Bossypants, Pirates & Anxiety : SOC

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Today’s (Optional) Writing Prompt: What causes you anxiety? Not just stress but true anxiety. How does your body and mind generally deal with it? How do YOU deal with it?


Exhibit A: THIS causes me anxiety.

And then this, Exhibit B:

Abby, one of our six-year-old twins, wrote these notes over the weekend in a torrent of tears. Her Friday folder, which comes home with notes from her teacher every other weekend, indicated that while Abby is “very intelligent and mature for her age,” she is also very “bossy” (teacher’s word, not mine, not that we don’t know this already) and this is causing “friction with friends.”

I’m anxious because I’m afraid she’s going to alienate everyone and end up a loner like me. I’m anxious because her father and I really lit into her about all of it and she cried terrible tears and in between heaving, jagged sobs, she said things like, “I feel like you hate me,” which then made ME want to cry. I felt as if we’d handled things harshly and she’s going to need therapy before she’s thirteen. Part of it is her drama-queen tendencies, and part of it was real, I could tell. We assured her we could never hate her, it’s her behavior that we’re unhappy with. But the notes are telling. And is it horrible that in the midst of all this, I was also feeling proud that she wrote them all by herself (it was her idea), no spelling help at all? Despite her reasons for having written them.

And then there’s my pirate girl, Izzy, who is quite happy being a loner and I’m more anxious about her eye patch than SHE is. In fact, she begged me to order a few more of the fun felt patches we found at, so I let her choose three. They’re already on their way. Still, I’m anxious. Not sure how long she’ll have to wear it, wondering if her vision in her bad eye is improving at all. Wondering if it will become problematic this summer. I hope the kids at school continue to be cool about it. But in between all of this, I’m just anxious.

Showing off her new dinosaur patch

And I’m anxious because Piper has a growth the size of a blueberry on the inside of her upper lip. I called the pediatrician and described it. He said unless it changes size/shape, that it can wait until her 6-month checkup, which is next week. But I am so anxious about it. Terrified it’s some tumor that’s going to take over her face and she’ll need surgery or that she could have some kind of mouth cancer and they’ll have to carve it out of her mouth. She’s my little red bean and it makes me anxious.

I’m also anxious because of the piece I’m working on for tomorrow, which is about my dad and the first time I remember meeting his partner, Kory. It’s a non-fiction/memoir piece, constructed from bits and pieces of memory. I never want to offend my dad (or anyone else I write about) on this blog. Which is ironic because there’s been a lot of chatter in the blogosphere lately about how far is too far, and what is too much to share virtually? They way I see it, a lot of this may end up in a book someday anyway…

Lastly, I’m anxious about my Voices of the Year post for BlogHer. I don’t know how finalists are selected. If the thumbs-up/votes count for it, or if it’s mostly the judges. Or both. I’m anxious because I might be a finalist and I’m anxious because I might NOT be a finalist. Either way the results might send me reeling. And I’m just plain anxious about even GOING to BlogHer. I might need to get some extra pills beforehand.

And now? I’m tired of the word anxious. Aren’t you? Thanks, Fadra, for letting me air all this out.

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  • Casey B

    Hi, Erin. 

    I’m sorry that you have so many things causing you anxiety in your life right now, but hope that some of them will be remedied as time goes on. It must have been very cathartic to get them out on the page/screen. 

    Best wishes, 


    • Erin margolin


      It was cathartic…and I was just looking at/admiring your poetry. I should try my hand at more of that. Any words of wisdom? Thank you so much for your continued support. It means a lot!

  • Mommakiss

    It seems like this ‘SOC’ type of post is like my every single post?! Heh. I love your words, though. My 1st grader had to write a note to a classmate after screaming at her. He’s the most passive kid I know, but she was in his space and wouldn’t get out and so he snapped. Dealing with that was NOT fun, so I feel ya.  Hope your anxiety calms soon – Also feel ya on that. Like hourly. 

