their families together by loyally supporting each other and sharing their resources in the face of many difficulties, often as single parents. They believe in family and are willing to work multiple jobs and share childcare to secure a healthy environment for their families.

Many people assume that Latinos are Latinos. But we have two separate latina communities in Springfield, immigrant women and Puerto Rican women who are citizens of the united states by birth. Great disparities and animosity exist between these two communities due to fear and often misconceived notions around citizenship and culture. Sadly, prejudice exists everywhere.

Immigrant woman and families make a commendable sacrifice, leaving their native country, language and culture to the come to the unknown and the cold northern winters with the hope of providing a better life for their children and grandchildren. In many ways they are like every other wave of immigrants to the U.S.

My vision is to bring a MotherWoman support group to Latinas in the North End of Springfield, to establish a place where women can share their humanity and experiences as mothers and find common ground. I see this powerful support group model as a way to help break down prejudice, enhance resourcefulness and create stronger community among immigrant and native Latina women.

We are all in this together.

Understanding this makes us stronger and builds our bonds with each other. Starting a MotherWoman group in Springfield will be a step for my community of latina women toward sustainable support, health and viability.

Thank you, MotherWoman, for giving me this opportunity.

Changing Policy

18 Nov

MotherWoman 2010 Fall Fundraising Breakfast – Remarks by Sharon Lerner, author of The War on Moms – On life in a Family-Unfriendly Nation

I first “met” Annette Cycon, the founder of MotherWoman, on the radio. Before I went on WMUA to discuss my book, the host, Leo Maley, suggested bringing the director of a local non-profit into our discussion. Fine with me, I said. I was clear about what I wanted to say. I had just crisscrossed the country talking with mothers about the difficulties they face in the workplace and at home. Continue reading

Listening for the Truth

18 Nov

MotherWoman 2010 Fall Fundraising  Breakfast, Remarks by Liz Friedman

Good Morning.

MotherWoman supports and empowers mothers to create positive personal and social change for ourselves, our families, our communities and the world.

At MotherWoman, we listen to mothers through free support groups, we provide training to professionals and lay leaders so that those of us who work with mothers can listen in ways that fully support them. And thru our political arm, MomsRising of the Pioneer Valley, we advocate for changes in policies so that mothers and our families can thrive.   Continue reading

Okay, what’s next?

29 Oct

My youngest child goes to Kindergarten next year. I’m excited. I think about it everyday. I hear other mother talk with longing in their voices. Can you believe they grow up so fast? I just want them to stay little. I try to make the appropriate noises, but I can’t access the feelings. I’m happy. I wonder briefly if there is something wrong with me and brush away the thought.  Continue reading