Dear Mama

Saturday, May 30, 2009

I have this ongoing love/hate relationship with my mother. Nothing I do is ever good enough. I thought the problem was solved when I delivered the world's most gorgeous grandbaby for her to call her own. But that has seemed to only complicate matters. At ten months, I put him into daycare after acquiring my real estate license. Both my parents decided this act was a hostile one. I became the world's worst mother and my child was doomed to be molested or abused. "You can't expect stranger's to love your child!" is what I was told. And I didn't. I'd leave him there for four hours a day max. He's still at the same daycare. Three days week. We gave him the month off and were considering an entire summer off, but he keeps asking when can he go back to school. He's only three, but he has friends he misses. He's an only child (and will be, at least for a while)so the opportunity to play with other kids is a good one. In August, he will be in the preschool part of their program. We considered moving him to the PreSchool in the local school district or even headstart. Both would save us money, seriously. But he loves his school so much we are going to pay for him to continue at private PreSchool. He has college students as parents. Any money we get goes to bills. And the kid goes to a private PreSchool. Yes, I am a terrible mother. My mother thinks every decision I make for Sun is the wrong one. She basis this on the fact that it is not the decision she would have made. Several times over she says, "I'm not going to say anything else anymore." A week later she's telling me what I did wrong. Always.

About 3 weeks ago we visited her in Chicago. I do this often but limit myself to a 3 day 2 night stay. Any longer than that and I may want to commit suicide. This time I planned a Monday - Sunday stay. My brother was graduating on the Sunday. I figure the weekday couldn't be too bad. She works all day and doesn't make it home until about 7 in the evening. Unfortunately, we had a derecho storm in my town, which is also called and "inland hurricane," that took out power for a week the Friday before I was to go to Chicago. So we left early. I got to spend the whole weekend with my mother. Ignoring her jabs and low blows. "Why don't you comb that out of his head and let me braid it?" Sun's hair is locing. *SMH* Saturday, she told me I need to give her my schedule of activities so she knows what's going on each day. I didn't have any "schedule." Any friends I have remaining in Chicago are crappy and always forget to return calls, or that I'm there, or whatever. Ok, that's just one. The other sleeps all day because she bartends at night. The third, lives here, she was up there, but still. We don't do anything but go to each other's houses and watch TV, play with Sun, and cook. She kept demanding my schedule on Sunday and I told her, rather than stress and disappoint myself by calling folk to see what is going on, I won't do anything if this schedule is needed so badly. I was sincere. It didn't bother me none. I just wanted to relax anyway. I did decide to take Sun to the zoo. Mother was thrilled. She let me take the car, which by the way is a pothole magnet, and gave money for parking ($19 yikes!)and food and toys. We went to the zoo. He saw the penguins, a hippo's butt, rode the train, ate some popcorn, saw a wolf, and then there was the jungle treetops. Think of McDonald's playland, except suspended really high in the air. Oh Sun was all for it. No problem. I am a cool mom and had sanitizing wipes in my bag. Up he goes.

And two hours later, he's yet to come down. All the other kids come down when called. Mind you, they also had other kids they came with. If there had been another kid he came with, and that kid came when called, so would Sun. But no. He said he wasn't coming down. At one point he climbed to the highest point and said he was going to sleep. I feared that threat was real. Which meant me, in my pretty mommy makeup, heels, and cutesy outfit, would have to climb up and in this thing to retrieve my child. Finally, he asks if he could take off his socks. YES! I tell him he has to climb all the way out the exit and I would take them for him. This works. He tells me as he makes his way down, "we're not going home." I hate to betray him, but as soon as he got to me, I snatched his behind up and straight to the bathroom we went. He will remember that moment. Even now, he no longer outright defies, but slowly makes his way to us when called from the park and playlands. Come to think of it, since that time he has not cried when leaving those places which he ALWAYS did. Point is, I told my mother all this. She had a fit. I obviously have no control over my child. Children are to be molded exactly the way we want them to be. She NEVER experienced what I am with my Sun (mind you I'm having a ball). I got to thinking, hmmm..... yep, she molded us pretty well. Maybe that's why all three of us started herbs by 14? One of my brother's just got his degree from and artsy school, that should explain him. The other is about to spend five years in high school. And me, I'm a hippie who let my hair loc into a bird's nest one summer. I had four or five boyfriends another summer. I'm a proud career student. And I'm considering rearranging my family into and African Matriarchy. I'm pretty sure she saw never that coming.