    • Erin margolin


      I’m hooked on this SOC thing. I’ve lurked over there for awhile, but it’s a good outlet for me. I’m sorry you’re dealing with anxiety, too. It sucks. And I’m also sorry your 1st grader is writing notes similar to my daughter’s. Oy. Kids. WTF???

  • From Tracie

    Anxiety sucks!! I have a list of things that I’m anxious about revolving around my kid, too. It is so hard to let go and trust that things will work out (are we supposed to do that? I don’t even know). 

    Not being bossy can be hard (I have this on good authority from my Katarina who is a little bossy girl, herself). Maybe y’all could roll play good ways to suggest ideas to friends without being bossy (and include how to react when they don’t take your suggestions). 

    The fact that Izzy is doing great with the patch is great!! Maybe that just means that the kids aren’t giving her a hard time, and you did a great job preparing her and making it fun. I would say that is a mom win! I’ll be praying for Piper. 

    Write from your heart. No one could ask for anything else. I know you would never be purposefully hurtful, and I’m sure you dad knows that, too. 

    • Erin margolin


      I know my dad knows that, but it’s still hard to write some of this stuff. Regardless, there’s this need inside me to get it out. I really have a lot more to say, but…just not sure if it belongs on the blog or not…or if best reserved for the book, which I really hope to start working on this summer…

      p.s. meant to tell you i love your new FB banner thingie, the pic of you & Katarina? and the pic the other day you shared of her in that hat? STUNNING.


  • jlweinberg

    All I can say is that I can totally relate. It sucks being anxious and thinking, thinking, thinking about every. little. thing. You are not alone. My daughter sounds a lot like your Abby. She’s in a social skills group to help her work out some of those kinks. Anyhow, keep writing, get it out on the page and hopefully that will help lighten your load. XO

    • Erin margolin


      So I’m allowed to KVETCH?!!?
      I really loved your Passover post–the Moses one. I had to nominate it. Because I did not really survive our seder and by the time we got home I was at the end of my rope and growling at the kids through clenched teeth. It was horrible. I know my expectations are too high (esp for sitting thru seder), but I still was so tightly wound. Maybe if we’d been at our own house it would’ve been different. Sigh.


  • Angela Amman

    I am sorry you’re feeling so anxious about so many different things.  It’s hard when you’re worrying about all of those other people you love so very much and have things on your mind, like your own writing.  It’s overwhelming; I hope it helped at least a smidge to let some of it flow out here.

    • Erin margolin


      It did help! But then the next day there’s just more anxiety about something else. I need to get it under control. I have meds for it, but it’s hard to take them during the day because they make me tired. Or maybe it’s not really so much tired as it is the absence of the constant feeling of ZOMG! does that make sense?


  • Jana A (@jana0926)

    I’m anxious from reading all that. I’m sorry you’re feeling like this. I hope it all calms down soon. 

    • Erin margolin


      I didn’t mean for it to be contagious! Are you alright (passing the Xanax)?!


  • jessica

    I have been waking up anxious for a while now, about whatever child is having issues that day or had them the day before, about how much laundry I have, about pretty much anything I think too hard about for too long. I know the feeling and as a wise person tweeted to me “pass the meds.”

    • Erin margolin


      I honestly don’t know what I would be like or WHERE I would be without my meds. I just wish there wasn’t such a stigma attached to taking them.

      Also, I need to catch up with you. I think I saw on twitter that something happened at school with Ashlyn? is everything okay? Maybe it’s on your blog. Must go check.


  • Colleen

    I’m sorry you’re anxious about all those things, but I totally understand.  It sounds like our daughters are somewhat similar.  Punky even writes little notes like that to herself when she gets in big trouble.

    I bet the eye patch will be cool.  I had a friend who had to wear a patch when I was younger, and everyone wanted to wear one after that!

