So you know how the kids keep writing those “awkward moment” cards, and you see them on Pinterest all the time – they seem to materialize out of nowhere and yet, there they are. Repeatedly. Yeah, well, I had an awkward moment recently and I’d like to share it with you.
To do so, I made an “awkward moment” ecard because I’m hip and cool (stop laughing) and all the cool kids are doing it. No really. Stop fucking laughing.
Yes, indeed. That is an awkward moment, and it happened to me recently.
My daughter, Ava, is 10, and she’s an amazing kid (right. as if I would have said something different) – very, very bright, witty, driven, sensitive and thoughtful – but she has a temper. Oh holy shit it’s a big one. Sometimes, when the stars are aligned just perfectly (or something), she loses her shit at her brother. She gets in his face and screams. She’s terribly mean, fuming with all kinds of rage in her voice “WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?!!”
And I get upset when she does it. She alarms me. The look in her eye is shocking, the rage in her voice disturbing. The other day she did it. I watched her tower in fury and her brother shrink into himself and I opened my mouth to stop her, but as the words were coming out…”Ava, why are you talking to your brother that way? Why are you acting like that?”…a blinking neon banner ran across my mind, the answer to my very own question: Because you, you fucktard, YOU act like that. She learned that from YOU.
And I realized I was punishing my child for acting exactly like me.
It was not a pretty moment.
You know there are things I do as a mother that fall into the “haha I’m a bad mother let’s all laugh” category. Like feeding them toast for breakfast 3 days in a row because I can’t get my act together to make real food. You know, no big deal kind of things.
But then there are bad mother moments that I’d rather not talk about it. The real shit. The seedy dark underbelly. MY OWN PERSONAL, SERIOUS FLAW AS A MOTHER AND HUMAN. (again with the all caps. why can’t I stop?)
And for me, it’s losing my temper.
Sometimes I raise my voice. Yeah whatever who doesn’t. But sometimes, oh sometimes, I lose it. I simply explode. I get in their faces and yell. And you know what I’ve said?
“What’s wrong with you?!!!!!”
I see their faces and I want to die. The fear in their eyes. The sadness in their shoulders. And I cave into myself as I’m doing it, trying to make it their fault, screaming while simultaneously totally aware that I am acting horribly but I can’t stop. Because I’m seeing red. I’ve crossed the line.
And when it’s over, I can’t stand the idea of myself.
Because I know I am the problem. It is not them. And it never has been. In those moments I use my power as a mother to bully them, because I’m bigger and stronger and louder and I think I have some right to dominate – to GET MY WAY – and I don’t mean to lose my shit…I do not believe this is an effective parenting method – this is not the person I want to be – but sometimes people I’m just so tired. And I repeatedly fail to take care of myself. I find myself tired and hungry and running late and headaches and noise and it all builds, builds, builds until. Something. Clicks.
And it isn’t funny at all.
I walk away and breathe and I know I’ve blown it. I really fucked up.
I want to crawl in a hole. I cry. Invariably. I want to take them in my arms and beg them to forgive me.
But I don’t beg. I gather myself and I walk back and apologize for my poor behavior just like I would any person who I’ve wronged. I own my shit. I tell them I’m human. I tell them I lose my temper too, and I’m learning patience, just like them. And maybe we can work together on this stuff, both of us, all of us, trying to be better.
But I am the adult and should know better. And you are a wonderful child and this isn’t your fault and if I could figure out how to never do that shit again, my God I would so, so please, please hang with me little one, as I navigate this strange world of motherhood — where the stakes are so high and the guidance so scarce.
And I wonder what the hell is wrong with me.
Two days later I open Facebook and read a post from Peggy O’Mara of Mothering magazine that reads “The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice” and it becomes clear to me that mothers don’t do what I do. Mothers read things like that and they are filled with inspiration – they take that information and transform it into the elusive ability to only speak to their children in hushed soothing tones…good, wholesome words of support, to become a solid inner voice.
Me? I read things like this and think are you fucking kidding me? If this is true my kids are finished. Don’t put this crap on me. Don’t tell me I BECOME THE VOICE IN MY CHILD’S HEAD. I can’t be all there is! I can’t!
