3/20/19: It's HANDLED.
The Morning Mantra is available on iTunes, Overcast, Stitcher, Youtube, Soundcloud, Spotify, and pretty much anywhere podcasts can be found. Transcripts forthcoming on the blog at www.coachedandloved.com Click here to listen to this episode.
It feels appropriate to kick off this podcast with a quote from my favorite show, Scandal!
Elizabeth says, "There's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women."
Olivia replies: "There's a special place in hell for women who spout that tired quote to justify their bad behavior."
*cue intro music*
Hi, my name is MK Fleming. I'm a run coach based in Denver, Colorado. But this isn't a podcast about running, exactly. Don't tell my clients, but *whispers* we're never really talking about the running. When you know a crap-tastic event is coming it helps to have a mantra to keep you centered and focused as you move through it. You don't have to be an athlete to be hashtag #coachedandloved by coach MK. And if you are here, then you are hashtag #winningatlife.
Today’s mantra is: It’s Handled. It’s Handled.
Last week I was cleaning out my inbox and stumbled across an email from December that I’d overlooked. Horrified, I reached out immediately. We’re going to begin with her response.
*Coach MK reads*
Hi Coach MK!
You actually emailed at a time that being #coachedandloved and a mantra could really help. I am in it with my son...behavioral therapy, PT, OT, IEPs, genetic testing and everything else. I question myself especially after others questions me and my actions. My running and barre class are my therapy and I do whatever I can to keep them. I am actually redoing HR 101 on repeat and I want to run Disney Marathon January 2020. Goals for myself help me have some focus on me.
My son will be getting leg braces to help his walking and gain muscle strength. The PT and doctor asked me if I was up for it because it was going to be tough. I thought to myself it’s already tough. I said I wanted whatever is the best course of treatment and I will handle it. I say I will handle it because I will force myself to, but I will doubt myself nearly every step along the way.
From one special needs mom to another, I GET IT. The only thing worse than the diagnosis is the gaslighting from well-meaning folks around you that won’t have to manage your child’s day-to-day: the therapy professionals who don’t actually coordinate care with each other (that’s your job), the insurance calls, the paperwork, the cash payments, the credit card bills... and NO ONE can imagine the attorney fees because they don’t understand that certain *ahem* institutions won’t hear a damn thing you say unless you have an attorney in the room. I openly refer to mine as the Hearing Aid. “I wanted to confirm our meeting at 10am and remind you that I will be bringing Your Hearing Aid, Charles Gross, Esq.”
It’s kind of like my rehab- it’s a HUGE job I didn’t ask for. It’s so huge, when I dare discuss it, people often ask if I’m shooting a squirrel with a cannonball. Have I gone too far? Am I worrying too much?
This, against the backdrop of parents committing felonies to get their kids into top colleges. That’s somehow understandable, we all want the best for our kids. A felony is sad but understandable but the advocacy of a special needs parent, THAT is overkill.
But I digress.
There was never any question that you would do what was best for your son. The question is, “will you be brave enough to take care of yourself consistently?” after all those same folks who think you are exaggerating the amount of care your kid needs are the same ones who will make you feel selfish for hitting a barre class or going for a run, or showing up somewhere with blow-dried hair and clothes that fit. To a certain extent, we feel the pressure to perform ‘special needs parent’ to minimize the criticism. Because nothing says, “my life is SO EASY!” like dry hair, white pants, painted nails or makeup that isn’t smeared on your shirt.
The best we can do in any game rigged against us is to not play. They will criticize you if you run or if you don’t, so why WOULDN’T you run? Why WOULDN’T you dry your hair when you have a minute and want to?
Can you tell I’ve gotten a lot of flack for keeping my New Year’s Resolution? “Your hair looks great!” sounds like a compliment but it’s thrown at me like a dart. The follow up comments are rarely kind.
Our culture has a habit of addressing a response instead of examining the cause of a situation. It’s easier to say, “social media is the devil” than discuss the epidemic of depression, anxiety and lonliness. It’s easier to say, “calm down” than say, “woah, that’s a big problem, how can I help?” I have to wonder if we are in the habit of talking everything down, because admitting there is an issue indicates there is work to be done, work you may be recruited to perform, work we would be ASSHOLES to not volunteer for...so Imma convince you there’s no problem before you even get there.
So, in those moments when you are staring down anyone who cannot or will not grasp the scope of your role as a special needs mom, who thinks your dry hair or the run you did that morning are irrefutable proofs that you aren’t managing THAT much stress or anxiety, STARE THEM DOWN, channel your best Olivia Pope and say, ‘it’s handled,” then sashay out of that room and do whatever it is you need to do.
To make sure you keep doing it, and that you make it to Disney, I want to offer you free year’s membership in the Fitness Protection Program. Now that my own son’s IEP is squared away I’m working on my own best next step and would love to invite you to become a beta tester before we roll the finished product out to the public.
Cheryl Strayed says, “Our most meaningful relationships are often those that continued beyond the juncture to which they came closest to ending.” Sorry I had to go dark on the coaching for a little while, but I’ve never stopped loving any of you and I’ve been dreaming of this system since 2013. The hardest work is making time to take care of ourselves, and I am HERE to do that work with you. So consider the running handled. I wish I could lighten your load but will settle for supporting you while you carry it. I hope we never end.
I'm gonna close this podcast with another Olivia Pope Quote: "You don't get to run. You are a gladiator. Gladiators don't run, they fight, they slay dragons, they wipe off the blood, they stitch up their wounds, and they live to fight another day." If you are a special needs parent, and you don't get to run, either, I see you and I am coming for you. Till then, keep an eye on www.fitnessprotection.com or follow the Facebook page www.facebook.com/fitnessprotectionllc