    • Erin margolin


      I’m lucky she’s so okay with the patch right now. I’m just hoping she won’t have to wear it for too long. We have an appt next week to see what progress she’s made (if any), and I’m desperately trying not to get my hopes up. I just know the kids will get meaner as they get older…

  • Nancy M. Campbell

    Anxiety can be the evil twin sister of parenthood. For every moment of wonder, there’s those moments of gut-churning panic. Can’t wait to read your story tomorrow.

    • Erin margolin


      I miss you. So much. I definitely had anxiety before I became a mom, but it’s certainly progressed to a level I’d never anticipated since I had Piper. Sigh. Though in some ways, I’m better about some things. I don’t know.


  • Didactic Pirate

    GAH… I share these anxieties with you.  I worry about my kid behaving in a way turns her into a loner.  I worry about her trying to be one on purpose.  Then I worry about her trying hard to make friends.  Then I worry about turning away from kids that could become actual lifelong friends.

    Then I worry about getting botulism from a rusty can of tuna, and that’s when I tell myself it’s time to chill out.

    Jesus, being a parent is hard.  

    On the plus side, I love your writing, I’m glad I know you now, and I think you should absolutely be a Voice of the Year for BlogHer.

    • Erin margolin

      DIdactic Pirate,

      I am so happy to see you here on my blog! Thank you for coming over to visit, it’s made me happy. Your post made me jump for joy. I think that YOU should be a Voice of the Year (which is why I nominated you, but still). I know it’s mostly women and whatever and you probably have no interest in it whatsoever, but…you amaze(d)  me.

      I am thrilled we’ve connected and am again so glad that @GDRPempress:twitter sent me over to your post that day.


  • Leighvslaundry

    Being a mommy is a huge source of anxiety, isn’t it? So much is out of our control but you must  that you are a good mom! Every hardship that our kids overcome make them stronger and more capable to survive in this crazy world. You’re doing a great job!

    • Erin margolin

      Thank you, Leigh! I need to believe in myself more. It’s just hard. Someday I know I”ll look back and regret wasting so much energy worrying!

  • Megan Matthieson

    love visiting you here.  love the pics.  wrapping you in a warm hug.  

    • Erin margolin


      And I love you. You are in my heart and in my thoughts for tomorrow. Only I thought it was today until a few hours ago! I know everything will go smoothly. I will check in on you soon. I know you’ll be in good hands.

  • Gooddayregularpeople

    I love this safe place you’ve found, Erin. And you’ve found a balance, too.

    This doesn’t read like oversharing to me, and it’s your blog. Your life. Your moment to tell it.

    • Erin margolin


      I hope the same holds true for the most recent post I’ve written. And I hope my dad agrees with you.

      I love you. Thank you. So very much.


  • Anonymous

    Learn the difference between good fear and bad fear. I know Tony Robbins moment here totally. This darling is your passion and passion and purpose go hand in hand. I am oozing from life class can ya tell. I think you have it nailed on being a voice of the year. Red bean is fine, probably something my memaw called a milk blister which will go away with time. Deep breathes momma, this too shall pass. I promise. Sending prayers up for you to not be so anxious and just breathe.

    • Erin margolin

      Thank you, sweet Angel!
      Always there for me with cheerful thoughts and lovely comments. I appreciate you so much!

  • Elizabeth Flora Ross

    Deep breaths, mama! It is all going to be OK. I can really relate to your concerns about Abby. My daughter has the same characteristics. She’s three, and we are trying to work with her, especially on the bossy part.

    I don’t think I was prepared for how much my daughter’s experiences would impact me emotionally. I want so badly for her to be happy and to succeed. I think I am more bothered by her missteps and negative experiences than she is. I guess that is normal?

    As far as your writing is concerned, I think you have no reason for concern. You are a great writer, and I’m thrilled you have these opportunities for your talent to shine through. Stand tall and proud. :)

    • Erin margolin


      Don’t worry yet about your daughter. Bossy at three I think is pretty normal b/c they’re just learning how powerful they are!! LOL

      ANd yes, you sound very normal with what you’re thinking about her and it was like I was reading my own thoughts….we mommies of girls need to stick together (wondering if a boy would’ve been easier? I’ll never know!)