But if she’s right, if my poorest moments are the loudest voices in their head, if they sit in school and wonder “what’s wrong with me” because their mother said it a few times…if that’s true, well I’m going to give them the rest of the story, the other half: Your mother is a human being who is doing the best she can and loves you with every fiber of her imperfect being and so that voice, that voice that yells, it is only ONE voice. There is another. There will always be another. There is the world and god and there are grandmothers and teachers and friends and there is that mother who would lay down her life for you.
[Maybe while yelling, but still.]
The other day I called Ava after treating her poorly. At the end of our conversation I said “Ava, you are a great kid” and I said it with tears in my eyes and a cracked voice and heart.
She responded with words so full of love it took my breath away. Without hesitation, without affectation, she said confidently “And you are a great mother.”
I can only go forward. Each day, one foot in front of the other.
Moving toward becoming the person my kids already think I am.
ErinSaturday, 18 August, 2012 at 0:19
It’s really a continuation of that horrible joke, “I’m becoming my mother.” in so many ways I DO want to become my mother: wise, thoughtful, loving, self-sacrificing for the betterment of her children, a gracious host, generous and smart. But when I look at her I also know that there is brokenness in her–and try as she might–I got some of that brokenness from her.
When I look at my perfect little babes I want them only to know the best me. But I know they will know all of me. Even the parts I so desperately want to hide from them. I want the mother’s voice they hear to be clear and consistent: “you are loved. You are enough. You owe me nothing. Be true to yourself.” I fear what they hear will be my own inadequacies projected on to them.
I’m not far enough in this parenting journey to have your awkward moment yet. But I know it is coming. I pray, I hope and I practice for a better a outcome than I fear.
ErinSaturday, 18 August, 2012 at 0:20
Also, I frickin love this post in a heart-wrenching sort of way.
ShelSaturday, 18 August, 2012 at 0:43
I could have written this very post. My middle one (who is my freaking clone personality wise)got into it, I ate a very large piece of cheesecake for breakfast and basically moped around all day cause’ I know she is the way she is, because of me!!! We can only, as you said, apologize and move on, hoping to do better. Honestly girlie I am so glad I am not the only one who has this same issue…it helps to know I am not alone in dealing with it. Thank you as always for your amazing posts, I admire your forthrightness and honesty. Hugs…
MurasakiSaturday, 18 August, 2012 at 2:32
That awkward moment when a kid having toast for breakfast 3days in a row is described as crap parenting – and you give your kids toast most days.
I sometimes wonder if some parents might be screaming at their kids less if they weren’t stressing themselves silly over food, trying to never say the word no or completing at least 6 craft activities every day so the 5mins of nature documentary allowed per month doesnt destroy their growing brain.
I yell at my kids, but not too much (I dont think, the neighbours may disagree). So far they seem to be pretty happy, well adjusted, healthy individuals – even though they get fed tinned spaghetti from time to time and have been known to watch 2hours straight of tv to facilitate a sleep in.
Dreamin' GirlSaturday, 18 August, 2012 at 3:45
Been there. Still live with the guilt, because that’s also the type of person I am – take responsibility for everyone and everything that’s ever gone wrong (yeah, what’s up with that?).
I can tell you that my son survived it. And grew to be a wonderful adult – albeit with his own set of faults. He’s 27 now and has not yet had children, but he’s planning now. He told me at 16 that he would raise his kids exactly the same as he was raised because he turned out so well… yep, momma pride was off the charts that day.
All said and done – it’s the honesty that they remember. That solid assurance that we all make mistakes, but they don’t break us or define us.
Thanks for sharing!
KagiThursday, 22 May, 2014 at 3:26
And if you’re not honest, it’ll be that they’ll remember. My dad was like this, towering temper and it seemed like he was always either yelling or ignoring us. And I know I got that ragemonster bullying tactic from him, and I know how much his voice became the voice in my head, and how much it messed me up – partly because he never acknowledged he was wrong or apologised for it, partly because I believed it anyway, and his voice drowned my mother out. I don’t remember her voice at all, she was always too quiet and submissive to him because religion.
