Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Th Perfect Mother

I was not a perfect mother. Matter of fact - I was FAR from it. I had just turned 16 when my daughter was born and I had no clue how to be a mother.

I was a yeller and I was way too strict. I used a little paint stirrer stick for spankings. I expected A's when B's and C's should have sufficed. I did not buy her name brand clothes and for that she suffered ridicule from her peers. She didn't get to go to all the functions she wanted to go to, and according to her when she did go she felt like she was a "charity case".
I was a stay-at-home mother and we just didn't have the money for these things every time.

I took my child to my shrink years ago when she was 15 and asked her forgiveness and along with my shrink explained why I mothered in the fashion that I did. I was abused horribly as a child, and my mother had it even worse when she was a child. I'm not placing blame, just explaining how things turned out the way they did.

Over the next 15 years, I allowed her to "vent" to me about how bad her childhood was. She was allowed to say whatever she needed to say and I answered any questions she had. I won't attempt to guess how many times I have apologized for my actions. I also know that no matter how many times I apologize, nothing could make up for the actions she suffered from.

As a grandmother, the first few years of the grandchildren's lives I kept them a lot. The first two, I kept for days at a time several times a month for 2 or 3 years. I enjoyed every minute of it. Once I went to work outside the home, and as my mental health has become worse, I have had no energy - physical or mental - to keep them or go to games and other functions that they participate in. Working from 8 until 5 every day then going straight to a ball game or whatever it happened to be was just too much for me. This caused friction with my daughter as well.

Her youngest child, has behavioral issues and does not like to be told "No" nor be told what to do. She will for instance, aggravate the dogs and when told to stop she will turnright around and do it again. She doesn't allow adults to talk without constantly interupting them. I had never been around a child who behaved this way and after trying to keep her at my home without her mother once, and having to call her mother to come get her, (which NEVER happened with the others), I knew I could not keep her for visits. Because of this, my daughter told us that if we can't keep her we can't keep the other two either. She said it wasn't fair.

A few months ago, she made several comments pertaining to her childhood and how sorry it was and how she would never put her children through the same thing. She HATED how she couldn't wear "nice" clothes and she HATED how she couldn't go to all the extracurricular activities she wanted to go to and she was determined her kids would have better.

After the last vent session, and a comment made on facebook about how she believed she was born to aliens and put in our family, I decided in my heart that I was finished letting her say things to me about it all. I cannot take it back and I feel like 15 years of letting her "vent" is enough. As I get older these things were beginning to wear on me more and more and my mental health is not in the category of "healthy" to begin with.

I wrote her a letter and told her I no longer wanted her to tell me about how bad a mother I was and how bad her childhood was. I tried to explain it in as nice a way possible while not taking away from the fact she did have a rough childhood.

Since then, she has had very little to do with me. Mothers Day came and went with no word. This isn't the first Mothers Day I've been ignored, but it bothered me the most.

I'm sorry I wasn't a perfect mother. I'm sorry she felt so "different" from the other kids because she didn't have the name brand clothes. I'm sorry she didn't get to go to every function and that she felt she was a charity case. I did the best I knew how to do at the time, with the resources available to us on my husbands income. I would have loved to have had more clothes instead of wearing the same 2 or 3 dresses to church every week. I would have loved to have been able to do some things I enjoyed as well. Instead I was too busy doing my best to keep a home for four people on a one person budget.

I am very happy that her husband is able to provide all these things on his income alone so that she doesn't have to work. He obviously makes much more money that her daddy did. I am happy that her kids won't come to her one day and complain about what they didn't have or where they didn't get to go. I hope she never has to feel the way I feel at this stage in my life.

4 comments:

A NURSE said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Just me said...

To A Nurse....I cannot tell you how much your comment touched me.

I have lived with guilt all these years. As I have gotten older though, I have found it harder to hold on to the guilt and that too made me feel guilty...lol.

Thank you so much for your reminder. I needed to hear it. I DID do the best I knew how at that time.

Holler back anytime and you're always welcome to email.

Raine said...

You did do the best you could. It may be constructive to vent feelings once or twice but to hang onto them for 15 years, well I see something wrong with that. I went to therapy to try and become a better mother to my kids. We had little money their whole childhood and my own childhood was spent in abject poverty. Abusing my mother over my childhood would just be cruel and pointless. It would serve no purpose other than to hurt her. I can't help but wonder what your daughter's motives are. I have one child who thanks me and the other child cast blame for a while and then grew up some. I hope you are feeling better about it and that your daughter grows up some and starts treating you better

Manish Prabhat's Page said...

Paasing judgment on others,especially for the near and dear ones, who should be loved and admired, has become a fashion with the new generation. How can a man judge another. What superiority he/she has over the other? People generally do their best as per prevailing circumstances. But others can not understand that. Raising children by a mother is the best and the humblest contribution made by a mother to her children's personality. It is pitiable that a child judges his/ her mother. In our human culture mother is next to God! The dealings of God can not be judged by humans. Humans are selfish and emotional. They pass comments with the tint of their emotions. So we should not bother. If we are satisfied with our deeds, we should feel happy and enjoy life.