  • Jackie

    Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and relax! I promise that everything will be fine!

    I had a bossy one too around the same age and now that she’s older (16) all is well. No problems at all.

    • Erin margolin


      Wanna know something funny? I WAS THE BOSSY ONE when I was growing up! LOL. I *think* I turned out okay mostly. Maybe?!?!

  • Bocafrau

    Erin, I’m still anxious when it comes to patching with my daughter. We figured out yesterday that it’s been 6 years and we’re not done, yet. Good news, she may be able to get a contact for her bad eye… she’s very excited about that. I’m trying not to get too anxious about that!!! Good luck for Blog Her, I’m sure either way you’ll do fine and have a good time once there. 

    • Erin margolin


      Thank you for letting me know I’m not alone! We have a checkup next week and I’m trying not to get my hopes up. We just ordered her more patches (which arrived yesterday), and she loves them, so that is a good thing, b/c I’m confident it’s going to be at least several more months…

  • Kate Sluiter

    I am no help at all.  I get anxious about everything and simply do not practice what I preach.  Right now I am anxious about whether or not Eddie’s rampant tantrums are because I was too easy as a parent up until now or whether it’s because he is 2-almost-3 or whether it’s his personality.  But I mostly assume it’s my fault as a mom.  I’m anxious that he is too bossy.  And that is my fault too because I am too bossy and I let him boss me.  I am so anxious about how people perceived me at BlogHer last year I am using the money excuse (which is fairly valid) and not even going this year.  And now I am anxious that I just told you that and that is going to make you more anxious.

    And I have an idea for a book…yes, a book…historical fiction about my grandma…that I am so anxious to put into practice I have decided I don’t know how to start so I haven’t.  But the reality is I am too scared and anxious of what my mom and her sisters will think that I refuse to let myself try.

    Oops. I just word vomited on your comments.

    And now I am anxious about that.


    • Erin margolin


      Your word vomiting? Was EXACTLY what I needed to hear/read. And I’m entranced because it sounds exactly like me. Like what I would write. And no worries, you can’t possibly make me any more anxious. Also? I let my kids boss me. I wish that you were coming to BlogHer. Then we could be anxious together.

      As for your book, I can relate about that, obviously, since you just read my post. If my blog posts freak the hell out of my family, how can I write a book???


  • Kimberly

    I am so sorry your anxious and they are all completely validated reasons to be anxious. Oy woman. You’ve got so much going on.
    Move closer to the screen. Closer…you feel that? I’m giving you a giant hug…and a vote.

    • Erin margolin


      I so needed that hug. How did you know? And guess what? I’m sending you one right back because YOU KICK ASS. Your posts have been blowing my mind lately.

      love, love, and MORE love,

  • stephanie

    I’m feeling anxious after reading too.  I’m sure things will all level off and your anxiety will go down soon!  Keep us posted!

    • Erin margolin

      Thank you, Stephanie! Will definitely keep you posted!

  • Anonymous

    Clearly, I understand anxiety or I wouldn’t have written my post in the first place. Whether it helps or not, your daughter Abby sounds an awful lot like me as a little girl. However, if you read my blog in detail, you’ll find that I might have been a bit of a loner but I’m okay with it now.

    And i want to hear more about that blueberry. Make sure everything’s okay.

    • Erin margolin


      You are so sweet. We have Piper’s checkup on Thursday, so will know more about the blueberry then. I’m trying not to stress about it, but it’s hard. sigh.

      And now that I think of it? I was pretty bossy when I was young, too. I have two younger brothers and apparently I was a witch.

      Also? I am PSYCHED you will be at BlogHer and I hope we’ll have more of a chance to chat. Unless I’m too doped up on anti-anxiety meds. LOL

  • Anonymous

    Also, I’ll be at BlogHer :)