Mothers, Daughters, Mothers

I keep going over it in my head, trying to make sense of what I was told.  I keep trying to forget it, trying to move past it.  I keep trying to understand it.

I am not a perfect mom.  I yell too much, I give in too quick, I don’t give in enough.  I don’t always offer enough vegetables, I let my kid eat chocolate and red dye, and maybe when things are crazy and work is nuts, I let her have McDonalds more than I should.  But I try.  I try hard every day to be a better mom.  I’m a good mom.  I love my kids.  I love them when they are challenging.  I love them when they are puking on me, or keeping me from sleeping, and even when they may wish my death so they can inherit my jewelry*.

I’m a good mom, but my mom doesn’t think so.

When she was here, every time I tried to tow the line with M, to discipline her or help her work on her best behavior, she was there with an “and” or an “or”.  Only when I finally told her to stop undermining my authority did it stop.

Our estrangement continues, with a side of drama of course.  She has invited herself here for the holidays, which led to me needing to make it clear that while I am letting her have access to the girls, and communicating about them, things are definitely back to OK with us.  My discussion of this with my father (who things continue to get better with, yay therapy!), lead to the revelation about how she feels about my parenting.

I know I do not live up to my mother’s expectations/hopes.  I wear bras (under wire even!), I work in corporate America, I got married, I changed my name, I used pain meds during labor, I tend towards being a moderate liberal, I eat red meat, I don’t read parenting books, I vaccinate.

It seems like she can’t see her own parenting successes.  I work in male dominated field and hold my own, success by a lot of feminist standards.  I have a successful career.  I have a good relationship with my husband.  I gave birth to two healthy girls.  I breastfed one of them for 18 months, and I’m on track to do that again.  I have yet to send my kid to school in dirty underwear.

My mom wasn’t a perfect mom, but she was a good mom.  She did a good job with me, with my brother.  The issues we have now are more about the evolution of mother/child relationships.

I can deal with the looks in the grocery store, I can avoid the crazy people on message boards, but how do I deal with this? How do I move past it?

How do I not make the same mistakes? I think a lot about parenting.  My reflections on growing up with a dad suffering from untreated PTSD.  The whole Bad is the new black controversy.  The horrific beating of a sixteen year old girl by her scum bag father.  Lately I’ve been thinking about how I can help my girls grow up to be good people, and still have them think I’m a good mom.  I’ve been trying not to think about what my mom thinks about me.


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One Comment

  1. Posted November 6, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    I love this post, Amelia, and am glad I found you. This is an issue I’ve had with my mom too, in a different form, but the hurt feelings are there. My mom denies, says she thinks I’m a good mom, but her actions often don’t support that. It’s better now that I’m older. Kudos to therapy helping your Dad and you.
    The issue of what our kids turn out to be like vs. what we want is SO on my mind the last few years, because my oldest is 17 years (youngest of four is ten months!) and some things about him are not what I expected…and even though I’m smart enough and well read enough for God’s sake, it’s still a shock- but it shouldn’t be. It’s fascinating.
    Maggie May recently posted..This Is Halloween!

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