Thursday, 6 December 2012

Newborns are not important, just my mothers feelings.

I've been thinking for some time how to go about with my story, after my introduction I wasn't sure where to start. Maybe I should start with the present.

I gave birth to my first child this past year. Being a mother and a wife is extremely rewarding for me but it's also made me realize exactly what my mother gave up when she left. When my baby was due to be born my mother came to town to meet her grand-child and(apparently), to help. For a very long time I had been under the impression that my mother had finally reached a certain level of maturity and had also come to grips with the realization of what she missed out on. When my child was born, I realized her 'understanding' was more of a ruse then some kind of profound realization.


Being a mature adult when your own mother is incapable of adult reasoning is a kind of frustration that only others in similar situations can understand. When you find yourself giving advice to your mother, but never getting advice; When you have to point out cautiously how a situation could have been better handled so it doesn't become an attack on her; When you're hurt by her actions but she's the victim; only then will you be able to understand how frustrating it is to have a mother like mine. So... what happened the week my baby was born?

My mother stayed with my half sister and her family(first mistake) when she visited this past summer. This arrangement is something that I came to seriously regret.

Initially, I was the one who picked my mother up from the airport. I drove our rather dirty truck to pick her up and greeted my mother with a smile and a kiss when she got into the vehicle. She proceeded to tell me about her flight and the pleasant gentleman she spoke with, she also commented on the dirty truck. We arrived at my home, newly purchased last year and a work in progress, but none too impressive by the look on my mothers face. I brought her through the yard, we went to the back door. I showed her the tree that I love, the flowers in my garden, the vegetables I was growing, and the shed my husband tinkers in. She noticed the dog poop. I brought her into the back door, and asked her to come see the new HE washer and dryer we had in the basement. I showed her how they worked and explained how my husband had done the plumbing and was working on renovating the basement. She saw the bags of recycling and the  timber on the floor. Upstairs we went and everything that we had done in our house was overshadowed by what we hadn't. The paint in the kitchen didn't replace the old cupboards, the new flooring didn't fix the creaks, the finished nursery and bathroom didn't make up for the unfinished master-bedroom. I forgot to mention the dust on the bottom half of the coffee table, the living-room was, really, only superficially clean. Lets not forget I was already 1 week past my due date feeling eternally pregnant. All these criticisms within the first half hour of my mothers arrival should have made me second guess the decision for her to stay with my half sister but I just couldn't wait to get her out of my house.


My mother was here for 8 days when I finally had my baby. We brought our baby home and had family visit that night(second mistake). My husband bought some wine(third mistake) and my mother par-took in that wine, I believe she had 3 or 4 glasses. She was over the top with how wonderful her gifts she brought were, she bragged about signing up for the "Disney movie club", and explained the various things she did for us when we were babies (myself and my half sister...awkward). My sister and her husband had endured 8 days with my mother, apparently as critical as when she had came off the plane. The car ride home for them after the visit at my house ended up in a wine induced, swear-laden argument, over a singer started by my mother. It escalated into my mother berating my brother-in-law, she called him names, she made him feel like dirt, she made fun of his interests, and  she insinuated there was something wrong with him because he's generally quiet. My brother-in-law lost it on her and said she was not a mother(essentially true), she was overly critical of her children(very true), and she was not welcome in their home anymore(end of relationship with my half sister).


The day after we brought our baby home is the day I of course found out about the argument. My mother was dropped off at my home with my niece, and she told me all about how my brother-in-law went off the deep-end. She told me how she apologized to my niece and how my brother-in-law didn't. She told me how unsupportive he is of my sister, how lazy he is, how weird he is, and how he is essentially a bad person. I sat in my bed, exhausted, holding my newborn baby, listening to her recall what my brother-in-law said to her, and held back how I really felt. I was angry at my mother for being incredibly selfish. I was angry at her for blaming my brother-in-law for something she started. I was dying to say that everything he said was the truth, but I didn't say it. I just sat their with a calm expression, wanting to scream at her, but just quietly agreeing that yes, my brother-in-law was wrong and she was right. I cried for an hour after she left that day, I held my baby and promised him that I would never ever do anything like that to him, I'd rather die then hurt my children like that.

The next 3 days were unpleasant. My mother went and stayed with my brother and his family. Everyday I dreaded my mothers visit, she did nothing but talk about my sister and her husband and how they really hurt her feelings. She also continually badgered me about how the airconditioning was too low, how my living-room should be better organized, how much laundry I had to do, and how unhealthy the food my mother-in-law brought me was. I felt like I couldn't breathe around her for fear that I was doing it wrong. The day my mother finally left for home was the best day I had had since my baby was born, and that's a sad realization.


A few weeks after my mother left, my brother confided that her spouse had been jailed for 3 weeks and released two days before she flew to come visit us. We don't know much about her spouse, other then he's a bit of a flake, and upon further research has some kind of extensive criminal record. I recently recounted the events that took place with my mother over a conversation and gave her the opportunity to tell me about the "stress" that plagued her while she was here. She chose to tell me she was stressed about her divorce and failed to reveal her spouses various misgivings. As much as I want to blame her behaviour during the week I had my baby on her ridiculous personal life, the real problem is my mother. She chose to react rather then to think. She chose to take something beautiful and happy away from me and my family. My mother chose, and continues to choose her feelings over the feelings of her children. I would love to tell you that this is the only time that something so hurtful, so outrageous has happened, but I'd be lying. This is one of many disastrous events that has plagued my relationship with my mother, it's a peek inside the life of a child devoid of true maternal compassion. This is my life.

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