For the last 25 years I’ve had a successful career in the field of cat behavior consulting. I am very fortunate, after all these years, to be considered a well-respected expert. I’ve worked hard in this profession and am very well-known in the field. So it’s very common for someone to come up to me while I’m doing my weekly grocery shopping or picking my kids up at school, in order to ask my advice about their misbehaving cats.
When Kae and I decided to write Cookies for Dinner I knew it would present a very different image of me but I didn’t fully think it through in terms of how strange it would feel to be viewed by some as an accomplished leader in my field and then viewed by others as a worrying, germophobe whose mothering skills sometime resemble I Love Lucy. You see, Kae and I didn’t just write touching stories about motherhood – no, not us – we wrote about our most embarrassing moments. For my part, I confessed that I have OCD and what it’s like adopting children while going through menopause (hot flashes and all).
So now when I get stopped in public I never know whether I’m going to be questioned about why cats pee outside of the litter box or what it was like for a middle-age, out-of-shape woman to be locked out of the house in my swimsuit. It used to be that people would come up to thank me for my wisdom on animal behavior but now people come up to thank for making them feel better about their own parenting skills now that they’ve read about mine.
It will probably take a little while for me to adjust to this dual identity. For right now though, when I see people coming toward me, if they have a frown they’re probably upset about a cat problem; if they have a huge smile then it’s because they’re excited about meeting the woman who makes them look like Mother of the Year.