Thursday, April 17, 2008

On Being A Mom

I probably wasn't the best mom in the world. Sure, I did a lot of things right, but I also did a lot of things wrong.

When your children are born, you aren't given an instruction manual. You do what you can with what you learned from your parents, grandparents, your friends and the media. You try your best to correct mistakes that your own parents made.

All too soon they are all grown up and off making lives of their own. You cross your fingers and maybe even say a prayer that what you taught them, the example you set for them, was good enough.

If anything, I think I've done a better job at being a mom of my now adult children. I don't interfere with how they raise their kids. I don't butt in with the way they spend their money. I don't criticize their housekeeping skills. I am still available to listen or lend a few dollars.

Basically, I've learned to let go. Sure they are still my children, but I try think of them (and try to treat them as) treasured friends. It's the same relationship I have with my own mom now.

But I've started to wonder about something. I don't think they think of me that way yet. The older treasured friend kind of thing. I think I'm still "mom." The same mom who built them up but also let them down. They haven't yet reached the point where they can forgive and forget some of the past.. something they might more readily do with a friend.

My children were not perfect. (I don't know of any who are, with the exception maybe of my grandchildren.) They provided me with many, many moments of happiness and pride. They also provided me with many, many moments of worry and heartache. It comes with the territory.

Now that they are older, I've put away the not-so-good memories. I choose instead to cherish the fond ones. I hope someday soon they will be able to do the same with me.

It irritates the hell out of them when I go public like this on my blog. I've tried my best not to do it when there were soooo many times when I could have. I believe part of the reason is that people will comment about how they should respect me more or treat me better.. the kind of comments one would expect on a post like this.

I'm at the point, at least for right now, when I feel like I don't have to censor every damn thing I want to say for fear of how they may feel as long as I don't get too detailed. I honestly can't recall when the last time was that one of them gave me the same consideration. When any of them put my feelings first.

I imagine after this post is read (and I know it will be thanks to sitemeter) that I will be once again put in the proverbial doghouse. It's not so bad there though. It's where hubby is. It's where all of you are.

No, I'm not "back" to blogging yet. I have two posts to do today where I have to mention links. The one for this post is natural acne treatment.

20 comments:

Misty Dawn said...

I don't see any "going public" here that any reasonable and sensible adults would have a right to say anything about, let alone put you in "the doghouse". 'Scuse me for saying this, and you can delete my comment if you want, but that is complete bullshit. What I read here are the honest and heartfelt feelings of a mother. There is nothing here that ANYONE has a right to get upset about.

Remember how I ramble in comments? Well, get ready, because this is gonna be a doozie...

I have an uncle, who drives me crazy but I love him with all my heart. He made some SERIOUS, SERIOUS mistakes with his kids when they were growing up. However, he regrets them, and now he does everything he can for his kids and his grandkids. Yet, his adult children know that he has regrets, and they use those regrets to their benefit. If they want him to do something, they just bring something up to make him feel guilty. It ticks me completely off and it is absolutely childish.

I've seen this happening a lot lately. When you become an adult, it's time to grow up and realize that people make mistakes. You obviously have not grown up if you cannot realize that and continue to hold past mistakes over someone's head... let alone a parent.

I love my dad more than anything in this world. He is my best friend and the relationship we have now is what I cherish most in my life. Yeah, I was raised by my grandparents - there were years when I hardly saw my dad... there were many let-downs, many nights of crying, many doubts, and many emotions. Can you imagine what I would be missing with him, if I insisted to hold the past against him? Wow, I would certainly be punishing myself all over again and missing out on the greatest thing in my life. I guess I had to realize that I had made my own mistakes and I had learned from and regretted my own mistakes - I changed after mistakes, I learned from mistakes, that is how you grow and become a person - I certainly wouldn't deserve to have those mistakes that I made when I was 20 held over my head as punishment now - I am a completely different person than I was then... so, it also would not be fair of me to do that to someone else.

I just better shut up now - I'm in a mood tonight. Besides, I've left you a long enough comment. But, if anyone thinks they have the right to 'yell' at you for this post - I will be the first to say that they have absolutely no right - You are a mother, there is no changing that - you have every right to talk about the feelings a mother experiences! OK, I'm done... for now.

Misty Dawn said...

In all my rambling - I forgot to commend you on a fantastic post.

Mike said...