I learned to hate myself, that I was not good enough and never would be, I learned fear and anxiety because no matter what I did it was going to be wrong and I was going to get yelled at, no matter how hard I tried. There’s an Evanescence song called ‘Lies’, the chorus of which goes ‘you’ll never be good enough, you’ll never be strong enough, you were never conceived in love, you will not rise above’, and it made me cry the first dozen times I heard it because those are exactly the things I internalised, growing up.
And now I’m past thirty and finally in therapy and my dad has finally changed somewhat and is less violent and intense in the way he treats his family, but I am still struggling to shake these ideas, even though I know they are false. So I just want to say, keep trying, because your temper does have a profound impact on your kids, but also if you do lose it, do apologise and be honest with them, and maybe they won’t grow up, as I did, feeling disgusted by how hypocritical and fake you are.
And obviously you’re not, if you’re even worrying about it, and I respect you for that. Just saying, be honest with them, apologise if you end up treating them badly, and keep trying to learn not to do it in the first place. Some of us do have scars because our parents never learned any of that.
shannaSaturday, 18 August, 2012 at 3:53
Are you peeking in my windows and then posting my life as this post?! Texas is a long way from California so I know you couldn’t possibly be, but this is very much my life. You aren’t the only mama losing her shit and then feeling like a trash bag. Thank you for giving these moments a voice and for turning that feeling into something I can grasp.
EddieSaturday, 18 August, 2012 at 4:36
Don’t beat yourself up. At our house the Evil Shrieking Woman has been known to make an occasional appearance as I stand inside my body, stunned at the way she’s carrying on.
Anyone who tells you they never yell at their kids or say something in the heat of the moment that they regret is either a) lying or b) heavily sedated or c) completely detached from their kids.
Dana LofflandSaturday, 18 August, 2012 at 5:20
Your honesty blows me away. Thank you for your honesty. You are brave. Sure wish I had voices like yours when I was a young mom.
JesscaSaturday, 18 August, 2012 at 5:21
I agree with Eddie. For some reason I can’t believe that all parents, at some point, don’t have moments like this. I know I do. I think that people won’t admit that they have let emotions take over especially regarding their children.
There was this one time I was sure the neighbors would call CPS because I just knew everyone in my hood could hear me “lose myself” in a moment of rage.
Have you ever watched the show on TLC…19 Kids and Counting, the Dougers? I have joked and said that I bet when the cameras are turned off that mother loses her shit because how can she be so calm and soft spoken ALL the time? It’s not humanly possible.
Shawn Van DeusenSaturday, 18 August, 2012 at 5:22
Again thank you so much for your honesty. I have been in that place so many times. I want so bad to be that positive voice in my children’s head. Then there are times I lose it as a mother. I realize it when it is happening. I know yelling is not going to get the positive outcome. I truly thought that with my youngest daughter things would be so smooth. I had her when I was 38 and figured I raised one awesome daughter and she is becoming the most beautiful girl ever. I can do this one…I’m older, wiser and more patient. I didn’t know that my youngest would have a completely different personality. She is a tough and stubborn girl. Both her dad and I have taken to yelling and it doesn’t work. I am trying daily to make a conscience effert to be calm and positive. The yelling is very minimal. So as a mother I completely understand and how we beat ourselves up over what we do to our children will always be neverending. It is good to hear honesty in todays world. Thank you
BreadSaturday, 18 August, 2012 at 6:23
Yet again, am sitting here bawling my eyes out. Thank you for these posts. I can relate to probably 98% of of what you write, and I always seem to find the perfect one when I need it. Thanks.
MarisaSaturday, 18 August, 2012 at 6:50
Thank you again for putting into words what I feel. I want my daughter to have complete control of her temper, but I do not always have control of mine.
Side note: I am not a morning person and hate making breakfast. About once a week I muster up the energy to make a HUGE amount of pancakes, healthy ones with whole wheat, apple sauce and flax meal. Then I let them cool and put them in the fridge. Now we have a healthy breakfast for a week! My daughter loves them cold with jelly. They can be put in the toaster if you like them warm. 🙂
DeeSaturday, 18 August, 2012 at 7:00
Oh the guilt and shame when I saw that inner voice quote on FB. Put me into a funk which I then felt more guilt and acted more mopey. this getting shit together stuff is way hard.
