Sunday, May 9, 2010

Thoughts on Parenting - this Mother's Day.

I've got a mom.


Her name is Mae.

She lives in Georgia.

I talk to her for a few minutes most days.

She had me when she was 22 years old.

I grew up in Macon.

Mom's never been truly sick, so I don't have a sob story of how she overcame her condition.

Mom's never suffered a chemical dependency (unless you count dexatrim and diet coke in the 80s.)

i just noticed i am writing in choppy sentences.

Here's the thing - my mom and I had a very tumultuous relationship.

What I mean by that - we fought like cats and dogs.

I don't remember a lot of arguing at all in my early years. I do remember her stress level hitting an all time high when my sister was still sleeping in a crib. Perhaps having to raise two small children, while her husband worked really long hours with very little pay was trying. Now that I am 37, I can only imagine what a young woman in her mid-20's was trying to do.

She had dreams. Sure. She wanted to model. She wanted to paint. She wanted to go to art school. She wanted to be an interior designer. That's about all I know.

I remember her taking her anger out on me sometimes. Not physically. Verbally.

I am sure she was VERY frustrated. I get that. And I forgive her.

I remember her volunteering at the dance studio I took classes at. She would help sew costumes, paint sets, do the "books" - all so that my sister and I could take classes.

I remember her volunteering with the local children's theater, eventually landing a position on the board - and in turn, my sister and I were offered theater classes (which we would otherwise not be able to afford.)

I remember her becoming the Girl Scout leader of Troop 222.

I remember her becoming my PTA president.

She was definitely a joiner - for someone who did not have many "close" girl friends (at least none that I remember.)

She did A LOT so that my sister and I could experience a lot.

I also remember her frustration over why her oldest daughter would "lose her breath" and feel dizzy so often. Looking back, panic disorder was not something anyone seemed to know anything about - perhaps it scared her. Perhaps she thought I was making it up to get attention - but it was definitely something we argued about.

I remember her feeling overly concerned for the teens I hung out with in high school. She always accused me of smoking, or drinking or doing drugs or even engaging in sexual activity. Perhaps she was scared. Perhaps she was judging a new generation of kids who dressed different, and listened to different music. Perhaps she was just afraid.

For anyone who knows me - I have never put a cigarette to my mouth - ever. I did not engage in sexual activity as a teen ager, nor did I drink or do drugs. Heck, anyone of my many boyfriends (who always dumped me because I would not do any one of those things) could attest to that.

I remember her getting upset over my failing grade in math. She thought I was not applying myself. Perhaps she was afraid I would never succeed. Little did we know (until I got into college - and was tested) that I have a learning disability in Math - called a General Arithmetic Disorder. Also, as an adult, I have recognized that I have a form of dyslexia with numbers. Of course - I was able to slide through the system and get a university degree with this issue.

Looking back - I wonder how I would have reacted to all of these issues with my child. Not sure. Will never know.

My mother has a very strong personality. She IS the boss in anything she chooses to do. Your typical capricorn. I, on the other hand - am an aquarius.

She has very strong opinions. She is very judgemental. She is very critical and expects nothing less than the absolute best from me.

It was hard living up to her expectations. She rarely, if ever, says she is proud.

The word "love" is not passed around our home.

I know she did her best. That's all any of us do. I don't think people intentionally chose to make mistakes.

With all of the fighting - I did learn a lot from her. I thought I would list the top ten things I learned from her:

1. To get involved. If there is something you are interested in - join!

2. Creativity is the way to go!

3. Good food, cinema and books are essential to good living.

4. Say what you mean - mean what you say.

5. Don't take Sh*t from anyone.

6. Make your own decisions.

7. The beach is waaaay cooler than the mountains.

8. Animals are great! Pets make a happier home.

9. Vampires and the horror genre rock!

10. Halloween is super fun and only home made costumes should win the prize!

As for me - why am I not a parent?

I have two theories:

1. I am selfish. I do not like feeling like someone/something needs me. It freaks me out.

2. My own mother complained about how ungrateful a child I was (daily) and how she sacrificed so much for me and in turn did without. (I think early on.. that taught me that motherhood is a wretched experience.)

Whatever the reason - it does not matter.

I believe that God is in control. If I were meant to be a mom, I would have been a mom. I also believe I have the mom I have today for a reason.

Trust me - she is a decent person. It's just that "moms" and "mothers day" was never a warm/fuzzy/holiday idea for me.

Do I think mother's should feel special? Absolutely. Do I think my mom did the best she could? Definitely.

Do I wish I were a mom? Absolutely not.

With that - I do hope that my friends, family, and readers that are proud mothers and feel that life is completely fulfilled by being a mom - I am soooo happy for you. Sincerly.

As for me - who knows what fulfills me?! Perhaps that's why my Destination is still Unknown.

PS - I want to CLAIRFY - I would not trade my mother in for another. Not one. She created me. My experiences and life are what makes me - me.


Christina Genae said...

Thanks, again, for a wonderful post. I love reading your blog! I can totally relate to much of what you wrote. I was always afraid to talk to my mom about certain things, so I have tried to be more open-minded with my girls. So far, it's worked to keep the communication flowing. We'll see if it continues as they get older. I hope it does.

Leanne said...

Your honesty is one of the things I admire so much about you, Nicole.

Let me tell you - today your mom should be proud. You are smart/strong/brave and so many things I wish for my own daughters to be. Be proud of yourself, sister. And keep it going.


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