It's your blog and you are who you are. I'll be here for you :)

jenn said...

I am at that point where my mom is more my friend. I was able to forgive past mistakes, and am happier for it. I hope your children are able to do this as well, because if not, they are missing out on knowing a wonderful friend!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a pity party to me.

Maybe it is easy for you to put behind you the bad memories because it makes you feel less guilty. Maybe your kids will always love you because you are their mother doesn't mean they have to like you as a friend. You can choose your friends not your mother.

Misty Dawn said...

I feel the need to respond to the comment left by anonymous.

Thank goodness there are still people in the world like you who have never made mistakes and have no regrets. Not all of us can be perfect like you. If you have children, be sure to remind them of how perfect you are when they grow up and hold things against you.

It's a shame that such perfection has to hide behind anonymity.

Tammy said...

"Anonymous" evidently isn't a mother. It's hard being a mother, but yes it is the best job in the world. Nobody is perfect and there will always be things that we regret in life and motherhood is no exception. All we can do is try to do the best we can and love our children and hope that they do the same. It's not easy to forgive and forget, hell there are things that I still ain't able to forgive and forget, but I'm trying. HUGS~Tammy

Jeni said...

Barb -excellent post and you've already received some great comments to it too -excluding "Anonymous" but there always has to be a fly in the ointment somewhere, doesn't there?

You're right in you post on so many levels. If anyone thinks Dr. Spock or other writers really do know it all about every aspect of parenting, they are dead wrong and in for a very rude awakening. You learn as you fly by the seat of your pants with only what you learned from parents, grandparents, others along the way as your guide. You make mistakes, yes. You make good and right calls more often than not too. It's a crap shoot overall though and the learning doesn't end -ever -once you have children, then grandkids.

My kids had a very rocky relationship growing up with their dad. They often didn't have a soft spot to fall on with me at times either. THey held some grudges over the years with their dad, a few with me too but thankfully, as they matured they made peace with their dad as well as accepted me for who and what I am in their lives too. Good, bad and indifferent, ya know.

A lot of our learning doesn't get cemented in either until we have children and they begin to mature. By then, a lot of the hassles we had with our own parents show us the truth or error of our ways and with our kids, they may not be that understanding until they too hit those same crossroads. Some do learn that lesson earlier but others take a lot longer before it sinks in.

Just my rambling opinion -ya know, Misty and I could probably tie for a contest on long, rambling posts or comments couldn't we?

Stay strong, Barb. Be your own person. True to yourself, remember?
Peace!

Mike said...

It's too bad people don't have the guts to post using their name. It makes you wonder about those types.

Akelamalu said...

Hear Hear Barb, you got being a parent in a nutshell! If your family don't like what you write they shouldn't read it. Anonymous - have the courage of your convictions and use your name when you post, it's very cowardly not to.

bundle-o-contradictions said...

First & foremost: Barb-I'm one of those kids that holds stuff against her parents. I try my best to let the past stay in the past, but when things seem really hard, I do the "I wonder if things would be different if my mother/father had..." That being said, I want a relationship with both. As a daughter, I know I should let the mistakes go. As a mother who has been separated from her children for her own mistakes, I can only hope that they will realize I'm just a human, a human who loves them very much & wants their love, which is where you are. I hope your kids get there & I hope you can understand if they can't. The title "Mom" has some really strong expectations tied to it. Oftentimes they're unrealistic. I hope I didn't hurt your feelers, I was just hoping to give you a view from the kids' perspective.
2nd: Anonymous-It really isn't fair to judge someone else. The only person you can really judge is yourself because a person only knows what it's like to be them and no one else.
3rd: Misty-You go, girl! Very good point.
4th: Mike-You're the best thing in the world for Barb & as her friend, I'm glad she has you. When things are rough, it's always nice to know that you have someone who accepts & loves you no matter what.

FRIGGA said...

I understand to a point. My parents did certain things that I look back and can see they screwed up. But like you, they didn't have an instruction manual and they did what they thought was the right thing at the time. There has never in my entire life been even an iota of doubt about their love for me, and at the end of the day that's what matters to me as an adult.

As for you being in the doghouse because of what you post, well that's kind of the reason why I still don't let my family read my blog at all. I'm my own person, as are you, with lots of things to say about the way I see things, as do you. I know I'd censor myself if I knew family read and I'd rather not have to. My blog is my place to let it all out and be honest with the world and myself. Please don't let them take your place away from you.