There should be some FB etiquette course that requires everytime you post some motherhood is grand and rosey quip you then mus follow with another that confesses your kids just finished the SpongeBob marathon while eating dry froot loops because the milk soured
One of the best pieces of advice my mother gave me was that I would be a lot happier if I saw her as a person first and a mother second. I tell my kids this, probably way too much.
StacieSaturday, 18 August, 2012 at 8:07
I love you.
anneSaturday, 18 August, 2012 at 8:13
I am crying so hard right now. Thanks for this post. It is touching a hard, scary nerve but I am glad to hear I am not alone. I am hoping we all give and receive grace when it’s needed and raise kids to do the same.
LoriSaturday, 18 August, 2012 at 9:06
Just want to say, “Thank you!” I’m so glad I’m not alone. This has happened to me, time and again, and I always feel defective. But I do exactly what you described, I go back and own my shit and tell them I, too, am a work in progress. I ask them for their help, and that we all try to be understanding of each other. I let them know that they are awesome and we are all learning; that the learning is a life long process. So, thank you for helping me see I am not alone in the mothering flaw. And I love the food thing too. I used to make 3 hot meals a day, and cereal has become our friend:) – or at least my friend!
kimSaturday, 18 August, 2012 at 9:29
I think you know that I needed to read this. I love you, friend.
ShanSaturday, 18 August, 2012 at 9:58
I’m already sick in the head and body, so crying isn’t going to make me feel better any time soon, damn it.
I have had a similar reaction to that statement. I think of my girls and how easy it is with them at this early age. Will I be able to maintain my hushed soothing voice for them? And then I think of my son. I used to say to myself, “If he didn’t have *me*, where would he be? If he had some mom or even two parents who just didn’t care, what would he be like *then*?” And then he hit puberty and I hit the roof. And now I think, “If he didn’t have *me*, where would he be?” Only the rest of that thought is so different, and my heart is broken for him and for me.
Since I’m laying it all out there, I will add this: You are sometimes the voice I hear. In the good moments. The bad. The utterly ridiculous.
Sarah O'MalleySaturday, 18 August, 2012 at 10:44
I am positive this post is going to change my life. Thank you.
JuliaSaturday, 18 August, 2012 at 10:50
when my 7 year old son sprayed pepper spray in his eyes I layed him gently in the tub and ran cold water over the bridge of his nose and YELLED AT HIM! “WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? HOW COULD YOU DO SOMETHING SO STUPID? YOU WON’T EVEN LET ME RINSE THE SHAMPOO OUT OF YOUR HAIR BUT YOU SPRAY SOME UNKNOWN THING IN YOUR EYES! OH MY GOSH, I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU!” So I ripped up my mother of the year application and hugged him and cried and told him I wasn’t mad I was just freaking out and that happens when you kid sprays pepper spray in his eyes at the very moment you’re leaving the house for his baseball game. My mom used to get mad at me and yell crazy stuff. But the only things that she said that I hear in my head all the time are how much she loves me and how I can do anything I put my mind to. So there’s still hope for that inner voice we’re bequeathing to them.
Jennifer @ Also Known As the WifeSaturday, 18 August, 2012 at 11:09
You know I read through this whole post and at the end the only thing I can say to you is: you are human and humans are flawed. While no one wants to yell at or be harsh with their kids no one is perfect either. I think it’s an important character trait that you’re willing to own your mistakes, apologize to the kids, and explain you’re behavior.
KristinSaturday, 18 August, 2012 at 13:28
I’ve never been moved to leave a comment before, but today you voiced my greatest fear. That my faults may override my best intentions and my children, god forbid, may remember my anger instead of my love. Thank you for being so honest. I cannot imagine the bravery it takes to lay your heart bare before strangers. It made such a difference for me to hear it today. Thank you.
