Although I only work part time as a therapist, some would say it’s a stressful job. On a regular basis, I deal with individuals and couples who are emotionally unstable, or in significant distress, or who are yelling at each other (or me). But I say it is the other hours that are harder, when I am parenting three kids under five. And this is why.
1. My clients do not bite me.
Really! Not even once. Nor, in fact, do they bite each other. No biting at all happens in my office, even during the most acrimonious of marital disputes. Suffice it to say, that is not the case at home, and I have the red marks on my shoulder to prove it.
2. My clients never follow me into the restroom.
Shockingly, this has never once transpired. They courteously wait for our session to begin until both I and they are done using the facilities. However, at home, no such luck, particularly if I have the audacity to use “their” bathroom, otherwise known as the one on the main floor of our home.
3. My clients have never insisted on hanging out with me at midnight.
At no point in my career have I been entreated to schedule a midnight counseling session, even in the middle of a contentious divorce or crippling bout of anxiety. Instead, my clients adhere to the more civilized hours of 7am-8pm for therapy appointments. Would that my baby followed this social convention.
4. I do not have to feed my clients.
Not one client has ever asked me for: a sandwich, a popsicle, milk, a jelly bean, frozen yogurt, pizza, or macaroni. In fact I haven’t even been asked for a cough drop. At home, however, this appears to be my primary function, aside from wiping. Relatedly….
5. I do not have to wipe my clients.
Not only that, but I don’t have to escort them to the restroom and make sure they do not urinate on the backs of their corporate casual khakis. And I don’t even think they resent me for not offering.
6. My clients do not yell if I sit down.
In fact, I believe they would be uncomfortable if I rocked from side to side while we spoke, or dropped to the floor and rolled around to break the tension of another therapeutic revelation. Yet, strangely enough, my baby requests these two behaviors constantly and appears to find the idea of me sitting quietly to be extremely aversive.
7. My clients do not reach into my mouth and nose.
Not even once, in the midst of the most serious and life-altering of discussions, has a client asked to soothe himself by stroking my nose hairs. Nor has a client contemplatively rubbed my teeth and tongue while discussing his family of origin. Not so with my one year old, unfortunately.
8. My clients dress themselves.
I have not yet had a therapy session in the nude. Or with the client only wearing underwear screaming “I shake my booty” and laughing like a lunatic. It is probable that this would be considered a breach of etiquette in the therapy room. At home, however, it merely means it’s a Tuesday.
9. My clients pay me.
They reasonably expect to compensate me financially for my time and effort. Yet, at home, where my effort is unequalled, I am not compensated at all, but, to add insult to financial injury, I pay out the nose to purchase things I don’t even personally use. Like a princess tent.
10. My clients say hello to me.
Not even once have I been greeted by “I HAD NIGHT MIRRORS ALL NIGHT AND YOU DIDN’T KNOW AND COME GET ME.” Or, “I WETTED THE SHEET! I ALL WET!” shrieked by a urine soaked toddler.
However, my clients are generally not as cute as my kids, so I guess it evens out. Kind of.
Samantha Rodman blogs as Dr. Psych Mom at http://www.drpsychmom.com