Parental Stress Disorder


The call came in at 10:30pm.  No one calls me that late, so I instantly knew something must be wrong. “Hey mom, I have a little problem..” It was my son. My slumbering stomach ground into CRM (Code Red Mode) and I stumbled into the bathroom to grab the bottle of Pepto Bismol.  I needed to act fast to blunt the effects of PSDParental Stress Disorder.

My first attack of PSD hit when I was a brand new mom out at my first, post birth, engagement; newborn baby in tow. All of the officer’s wives had been invited to the XO’s house for a luncheon. Our husbands were about to deploy and this was a social, as well as informational, get together. The XO is second in command on a Navy ship, and his home was just this side of a museum. His lovely wife had collectibles from all over the world displayed in each elegant room.

My new, adorable baby and I were the center of attention, and as such were given premium seating in a gorgeous, whitechair wing back chair. As the meeting got under way, I began to feed my precious pumpkin her bottle. Every so often I would look up and meet with a tender glance from one of the other wives. I felt so happy, so proud, so content, so…wet?

It took me about a minute to interpret what I was witnessing. Formula was bubbling- no, gushing, out of my baby’s mouth, oozing over her dress, cascading over my arm and puddling on the fabric of this beautifully upholstered chair. I was frozen in dizzying horror, stuck in a time loop, locked in a catatonic state, my mental fog shattered when I heard a voice urgently squawking “CINDY! Your baby is vomiting!”

But there I sat, still staring at this event as if I was a disconnected by-stander.  It was like witnessing a killer whale give birth at Sea’s unsettling and gross , yet fascinating and… ”CINDY!  What’s the matter with your baby!?” I stared in the direction of the questioner..”hey lady! “ I wanted to shout back, “I just delivered Shamu here a few weeks ago, how do I know what’s wrong with her?”

Baby-Shamu-and-momI cannot dwell on the details of that day, of that chair, of that sour little dress and of the horror I felt when I heard someone chirp “I guess she just didn’t get that last bubble..”

Parenting is not for the faint of heart, and projectile vomiting is the least of it. I could never have imagined the stress I’d encounter worrying over blotchy moles, botched exams, busted windows, bent fenders and broken hearts. There is a vulnerability like nothing else in life that comes with being a mother..that’s simply the way it is.

It was just a few years ago that I was finally able to shave the roughest edges off my PSD. One of my grown children was going through a particularly rough time and I was making myself sick with worry. I remember very clearly getting on my knees and audibly telling God that I needed him to take over. I had to almost ceremonially unclench my grip and worldvisualize myself handing all four of my kids to him. That was a real turning point in my life.  I only wish I hadn’t waited as long as I did to finally whisper “your will, not mine, be done!” My PSD is pretty well controlled now that I’m in my fifties, my only weakness is still my stomach- but there’s medication for that so it’s all good.

My son’s call that night was about a spider infestation he discovered in his short term rental. Once I realized there hadn’t been a car accident, my stomach stopped grinding and growling. Of course when I fell back asleep I dreamt about him being bitten to bits by a tsunami of black widows…so I guess my subconscious mind was still grappling with the whole buggy situation…

Hmmm, now that I think about it, that was  a pretty horrendous dream…I’d better google the possible side-effects of too much Pepto…


1 Samuel 1:27-28 I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.

Sausage, Peppers and Onions


 Marsala wine adds extra flavor to this old favorite.

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oilsausage and peppers
  • 1 pound sweet sausage
  • 2 sliced red bell peppers
  • 2 sliced yellow onions
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1 cup MARSALA wine
  • 1 (15oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4-6 sandwich rolls

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.  Add sausages and brown, approx. 7-10 minutes. Remove from pan and place on paper towels.

Add peppers, onions, salt and pepper to the pan and cook until golden..not soggy. Add the garlic, oregano, basil, toss for about two minutes.

Add tomato paste and stir, add wine, tomatoes and red pepper flakes- simmer.

Cut the sausages into 4 pieces each and add to the sauce..simmer for an additional 20 minutes.

Spoon into rolls- sprinkle parmesan on top.  

*DiGiorno 5oz parmesan is BOGO at Publix this week.

Thank-you Debbie!  ( Giada De Laurentiis recipe )