Rebekah CSaturday, 18 August, 2012 at 13:47
Well, you’ve done it this time. I’m actually crying. Tears running down my face crying.
Especially this part: I see their faces and I want to die. The fear in their eyes. The sadness in their shoulders. And I cave into myself as I’m doing it, trying to make it their fault, screaming while simultaneously totally aware that I am acting horribly but I can’t stop. Because I’m seeing red. I’ve crossed the line.
And when it’s over, I can’t stand the idea of myself.
Because I know I am the problem. It is not them. And it never has been.
Yeah. That. Dammit.
BeckySaturday, 18 August, 2012 at 17:36
I love reading your posts. I can relate to you because you are so open an d honest. Thank you for opening up and sharing a part of your lives with us. We all have that moment when we realize that we are changing our kids life for better or worse. I was recently in a training and she said something like if your kids don’t learn talk to you when they are 5 they won’t be able to talk to you when they are 15. I worry that I have already ruined 3 of my kids!
ClaireSaturday, 18 August, 2012 at 18:40
Awesome post! Funnily enough – there’s another e-card in a similar vein – have you seen it? About “mommy loosing her shit” http://www.someecards.com/usercards/viewcard/MjAxMi0xZDNkMjY1ZWE3ODc5NTNj
I definitely relate to this – my kids know that I freak out sometimes and understand that it’s not the whole picture. My sweet son (it breaks my heart sometimes)informed me a while ago that he “has a deal” with me that he’ll always forgive me when I yell. Makes me feel a little better.
Taking time for self care is so great for helping with the shit loosing, I find. It’s tough b/c the reality of self care is that while “Taking care of yourself IS taking care of your children” The cold hard facts are that when a mom (or dad) takes care of herself (or himself) – important shit doesn’t get done, like laundry, cleaning etc. Its just a matter of time and breaking points and levels of sanity.
Also – re: breakfast – just today my kids informed me that I haven’t made them breakfast in 3 days.*come on kids – you are totally old enough to get yourself a bowl of cereal!* I’m going to make up for it tomorrow hopefully by cooking something – although that will of course take away energy for housework – again – a trade off of time – there’s never enough to do it all.
Thanks so much for your amazigngness and for sharing it with us!
KylieSunday, 19 August, 2012 at 0:20
ok, I would really like to comment and be witty and funny, but I agree with you. It’s fucked. I know, because I’ve done it. I was doing it so bad that when I finally got help (from a sleep clinic, because kiddo #1 only slept about 3 hours at a time, for four years), the only positive thing I could list about myself was that I could ask for help.
I’m begging you – find somewhere to get some help. Read a bit (not that soulemama crap, but maybe even Nigel Latta’s Politically Incorrect Parenting might help), watch some supernanny, something, that will give you just one alternative. Because it DOES become their inner fucking voice. And that shit is hard to break.
I hate when uppity pricks like me that leave all suggestions and high and mighty shit, but I can’t stop myself with this one. In a nutshell, I was the yelling mum, who was near suicide because I never felt like any one gave a rats arse about me – especially about my sleep. So I went, and got help. I’m still the same loud, witty, outrageously opinionated bitch I was before, but at least now I manage to keep it under wraps as a mum (just not as a friend). Hope you find a way to do it too.
ShellyMonday, 20 August, 2012 at 16:53
Good grief, why are there always onions on my keyboard when I read your blog??? Dangit!!!
CandyTuesday, 21 August, 2012 at 18:55
“The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice”.
I read that quote, and I inwardly cringed and thought, holy crap, I hope not. I hope that the voice they hear is not my exhausted, crabby, “go away, be quiet, sit still” monologue. I hope that what they hear is my voice telling them every single day, “I love you, you’re special, I’m glad I get to be your mom.” I think that’s the most any of us can hope for.
Kim AkariMonday, 10 June, 2013 at 10:33
I do this exact thing and feel extreme shame! I’ve read that same Peggy O’Mara quote and it makes me shrivel up inside. Thanks for pointing out the other voices. And thanks for admitting you also lose your temper; it’s such a huge relief to not feel like I’m the only one.
SarahSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 5:47
The inner voice thing is powerful and after growing up with my mother I can attest it is true. Janelle you are trying so hard. I do wonder though, after reading some posts ( which do make me laugh!) how your children will feel reading them in the future: for example the one about your ‘ insane toddler’ or the one where you admit you hate plaing with them. Lots of mum’s think this but no one actually says it. You think it’s just a vent and no harm done but you can never truly erase things from the Internet. For your children to one day know how you really felt about their childhood is so sad. Please write some more content your kids can be proud of. I say this with love so that one day you don’t have a poor relationship with your grown children. They deserve better than that and so do you. Think what you are sacrificing for others cheap laughs. I hope one day family life will bring you the joy it truly can be. All the best
Sarah O'SheaThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 12:24
Laughs are never cheap. When I read all the comments I see statements like “I’m so glad I’m not alone” or “I needed that so much”. These posts are like the stories the wise-women used to share together in their hut [do you know what I mean? Some of you won’t I guess]. By the time the children are old enough to find these and read them, they’ll understand. I’m not sure where people keep getting this idea that you are a pessimist, or self-centered (everyone is self-centered-DUH) or that you don’t enjoy your childrens company simply because sometimes you choose to write posts where you are ranting/venting. The best steel is tempered, you can’t be the best good unless you can integrate your worst bad. Janelle, you do an awesome fucking job of that. Cuntmuffin.
BettyThursday, 16 January, 2014 at 16:42
I could have written a lot of this. My oldest, Lisa, and I used to get into screaming matches when she was a teenager – You did so! I DID NOT!! YES, YOU DID!! – and my husband would walk by and quietly remind me that someone had to be the adult in the relationship “And it’s probably you…” he’d murmur. I apologized sooooo many times, wondered sooo many times how Lisa looked back on our relationship when she left for college – and was blessed with a beautiful love letter for her growing up years, found in her effects after her death in a freak car wreck. She knew we did our best, and that’s what she remembered. And since then, my other three (all grown now) have done the same. Sure, they remember the bad times, but overall, they have turned out ok, and apparently the voice they hear in their heads loves them very much. Keep plugging. All any of us can do is our best.
JasmineWednesday, 23 April, 2014 at 18:24
I feel like a shitty Mom more often than not. I think I might be bullying my almost-4yo. I’m not sure. I am not in a great space in my life and I’m really trying to climb out and move forward. But in the meantime I’m tired and I’m not taking good care of myself. And I think she is gettinf the shit end of the stick.
My inner voice is hyper-critical and not nice and sounds very much like my mother. I don’t want that for her and I think that’s exactly what I’m giving her. Or am I just being hyper-critical?
Now I’m just bawling. I might just need a hug.
GiaTuesday, 29 April, 2014 at 9:02
Late to the party on this one, but I just discovered you today, so give me a pass, ok? I have SO done this many, MANY times. I have f-bombed my kids and yelled at them and said “What is wrong with you?” And screamed at them for dumb stuff – like not wanting pizza when I don’t feel like cooking once in a blue moon. And more often than not, as soon as it happens, I realize what a horrible thing I am doing, and I take a minute to calm down and apologize for my behavior (just like you said) and hug and kiss and tell them I love them and try to move on. Thank goodness, I probably only do it once or twice a year, and I’m getting better and better at controlling it.
All of this, and I still think I’m a pretty damn good mom. I work hard, I set a good example (like 98.2% of the time), I help with homework, I bake cookies, I sew Halloween costumes, I read to their classes at school, I buy them awesome Christmas presents, I play Just Dance with them, I take walks with them, I make sure they all get individual mommy-time with me despite my RIDICULOUS schedule, I watch My Little-freaking-Pony with the girls and Dr. Who with the oldest boy and discuss the finer points of Ponyville and being a Time Lord. We dance in the car to Prince, we make up silly songs, we build forts and run in the sprinklers, and life is great – almost all the time.
