Photo by Katherine Ortega Courtney

I entered Covid lockdown the mother of a child. As we re-enter society in these more normal but still strange times, I am now the mother of a creature whose behavior more closely resembles a cat than a child. I’m pretty sure most people refer to it as a “pre-teen”.

This realization hit me as I was approaching my pre-teen’s room to wake her up. It was almost the middle of the day. On my way, I also happened to wake up my cat, Ahi, who was napping on the mat on the bathroom floor. Ahi looked at me the…


Is this actually the shapeshifting trickster god? Signs point to yes. Photo by Katherine Ortega Courtney

I’m pretty sure my cats are Lokis. I wish I was talking about Loki the Marvel Character. I would gladly welcome him into my home. Unfortunately, I think these cats are more similar to the classic Norse god of mischief. According to norse-mythology.org, “Loki often runs afoul not only of societal expectations, but also of what we might call ’the laws of nature.’ ” This describes my cats perfectly. They don’t snuggle. They look at us, usually with disdain, only when they are hungry. They disappear and reappear like mirages, but with claws. Their one saving grace is that they…


Seeing humans in person again is hard. Don’t get me wrong, I like humans. I especially like the ones I’ve seen in person lately. But It is kind of exhausting. There is an additional layer of preparation involved that I really got used to doing without. I’m a little bit disappointed in myself because during the last year I said that I wouldn’t go back to the previous way of being. I like to think that I had become so enlightened that I would continue not wasting time on surface things, like make up and clothes. But as soon as…


Dads haven’t been getting much attention lately. I get it, we are all working very hard to eliminate toxic masculinity. It’s an important goal, but moms, it is only hurting ourselves if we ignore the many men out there who are our allies.

I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by good men my whole life. I had a great dad and brother, caring uncles and grandfathers, and later a wonderful husband. Without a doubt, the support and love of the men in my life has made a huge positive difference in my life. …


Things haven’t been “going back to normal” for that long. It is frightening how quickly we fall back into our old patterns.

I am the co-director of the Anna, Age Eight Institute for the prevention of childhood trauma. It’s a big job with a seemingly impossible mission. And yet we have a framework, we have a strategy, and every day we see progress in the communities we work with across New Mexico. Every day, we also see reason after reason why change is hard. Over the last 15 months, I’ve heard the phrase “back to normal” over and over again…


Epiphanies are weird. You don’t know where they come from, but when they hit you, they can hit you hard. I had one this morning and it has left me feeling guilty.

Ever since I became a mom, I have been in awe of other moms. I have looked at many friends and asked with wide-eyed wonder, “How do you do it?”

I’ve also similarly discussed friends with other friends. “I don’t know how she does it”. I truly am in awe of women who are able to manage successful careers while also being awesome moms. …


I am a little raw and not just where my stray eyebrow hairs were ripped out by their roots

Yesterday I got my eyebrows done for the first time in over a year. Eyebrows have always been a big deal for me. I know that sounds shallow, but to me it is like some kind of grooming badge. It shows you care. I did them myself for many years in my 20’s, through college and grad school. And once I had an actual job, I discovered the joy of waxing. And then threading. And then came Covid. For a year, I kind of let them go. Truth be told, I don’t think anyone noticed. …


I have a strange tendency to boast about the fact that TV shows and movies rarely make me cry. I don’t know why this is something to be proud of, and the incidence of my eyes getting watery has definitely increased since I became a mom.

I went down some interesting Netflix and Hulu rabbit holes during the bizarre period of existence of the last year. As we get ready for mother’s day, I can’t stop thinking about a scene in a Korean show called “The Light in Your Eyes”. This thing stabbed me in the feelings. I rewatched it…


I’ve always preferred not knowing when it is my last time doing something. I tend to overthink things and if I know, for example, that it is the last time I’ll be going into my office, it loses its purity, and rather than experiencing the moment in its pure form, I’m busy assigning meaning to it.

A year ago tomorrow was my last day in my office.

A year ago today, was the last time I ate inside a restaurant. There was definitely a weird vibe in the air. An undercurrent of fear and unknown. I vividly remember our waitress…


When my daughter was about two, I developed an allergy to shellfish. I was sitting at a restaurant happily chomping down shrimp fajitas, while my neck was slowly turning red. Thankfully, my husband noticed and we went home where I downed some Benadryl. Luckily, I didn’t end up going into anaphylaxis. While I was on the phone with the nurse advisor, I remember thinking only one thing. “I don’t have time for this”.

I wasn’t worried about my health, I was worried about squeezing in an appointment with an allergy doctor. I couldn’t handle one more responsibility. I struggled with…

Katherine Ortega Courtney

Mom, writer, wife, PhD, daughter, institute director,hater of laundry, and co-author of Anna, Age Eight; 100% Community; and Attack of the Three-Headed Hydras

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