I have seen so many posts lately about “How to live without your Mum” they usually involve a story about how the writer lost their Mum at a young age and how tough it is to see other parents with their Mum helping out. I am not, in any way putting this down, as I can understand that losing a parent at a young age (or at any age) to death is terrible and there are no words that can explain or help you move on from it.
But what happens, like me – your Mum is alive and well but you don’t talk? What happens when you have made the decision to raise your child with out them in your life? What happens when even if you were on speaking terms with your Mum – you wouldn’t get that help that so many other Mothers so willingly provide to their children? I don’t have all the answers, and every day I am learning to cope with my decision (and the knowledge that I will never get what I want and need from my Mum)
I won’t go into all the details, as I know for some it may be traumatic to read about some things that remind them about a horrible parts of their life. But for me, lets just say there are a fair amount of unresolved issues that are between my Mum and me, and even though I tried my best to meet her half way, also to talk to her about the past and ask for advice – I had comments thrown at me to end the conversation i.e. “When you are a parent, you will understand why I acted like I did” or “Oh, well you’re going to be a horrible mother anyway.” (nb – now that I am a parent, I understand less how she acted like she did)
I decided to write this, as I realised yesterday for the first time in my life – Mum’s birthday passed right by me and I didn’t even realise. I am a stickler for birthdays. once I know your birthday I do my best to remember it. Especially my immediate family. I remember your birthdate and I do everything I can to make that day special for you.
Last night, while cooking dinner was when I realised that Mum’s birthday had passed. Yesterday would have been a day when we all went to Mum and Dad’s for dinner (or lunch or avo tea) and spent the day celebrating her birthday. And because of this I had a cry. I realised how far I have come in my life from the lost little girl who put her life on hold time and time again for her “sick” mother. I realised that even though the going has been tough the last few years I still do not regret my decisions and the way they have helped me grow into the person I am today. I realised how much of a fight I had to make on a day to day basis – to be the person I wanted to be with my values intact. I realised that over the years of the struggle with my mother – trying to be the perfect daughter in her eyes – I would never have been enough.
All of the above and more I have known for a very long time. But for some reason last night it hit me with a larger blow then usual. They say it takes a village to raise a child. I believe this is true. Even though I do not have the advice of my Mum – I still have a strong support network that I have found in my Loving Husband, my Trusty Father in Law who lives with us, my Wonderful Mother in law and Sisters in law, my extended family and friends.
In saying this, there are still times that I find myself lost, and there are times where it still hurts so much. I made my choice that it is best for me as a person, best for our Son and best for our little family to not include my Mother in our life because I wanted the best life I could have for my Son.
I could not be the best person, best mother, best wife, best friend I could be when I had a constant battle going on with my own mother. When I felt I was under her thumb so much, and I was walking on eggshells. When I was always playing the role of peace maker over something my mother had said to someone else in my family and I had to pull her in check and at sometimes act like her mother for saying things that were inappropriate. At such a young age I felt that our roles had been flipped over and over again. I never knew where I stood, but I was always striving to be someone I didn’t know how to be.
Slowly over the years, there were many times that I lost respect for her. And in doing so, I realised I did not want to be like her.
When I met my Husband – he was a breath of fresh air. All this time, I had been drowning and suffocating, and I didn’t even know it. He and his family welcomed me with open arms, and for that I am so grateful. I can not express enough or find the right words for how loved and included I feel. I am seen as a person in my own right. I can express and opinion – without being made to doubt it. I have more confidence in myself. I have a better awareness of who I am and where I am going. I didn’t have that before. With my Mother, and my immediate family I was always lost, told that I was being self righteous if I questioned her words or decisions. I needed to be put in my place; whether it be verbally or when I was younger physically.
I have many things to be thankful for; my little family, my Son, my life. I am even thankful to my Mother. Because without her showing me that bullying, exclusion and comparison is not the way to raise a child – I would not be the mother I am today.
I wrote this today as it is a brand new year, and I wish to continue to move forward. I may grieve for my Mum – although she is not dead – it is not really her I grieve for. It is the idea of who I wished her to be and the realisation that I will never get that from her.
So, How do you raise your child without your Mum’s advice?
- Firstly, decide who you want to be as a person
- Then, what you want out of life
- Who you want to be as a parent – decide this with your SO if you have one and stick with it
- How you want your child to feel about themselves
- Have a strong support network – I have surrounded myself with positive people, friends and family members who understand the situation and are happy to help regardless. I don’t associate with people who keep trying to push me back to my mother as for me, “She will always be your mum and you will regret it” does not cut it as a good enough reason to include her back into my life when she is unwilling to change
- Have no regrets. You can still be a good person, but if you focus on not being able to talk to them you can’t allow yourself to be happy. Yes, there are times when I see something that I would like to share with my Mum – that I know she might find funny. But if I open the door – it will be like releasing the Kraken. I do not regret my decision.
- Be firm in what you chose to do. You can’t keep going back and going round in circles if you keep getting the same results after so much effort
- Enjoy every day as a brand new day
- Enjoy every little thing your child does – note down all the cute little quirks they have and enjoy them for who they are
- Tell your child you love them everyday – let them know that you will always be here no matter what and that they mean the world to you
- Read as many blogs, books and articles as you can to help you decide why strategies you wish to take (especially when all you have to go on is a negative reaction you were bought up with)
- Talk to other parents and people in your support network – they are always happy to help, and when you are a parent – there are no stupid questions!
- Do not doubt yourself – EVER.
- And most importantly – Be yourself, take time out for yourself – remember who you are – so that you can show your child the best part of you.