Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Apron Strings

You know what I hate?

I hate that even though I am nearly 33 years old and a wife and mother, my own mother can reduce me to a sniveling, pimply adolescent with one sentence.

"Feeling sorry for yourself today?"

Yeah, that'll do it.

Especially after I have been waiting for her in a restaurant for 20 minutes, at a time that she demanded, regardless of my own needs and wishes. My mom and I have a complicated relationship; but maybe everyone has a complicated one with their mothers.

Mine is complicated because I am not the favorite child. I was for a brief four years when I was the only child in our young, little family. Then, my brother was born. The first grandson on both sides of the family and the first boy in thirty years. Yeah, it was like Jesus was born all over again.

My brother was a cuddly, loving, mischievous child. I was a moody, distant bookworm. I always felt like a square peg in a round hole in my family; I just didn't fit.

Then, I grew up and moved away for a few years, which helped my relationship with my family tremendously. My mom and I are usually pretty close. We speak most days. We now live within fifteen minutes of each other.

Occasionally, the tension from the past rears its vicious head and it did yesterday. I am sick. I am tired. And, I am menstruating. Not a good mix.

My brother and his family live with my parents, which could be a whole 'nother series of posts about things I hate, and this is a source of conflict between my mom and I.

The thing that got me yesterday was that my mom had baked cupcakes and taken them to my niece's school for her birthday. She then took her out of school and spent the afternoon with her. Nice, right? It is. The problem is she doesn't do things like this for my daughter. She picks my other niece up from the sitter three days out of five.

Coincidentally, this is the same sitter that my son goes to twice a week for three hours. Do you see where this is going? Yeah, she leaves my son there, even though I am usually minutes behind her to pick him up; in fact, we often see each other there. Nice, huh?

Every so often, I just can't hear it anymore. I can't listen to the things my mom does for my nieces, whom I adore. I'm jealous, I am. My kids are wonderful but because they don't reside at their address, they are somehow less important. Less special. Less.

This pisses me off and I try to tell my mom. Usually, though, it comes out wrong and then she says things like, "Feeling sorry for yourself today, Toni?" And, then, I cry because I am still at heart that misfit of a child who wants her mom's affection and attention.

My mom isn't all bad. She is very fair with material items that she buys for all the grandchildren. She does love my children. She would come in a second if there was an emergency or a desperate need.

But I want her to not wait until there is a need. I want her to want to see my kids because they are mine. I think she should try even harder to see my children because of the time she spends with my nieces. She doesn't, though, and it hurts. But, we are at an impasse. She sees my hurt as jealousy and irrational. She doesn't recognize that my feelings are at least a little justified. She just sees me as a whiny, grouchy kid looking for a reason to feel sorry for myself.

And, yes, I know we need therapy. I begged for it as an adolescent. My parents, though, don't believe in that kind of money wasting stuff. So, I bottle up this anger and hurt and it bubbles up now and again to little avail. *sigh*

You bloggy friends are just the best; thanks for listening.


Life As I Know It said...

Oh, Toni, I'm so so sorry. That was a heart wrenching post.
Mother/daughter relationships are complicated. I hope things get better!

Anonymous said...

Toni, I wouldn't necessarily agree with you that you 'need therapy'. I think it's natural to carry around some baggage from our past--I know I do. It's awful that your Mum chose to pick favourites. I also think it was rude of her to show up 20 minutes late and then twist it to make you feel bad.

I know wholeheartedly that blogs are cathartic at times and it helps to get those thoughts out, organised and down somewhere.

Although you obviously love your mother, I can feel the pain in your words. Not only is she hurting herself by distancing herself from you, but she's hurting your children too.

I wish only the best for you (((((((hugs)))))))

MamaGeek said...

Dude. May I suggest a little retail therapy? I wish I still lived in OH. I swear I would come pick you up and take you out for lunch.

"Feeling sorry for yourself today?" would drive me from crazy mad to batshit insane in 2.1 seconds or less.

My IL's have a daughter that still lives with them and it resignates many of the same feelings. Hang in there - you know you are much better off.

So, when can I pick you up for lunch?

Kellan said...

I was never the favorite child either. Somewhere along the way I reconciled that and went on with my life. You will too! You are still young and it all hurts and it is real pain, but one day you will reconcile the anger and hurt feelings and jealousy - you will. I hope it is soon and you find peace. It is not easy. What I learned is that - you can not change people and you can not make people be the way you want them to be - NO MATTER WHAT! You either accept the situation or the person - or you don't. Once you accept it - things start to change - it's strange. It's a matter of letting go of some things and then things start to sort of reallign. I wish your relationship with your mother was easier - better - with regard to these things. I hope you find a balance soon and find peace about these things. I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers Toni, I know it hurts. Take care - Kellan

Nap Warden said...

Well Toni, family is a complicated thing. I/my bro and sis were the least favorite of the grandchildren...Let me tell you, we knew it. My Sis is out of the picture (her choice), so my babies are really the only grandkids now. I am lucky that I have a great Mom...I had sucky grandparents...It's tough.

Anonymous said...

Oh, T, that is not fair to get bad in-laws and parents who do favorites. I totally feel for you. Your mother should not be allowed to say such things to you. It's wrong. My in-laws did the favorite thing, and it's one of the reasons my hubby one wants one child. I'm so sorry, diva. I love you. I wish you were near me...I'm not afraid of her. My Italian realitives have a red phone to Sicily. I got connections....

suchsimplepleasures said...

oh honey...i'm so sorry that you are so unhappy and angry!! it's very frustrating...and, i totally feel for you!!
i'm sending gigantic hugs...

Melissa said...

That is totally brutal. I completely understand where you are coming from.

The whole mom/daughter thing is sooo complex, even under the best of circumstances. big hug, and hang in there.

The Egel Nest said...

Does your mom read your blog? Just curious...

Glad that my mom never says these things to me :)

The Egel Nest

transplantingme said...

toni - i feel for you. families can really suck sometimes. mothers and daughters can be so difficult. i hope things improve.

Bradley's Mom said...

Hi Toni:

I am sorry you are suffering through this. I think a lot of family relationships are hard, but they can ALWAYS improve.

I pray that your Mom will realize how precious you and your children are, and start treating you better, as you deserve.

I can identify with this, truly, as my 2 older brothers (twins) were ALWAYS the favorites, and I the black sheep. From this I believe I learned to treat my own children better, and not to play favorites. It causes much hurt.

I am sending lots of love your way.

Linda xoxoxo