So, yes, it is possible to be a pretty damn good mom (IMHO) and still lose your shit every now and then. I’m so TIRED and so stressed and I swear to god, sometimes I just want to disappear for a few hours or curl up in my bed and sleep for three days. But I don’t, do I? Because if I do, who will make the peanut butter waffles? I don’t even think my husband knows where the peanut butter is. They may all grow up and be in therapy for some irreparable damage I’ve done, but for now, they’re doing just fine. They know I love them, and I KNOW they know, and we are all BFFs….at least until I tell them to clean their rooms.
KagiThursday, 22 May, 2014 at 3:54
I apologise for leaving so many comments on old posts today, I just found your blog and even though I am never having kids (disabled and holy shit never passing on these genes to fucking anyone) I grew up in a large families and all my siblings now have kids so I can relate to a lot of it.
That comment I left above was more a reply to you than the person I replied to, oops, but I just want to say, I think you are actually doing a great job, and I only wish I’d had parents like you. Yelling can be a serious problem, but if they would ever have apologised or admitted they were wrong – even now, after so many years, when I’ve talked to them about it – it would have meant so much, but as it was, the other ‘voices’ kind of got faded out because the yelling that I took at face value at the time just erased everything good.
There was only ever anger (on their part) and fear (on mine) growing up, and now I’m in therapy for an actual fucking anxiety disorder that I’m fairly convinced is because of the way I was raised – isolated, homeschooled, stuck in a negative oversheltered enviroment my entire life growing up, with parents who would never admit shortcomings or apologise for anything.
I don’t know, it was just really hard, as an adult, realising that the real world is so different and something I was entirely unprepared for, and I was handling it to a degree until grand mal seizures attacked and I lost my job and all my indepence, and now the anxiety disorder, the chronic pain issues (from scoliosis and fucked up musculoskeletal system) and sleep problems are all combining to make my life hell.
I feel like I’ve failed at life and I’m forced to live with my parents who don’t understand me, being that I’m not religious anymore, gay and liberal, pretty much the stuff of their nightmares – I’m actually impressed that they took me back in at all and are paying my medical bills, because a lot of people with their beliefs would have thrown me out on the street, no matter what shape I was in.
So I’m grateful for that, and we’ve started working out some of our issues; as I mentioned, my dad has finally actually started changing, and they’re fixing their marriage as well as trying to mend some damage with all the grown kids, but it’s kind of too little too late for some of us. I don’t know, I’m at the place where I really have to let some of it go, for my own mental health if nothing else, but I’ve never learned healthy ways of thinking and relating to people because I was never shown it.
I’m really glad and kind of relieved to hear you talking about being honest with your kids and yourself and the world in general, apologizing to them and admitting that you don’t know everything and sometimes you’re wrong in the way you react in the moment, repeating constantly that you do love them and think they’re perfect and good enough…that stuff really does matter. It would have made a world of difference to me.
Thank you for sharing, for talking about the hard stuff, for being honest and having humility about it all and above all, for the way you keep trying, to be better and love better and be there for them in whatever way they need. You’re doing a great job, really.
PS Sorry this is so long, it kind of got away from me. :’)
AmandaSaturday, 24 May, 2014 at 3:23
I just wanted to tell you that it is inspiring that you are honest with your flaws, so many problems within families and without are due to people not being honest with themselves about their flaws. No one needs to achieve being perfect (and it is by and large an unattainable goal-letsbehonest)but striving towards being perfect by way of always trying to do better, having good intentions, and being honest with others about your flaws, is admirable.
TediTuesday, 15 July, 2014 at 22:07
Thank you for this. I just found your blog and can not stop reading. I feel like I have finally found “my peeps.” I suddenly want to live in CA so we can be friends… and because I currently live in AL. Yikes.
PhillipaSunday, 28 September, 2014 at 18:59
This is me. To the point that I say the exact same thing to one of my kids…..
But I haven’t owned my shit yet. I need to. Or my kids will have the same kind of relationship with me that I have with MY mother, and that’s not good. I don’t want them to be scared of telling me things when they are almost 40.
I wanted to read this aloud to my husband, but I would have lost it and started crying.
I love this blog. I feel safe here.
lindseySaturday, 21 March, 2015 at 23:21
you may be the only person who i felt has understood me. thank you for letting me know i’m not alone.