My Sister was in town recently, which as I’ve told you, means I saw a bit of my Mother. She usually has something to say about our parenting skills (again, you know how much I like people talking about my parenting) My sister and I have always been open about talking to our daughters about sex (age appropriate). The conversation went something like this:
Mother: I don’t know why you have to talk to the girls about sex
Me: Well, it’s a natural thing. I want daughter to learn the right things and not have hang-ups.
Sister: Yeah. I don’t want my kid to feel shame when thinking/talking about sex
Me: Totally. The way you taught us left me filled with shame.
Mother: No it didn’t. I was very good about teaching you those things.
Sister: No you weren’t. I felt shame too.
Mother: No you didn’t. I did it the right way.
Me: Mom, if we’re both saying the same thing, you have to at least consider that what we’re saying is correct. You tried, but we’re telling you that your method didn’t work.
Mother: Yes it did.
I know parents make mistakes. I’m sure my daughter has a list that she’s waiting to spring on me. But I HOPE that I can acknowledge when I made a mistake, when I did something wrong, especially if my daughter tells me.
My Mother is a know it all (seriously- she makes me look like an amateur) Whenever someone says anything, she knows better. My daughter mentioned that she wanted to look at a certain college. My Mother immediately said, “That’s in a bad neighborhood.” I asked, “When were you there?” My Mother said “40 years ago.” Now I realize that some things stay the same. But guess what? Some things change. My Mother had no basis for her statement, but she will say it loud and repeatedly.
I really know that my Mother has my best interests at heart. I know she says things in order to help me out. But here’s the problem: her statements are not always logical, factual or realistic. She will read one article on something and declare it the absolute law, because it backs up her beliefs. She will not even consider another opinion on pretty much anything: there’s her way or no way. And she has opinions on everything. My daughter wanted a certain type of make-up brush for Christmas, which I bought her. As soon as my Mother saw it she said “You don’t want to use that. It’s horrible.” Had my Mother ever used this item? No. Does she know anyone personally that used this item? No. She just didn’t like the idea of it. I told her that sometimes people need to try things out themselves- learn from experience. She just shook her head at me.
See, that’s another issue with my Mother’s parenting skills. She gave us a road map as to what we should and should not do. She told us exactly how to proceed through life without teaching us how to make a good decision. She never taught us to think about our actions. We all know this is bad. We need to make mistakes. We need to get hurt. We need to get dirty. I know my Mother did these things out of love because she didn’t want us to feel pain or hurt. But guess what, you still feel pain and hurt, because those things are unavoidable.
My Mother gave us the facts that she thought were important, not the facts that we needed. And I have accepted that she didn’t know any better. I have no issue with the fact that she made mistakes. My issue is that she refuses to accept that she made mistakes. In her mind, she did everything right and would not have changed her parenting choices at all. This is why it is difficult to have an adult relationship with her. She still tells me all the things I am doing wrong with regards to everything, and still tries to give me directions on how to live my life.
Yes, today is blog as journal day. Today I randomly write down things that annoy me about my Mother, because it is somewhat cathartic to write the words down. When I write it down, it releases a little something in me. I feel a little bit better.
And as always, I often wonder why I am so screwed up, and then I spend some time with my Mother, and I wonder how am I so normal.