Sunday, May 11, 2014

Momma guilt

Part of me feels so tired from the expectations of these sorts of holidays. I wish that I had had the wherewithal to teach my children early on that we don't celebrate Mother's Day, Father's Day, and Valentines Day. That every day we are kind and loving to each other, and that we show how much we care all of the time....when we want to, when its real and authentic and genuinely coming from our heart. Not because its a mandated holiday and the expectation is that you will buy me a card and flowers.

With that said these holidays are always sort of a let down. This year, I saw how the dad was almost (ok he was) in fear to do the wrong thing and not meet my expectation. He brought me a plant and a card, he barbecued dinner, he wanted to know what I wanted for dessert when he was at the store and I told him "anything." He said he was totally blank, he had no clue what to get. I said go to the bakery and pick something! Anything. He did eventually.....but what occurred to me was that he was standing there frozen not wanting to pick the wrong thing that could cause the wrath or the roll of the eyes or the heavy sigh of the mother! Me.

I am seeing that I get stuck doing most everything because I put out into the atmosphere that no one can do it as good as I can. So they all stand back, not because they don't want to help....but because they are afraid to help and make a mistake.

Little one vacuumed the big family room for me today and didn't lift the throw rug by the door that the dogs use and do underneath, so I made her go back and do it again. But I sighed and I said....hold onto your hats, "This is why its just easier to do it all myself." Martyr-bitch.

Think of how that made her feel. 

Where is the balance? I do like things done the way I like them done. Right. (I wish I had a gasping emoticon for right here) But I have to look at what the cost is? So I destroy everyone's feelings of self worth to have a clean house, a "happy" holiday?  This is certainly not the first time I've been around this mountain. How did I end up back here?

So I decided (several times each day for the past couple days) to knock it off and to not guilt anyone. I wrote my girl a letter and told her that she was my first daughter. The girl who taught me how to be a mom to a girl, that she has been my greatest teacher and that I love her and I thanked her for turning me into a mom. My son came to visit and have dinner with us and didn't bring anything. I let that go. I didn't say anything about the lack of a card or flowers or anything and I hugged him and told him how happy I was to see him....because I really was. Molly decided not to come because she couldn't afford the gas to make the drive up here. I know that she recently spent a small bundle on a new tattoo and some make up and going out with a friend.....but I let that go. Maybe its not my place to say, "well if you managed your money better you could have been here with me." Maybe just not being able to come was lesson enough. She apologized and said she was sorry.....and I told her it was ok. I was proud of her for taking care of herself and doing what she could manage.

I can really be awful you guys! Guilt is my weapon and I am trying to lay that down. I read something recently, a little article about mom's and how their disapproval can be so cutting, down to the very core of who we are. I have experienced that! My mom being disappointed or mad at me felt awful. It almost put me into a panic... and that feeling of *desperately* wanting to fix whatever is wrong is terrible. I don't want to lay that on my kids. I want to have healthy boundaries and limits, but not that are birthed in "mom guilt and manipulation." Whether I want it or not, I have an impact on them. I want them to never wonder or worry about my approval. My happiness is not their responsibility.

The thing that gives me a little hope is that they just put it out there. I can't come. I never got a card. They didn't seem too worried about it! LOL

Maybe this is just my stuff, about me. Imagine that!


Debby said...

I can't agree with you more. You described, with alarming insight, episodes of my life. Thanks for putting it out there. Thankful for changes God can bring in our lives.

Anonymous said...

I so get it. Boy, do I get it. Everything you wrote, I could say about myself. Ugh!

I'm still guilty of dishing "mom guilt" but I am trying to stop projecting all my junk on to those I love and on the days I fail, I'm getting better at saying I'm sorry.

One day at a time, right?

Happy belated Mother's Day, Annette!

SoberMomWrites said...

This is so near and dear to me my friend. After I quit drinking I let go of a lot...and this was one of those things.

And guess what? Not only did no one die if my house wasn't clean "mom's way", or if I didn't do every fucking tradition we've ever had to Pinterest's expecation on every holiday EVER; but I can't begin to explain how liberating it is once you LET IT GO.

My kids are like yours and they just say "'s mom" which is something; but I felt so bad about making them feel inadequate be quite frank...I was freaking EXHAUSTED most of the time; not to mention resentful, guilt filled, angry...etc You get the picture.