A Daughter Who Is Not A Friend said...

Anon might not be a mother, but my guess is that they are a son or a daughter and I'm positive that their feelings are valid too.

I think that people on blogs need to remember that there are more than one side to a story and that even if we, the readers, only have a connection to the writer, we need to remember that the people they write about are affected-adult or not.

Bundle of contraditions-you are right-it ISN'T fair to judge someone else, so please look in the mirror. You don't know who wrote that comment-you don't know why or how invested they may or may not be in the writer's real life.

And also-they weren't judging in my opinion...sounds more like they were simply expressing their opinion.

Mike said...

More anonymous commenting, hmmmmm!

Misty Dawn said...

I think the point of this whole post was missed. In my interpretation and opinion (which we are all allowed to have) this was not done with an intent to start an argument, insult, or dig at anyone. This is a mother's feelings, worries, regrets, and emotions. Every mother has them... Hell, even I have them, and I'm not a mother, but just a step-mother.

There are absolutely no specifics or details in this post. No persons or incidents are specifically called out at all. "the people they write about are affected-adult or not." - that part confuses me, because the author here (the mother) is putting blame on herself, admitting she made mistakes, and saying she has regrets... as I said, there are no specifics pointed out at the children (just generalizations) - so if anyone is 'affected' by this it is out of guilt (again, just my opinion).

A mother is expressing her feelings. I have read this post at least a half-dozen times, and I can not see any reason for anyone to think this is a malicious or spiteful post in any way.

Clicker said...

I thought I put up a comment after A Daughter Who Is Not A Friend said...

but it seems to be missing.

Maggie over at coffeeshopmafia

Smalltown RN said...

Wouldn't life be grand if we all came with an instruction manual.....but we didn't. I believe to some extent we are products of our environment, with that being said we can change our environment...we can make improvement in ourselves and for those around us....or we can wallow in self pity,and the woo is me attitude....but how sad is that and what a waste of energy and time....we are all human....we do the best we can with the tools we have been given...some of us can raise above adversity better than others....non of us are in a position to judge...we all come from different life experiences...as for you my dear friend you have shared with us some of your life experiences and there are many who would have crumbled and never recovered from a portion of what you experienced....you have worked hard at mending bridges and continue to work on your demons....be true to yourself....

Abbey said...

Barb I'm only new to your blog..but first want to say you have a true friend in Misty Dawn (I so agree with her comments) I was a lone mother with a now almost (24) grown son..oh boy did I make mistakes, some of them big time that could of totalled him... but I was blessed with a young man who forgives... and with time and his own children may understand....

My own blog covers 100 things but I always write with the knowledge he is reading (now and then he comments)He is the only 'critic' in the blogging world whom I serious about not offending...other than that its my blog, and I have moments where I think 'damn I'll write that' or gee should I delete that...we both are human, both with flaws, both with humour and strengths (that comes through in your writing)but you go girl and write what works for you! ... at least your feelings and thoughts are honest, I admire that and would much rather read those (and to me am blessed you share them)...than read a feathery, self-censored, flower petal blog...

Be gentle on yourself Barb...you give more to others than you may realise...Love & light Abz

bundle-o-contradictions said...

I'm so tempted to defend myself at this point, since my comment was attacked, but I won't. I just wanted to support & provide some thoughts to a friend. I hope it did some good. I think my friend is a good person & she deserves to feel as good about herself as she is able.

Dottie said...

This is a great post. In my opinion, you should be able to post whatever you want on your blog. You don't have to mention names or give revealing information. Only a handful may actually know the family. But you are a person with feelings and you have every right to journal them - it's therapeutic. I think you did very well with this post.

As a daughter of parents that certainly made mistakes, I believe I've matured to the point where I learned from them and was a better parent for it. I'm not going to say I forgot or that it didn't effect me or still doesn't because quite honestly, there are times when I do feel like their actions in the past have had some negative impacts on my life. But.. it's during these times, when I usually sit somewhere quiet, shed a few tears if need be, and remember that things could be worse for me. I read other blogs or I look at things on the internet or children with cancer or mothers who've lost a child and I realize that my life isn't so bad. So then I thank God for the blessings and the strength that I've gained through all I've endured and the wisdom to not repeat their mistakes. It takes some time, but I do usually feel better about things then. Take care Barb.