Thursday, June 2, 2016

Working on Becoming the Mom I've Always Wanted

These little three-year-old boys are INCREDIBLY amazing, loving, affectionate, smart, hilarious, rebelliously awesome kids. There's so much to tell about how they're growing & developing into kids who'll express why they won't do something, selectively not hear me tell them it's time to clean up, be cautious about food on a plate but jump up & down on a couch while trying to shove each other off.

I play with them, tell them I love them, hug, kiss, comfort them when they bust out crying, encourage them to get up when they fall, tell them they can do & be anything... in essence I've been working on becoming the mother I've always wanted... there's so much with my mother that I've forgiven & let go just so I can be a happy adult. But when I look at my kids I still can't understand how my mother didn't show love & affection towards her own kids. She's the kind of person who's always angry at something. And if she isn't mad she's complaining. She could be physically & emotionally brutal with us growing up & even though she's mellowed over the years (& even admitted a long time ago that she did treat us bad) she hasn't really let go of her anger. When they were born she'd be up & down mood-wise & criticism-wise but with the years she's only getting worse.

Now that I have kids she's found another way to be unforgiving. I'm a working single mother of two active toddlers so I can't always talk. So if she tries to FaceTime Saturday 8:00 a.m. morning--which I've told her countless times that that time of day's busy with me making breakfast, trying to clean, etc.--she still expects me to pick up. Last week she wanted to FaceTime but I picked up & said that the kids were asleep & I was even trying to catch a nap. Later in the day I tried to FaceTime her but she didn't pick up. So I FaceTimed my dad thinking they were together & my kids got a chance to talk to him. A few minutes after we hung up my mother called from her landline. She was yelling at me because my father walked in the door & mentioned that he just "saw" the kids -- but she called earlier & why didn't I call her back so she could FaceTime. I said that I called her first three times but when she didn't answer I called him... then she said that I most certainly did not, she didn't hear the phone so I didn't call. I said, of course I did, why would I lie? If I told you I called then I did, why are you yelling? She kept it up some more until my head throbbed. I said just look at your phone... I'll call you back so you can see the kids. I'm in my forties & she's still yelling at me like I'm some worthless little kid who's slighted & disrespected the hell out of her. It's a lot.

Phone calls have become her new weapon. She blames me for keeping her from the kids if I can't talk when she calls. If she calls & I pick up & tell her we're running errands, but we chit chat a little before we hang up, she still expects me to call her back & FaceTime when I get home. If I don't call back she calls the next day hostile at me because I didn't call back. I tell her, you wanted me to call you back? Didn't we speak earlier? I'm so tired when I get home & still have so much to do, why are you angry because I didn't know that I'm supposed to call you bak? And if you wanted to see them why didn't you call back or ask me earlier to call you back when I got home? That's what I would've done if I were you... so you're sitting around mad at home waiting for me to call assuming I naturally would when I'm not even thinking about it?

When I get home I'm trying to survive until the kids' bedtime because I'm EXHAUSTED so truthfully I'm not thinking about calling her & I've explained this so many times. I told her that I can't think about my kids who are naturally my priority, and then think about her. I just can't do it. She takes this personally & gets so sensitive that there's no win for me at all. Some months ago she sent me texts telling me about how ungrateful I am. She doesn't even text me often but she was so mad she got to typing. As soon as I read them I started to cry & immediately deleted them all because I didn't want that mess on my phone. I didn't text back either. I called & said that I don't know who she wants me to be but I can't be everything to everybody. She eventually apologized, which was rare, because she actually did seem to understand how my own exhaustion with parenting AND work might not allow me the energy to think about her in the way she wants me to. But she got the attention out of me that she wanted. And that moment of peace didn't last because she continues to keep this up.

She's emotionally needy AND emotionally unavailable. How this could be I'll never know. She's perpetually angry, holds grudges, and has narcissistic tendencies that will never change. I'd think that my many responsibilities would be the source of my stress & anxiety but it's my own mother. She's 71 & is showing no signs of improving. I'm the only one of her three kids that maintain regular contact with her & I've become the easiest target.

I've been wishing so hard that she had activities or a social life now that she's retired living out of state. I was actually happy she moved thinking that the distance might improve our relationship. But she stays home most of the day & only leaves to go to the store. And I know that if she busied herself & made a life that's active she wouldn't put so much weight on me & need so much contact from me. Her clingy toxicity is a complete drain. I love talking to my dad because he's funny & has a great social life. We might talk once or twice a week but it's always good vibe-y & with no put downs or negativity. He's so miserable it's beyond expression; I even asked her once why it seems that she hates him with the way she yells & belittles him. She actually seemed taken aback at my use of the word "hate" & tried to change the subject but surprisingly she wasn't offended... because for all her issues at that moment she might've been able to see how objectively it would seem that way. (And she's been like this with him for years; we've been begging them to divorce for over 30 years.) He sees me as an adult & says that I'm doing a good job with the kids... my mother will NEVER see me this way.

I can't see myself treating my kids this way. It's a lot of work to not internalize & not feel guilt but that's the whole mess of this thing. There shouldn't be a feeling of dread every time my mother calls. Or every time I think about her. To be gone from this blog so long & come back with this is a shame but this is real. I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow because I need an intervention. My mother's not able to respect me as an adult & as a parent of my boys. It will never happen so I have to work on boundaries & find mental health options for my own peace of mind.

Aahhhhh... feels great to have these feelings out of my head.

Other than this, everything's great!!!!! Great to be back, hope to be a bit more regular after all this time :) :)