See, my thing is, not only does she have no issue with inserting her opinion, she also believes it's okay to tell me what a failure I am as a mother. She can't believe I don't give my child beef or bacon. Or that he eats at random times. Or that he is not a fat butterball. She told my father I am starving my child. My Sun is slim and has muscles. I don't know anyone who is suffering from starvation with muscles. He's three and has muscles!!! She also told me, with her hand about a foot from the ground, I'm that little. And that I will always only be a child to her. So whatever I have to say doesn't matter. Hmmm.... what she said didn't bother me, but that she actually attempts to say hurtful things does. This is why when I left for college in January 2001, I have never been back to her home for longer than two weeks since. I just don't get it. Then I think, maybe all parents are severely condescending and insulting of their children. Maybe it's me. Maybe telling her I refuse to allow anyone to consistently negatively criticize me for the sake of making themselves feel better, was wrong. She also told me people who can't take criticism are weak and will be ate alive. Come to think of it, I didn't say I can't, I said I won't. I just don't get it. Why fight with me? We are not competing for anything. Maybe she thinks so. She keeps saying I'm not smarter than her no matter what I think. I never thought I was. Or said so.

This stresses me because I really want her to be nice and loving and not evil. She's not evil. She's hateful. I didn't go to my brother's graduation. My husband came up that Thursday to pick up my Sun. His parents, who live in the Bahamas, were going to be in Indiana for his sister's track meet. It bumped with bro's graduation, so the plan was for him to grab the kid so he can spend time with his other grandparents. I just left as well. There was no way I was going to stick around that woman by myself. I could have went to my father's house. But his wife thinks I'm possessed with demons. No joke. They're Jehovah's Witnesses. Long story. I have decided I will no longer visit my parents unless I have my own hotel. And have brought my car. **sighs**


4 Responses to “Dear Mama”
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Good choice sis! Also limit your time around her. Constantly being around that kind of negativity and toxicness (is that a word)is detrimental to your health. It's hard when they are relatives but you gotta do what you gotta do, otherwise you'll end up sick.

Thanks, sincerely. For toxicness, I think the word is toxicity. This situation unnerves me because she is such a doll to outsiders. But she is a severe health risk. I've known this before. I just now am brave enough to take a firm stance.

Aww, I hear your exasperation...That IS tiring!!!...

First, I wanna say, When I saw the video of Sun in the treetop thingy and heard you talking to him, My first thoughts were, "Aww, she's a better mother than me." You sounded very patient, engaging, attentive and nurturing. (I'm not terrible by any stretch of the imagination, but am working on getting better at being in the moment with mine). You seem to have (or to be) mastering that.

Second, I hear you with drawing lines and making firm boundaries--even (and maybe especially) with family members. When my son was a few months old, my grandmother (who raised me) said, "I never imagined you with kids because you were always so evil". She watched him for the 1st year of his life(while I was at work) and when I picked him up she would always insinuate that he didn't want to go home and would prefer to stay there with her. Argghhh!! You know why? 'Cause she can always do everything better.

She was the first person in life to have taught me that I need to just always do me and eff what anyone else thinks, cause I couldn't do anything to please this woman--and whenever I finally thought I got it she would raise the bar.

Other things have happened that made me discontinue contact with her for the past year. I saw her Tuesday for the first time and she was so happy to see and engage with me...she was on her best behavior. And there were two other incidents in our history when I had to tell her a** off. So now the things she does to other family members she won't do to me (at least to my face. lol). I don't care that she and the rest of the family acts like, "Norissa is a bull!." I'm just happy not to have the bs in my life anymore. We teach ppl how to treat us and I think your having left early was a good teaching lesson. Like you said, "It's not that I can't, I WON'T"

My grandmother is the same way---giving, loving, alughing with the world, but wicked with all her family members. Perhaps, like my grandmother, your mother is so critical because on some level she is unhappy with herself.

---your twitter friend,

I'm convinced that the saying "mothers know best" only worked in the Leave it To Beaver days...

They dont understand what worked 'best' for them back in the day, doesn't always go well now.

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