It's hard to do but I'm here to tell you it can be done. And what I found was simple...peace. Peace in my home, peace of mind and joy in just being with my family during those important times.

Bravo for recognizing this in you!!! Now...STOP IT. ;-)

Love and hugs my friend,

Patricia said...

Ahhh, yes, that sounds so familiar. I am realizing lately that I suffer the same anxiety my daughter tried to cure with alcohol. My "cure" is controlling every detail . . . my hangover is a resentment headache when others don't measure up to my control. What a crazy mind game I create without even intending to !!!

The good news - I see it and name it- maybe soon I can change it :)

Thanks for sharing Annette - it helps all of us.

Erin said...

I guess that I just can't imagine not giving my Mom a card and a little something on Mother's Day so that when my boys don't do the same for me I really feel hurt. I don't try to lay guilt on them or anything like that but I just feel deep disappointment and hurt. I appreciate who my mother is as a person and I want her to know that so I enjoy blessing her on Mother's Day. Ann Voskamp shared a little post last night on Facebook and it sure hit home and blessed me as well.

'Lord, there are women tonight who feel forgotten,
who feel like failures, who are flailing in these oceans of unspoken grief-- And we feel Your closeness, Your carrying & we hear Your gentle whisper:
"I will hold you close [Ps.27:10NLT] Can a mother forget the infant at her breast, walk away from the baby she bore? But even if mothers forget, *I’d never forget you—never.* Look, I’ve written your names on the backs of my hands." [Isaiah 49:15MSG]
Our names may not have been written on cards today -- but our names are written on the backs of our Father's hands forever & we are etched right into the heart of God & we rest in a love tonight that is beyond the walls of the world, knowing every day our Father celebrates us by name.
In the name of Jesus who loved us to death & to life...
Amen. #HonestPrayers #1000gifts"

Syd said...

Expectations have ruined a lot of things for me and for others. I would hold grudges because things weren't done the way I wanted or expected. What an ass I was! Now I can let things go much easier and just be glad to be with those that I love. Even just hearing their voice is good.

Tori said...

Mom guilt, HA! that is me. Not for MD so much honestly I would rather be left alone to clean the house, watch tv and just have some peace.

Funny I am reading your post now. B was being moody tonight and his friend was here who lived with us off and on for years - of course he text me yesterday wishing me a happy MD..anyway, B said something I don't even know what but I know I was waiting for him to say something so I could lay it on him - So I told him that he was a selfish ass and would it have killed him to get his ass up before 7:00 pm and make me a card? His response was, "Why didn't you tell me to do that?" ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Little Brother was shocked and even his friend said, "DUDE SHE SHOULDN'T HAVE TO TELL YOU THAT!"

Yea I am famous for keeping it all in and then letting it out - not good. And I do everything around here too because it won't be done to my satisfaction I don't even want them to do anything. That's on me.


LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sober Life said...

Awww, I love this. Thank you so much! I too suffer from the "Martyr-bitch" syndrome! Crazy how that is, my mom would never let us clean or help in the kitchen, because a. we would just make a mess and b. no one could do it like her. So then here I am doing the same thing!

I have been working on letting it go too. I let my kids make pancakes, it was excruciating difficult to sit and watch, I had to move to the living room! But they were so darn proud! OMG! Worth all the mess in the world :)

Hattie Heaton said...

I read your blog and yes, you could have been me. But, if I do what I hope that my addicted loved one will one day do, I have to explore why that card means so much.

A couple of things that I've done differently this year...because I turned fifty and feel the weight of getting older looming...are I spell out my expectations.

"I'm turning fifty in __ days...hope you are shopping for presents. I really want presents. There are a number of things like a camera, ipod, etc. that would be really great." I said this many many times.

There was no guessing. I am trying to "become like a child" again and clearly express my desires.

I came to the realization that my family "cannot give what they do not have" i.e. love so I am losing that expectation and in it's place, I am teaching them what I need or want. Hope that helps.

I've been the martyr bitch for a long time. I'm over it. You'll get there. It doesn't mean that they don't love you, it means they don't know how to express it. Hang in there!

Mary Christine said...

Motherhood is a treacherous 'hood.