Mom keeps telling me to get a life - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 13 Old 10-18-2011, 10:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My mom just doesn't accept that I want to be a SAHM. She keeps telling me (not asking) that I am depressed. She complains that all I ever talk about is my daughter and that I need to get a life. I have told her that this is hurtful and that I need her to respect my decisions and not project her perceived emotions on me. I love being a SAHM. My daughter is almost 2.

 

My mother also complains that I don't respect her parenting advice. Yesterday she wasn't backing down and out of pure frustration I agreed that I didn't. I mean, I respect that she HAS it but it isn't anything I want to follow. I am actually very respectful in dealing with her advice but she is implying that since I don't take her advice that I don't respect it. That is my mom.

 

She asked why I don't take her advice and I explained that I didn't want to parent like her and after being pressed I brought up some examples from my childhood, including her decision to be a flight attendant and leaving me with various people for several days at a time. After my parents divorced she left me around 14 with an abusive father to go live in another state with a rich boyfriend. There were many many more examples I could have given, like biting me to teach me not to bite when I was a toddler (she thinks this story is hilarious) and going against my teachers and refusing to put me in therapy for very obvious problems in grade school. But before I could even get that far she freaked out and said that I was basically an awful teenager and I was mean to her, so she left. (Wow I just thought she was broke and had to shack up, I didn't realize it was ME.) Then she said that all parents make mistakes and I'm kidding myself if I expect anyone to be perfect.

 

I agree that no one is perfect. We have worked out a lot of our differences and I thought I had forgiven her for leaving me and treating me the way she has ... but then I became a mother and see her so differently now. It was really hard to be close to her after I gave birth but I've slowly come to terms with my feelings about her treatment of me as a child ... until she became so opinionated about my style of parenting.

 

The conversation ended on a tense note but I told her that I loved her and I would talk to her later. She was planning a visit for Thanksgiving and before our difficult conversation was planning on purchasing her tickets today. So I called today and left her a friendly message and she never called me back. This really hurt my feelings. She has really been dragging her heels about purchasing tickets. Last year she swore she would come for Christmas and never bought tickets ... my husband's side of the family planned around it and it was uncomfortable because they knew I was expecting her. Then she said she'd come in February but never made it.

 

I don't know of many women who have these issues with their mom after becoming a mom. I accept that my childhood is in my past but I had no idea that I would have such a strong reaction to the parent I had once I became one. I guess what I am looking for here are more stories about seeing your mother differently after becoming one. Is anyone else struggling with this or is my situation exceptional?

 

Any insight into this situation is appreciated.

 

Thanks.

 


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#2 of 13 Old 10-19-2011, 02:38 AM
 
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I have to say that you are not the only one that feels this way. Your feelings about your mothers treatment of you then and now is totally valid.  She is your child and you have every right to stay home with her and enjoy this time with her. Don't feel bad about what you have said to her as well. Unfortunately the truth hurts and sometimes they go on the attack. You don't have to take her advice that is what it is advice, this is not a dictatorship.

 

I have had such issues with both my parents since having my first son 2 years ago. I never thought that our relationship would deteriorate the way it has, and to be honest they didn't even treat me that bad when I was growing up.

 

Since having my first son, they have become so disrespctful to me. Shouting at him to shut up when he was 3 weeks old. Wanting to give him water because "it's better than having milk all the time", he's exclusively breastfed. Obviously the milk I'm producing is rubbish. At 4 months, not even started weaning, she tried to give him chocolate and when I told her no, she smeared some on her finger and tried to put it in his mouth. At 6 months gave him cheesecake, after I said no, he's not to have it. Then they called me cruel in front of ALL my family. It just goes on and on.

We moved away when he was 7 months due to DH work, so we don't see them too often now, but it still happens on the phone. So and so's baby was sleeping through the night at 6 weeks. He still doesn't sleep through the night now. So obviously I must be doing something wrong, Yes because I won't let him CIO.

They said that we were denying them access to him, because DH wanted to hold him while they were visiting once. They said that he got to see him all the time. Yes he's his father and lives with us. This is when we still lived near them, they would come over all the time, and I never once stopped them seeing him. That one really hurt me.

Packing us off ALL THE TIME to grandparents, so they could get some alone time.

 

It is bizzare how your parents change when you have a baby. I think it is a control issue and they don't have any control over how you are bringing your LO up. Sorry to hijack your post by my ranting about my parents! I just wanted to say that you are not alone in this.

 

Yes, I totally see my mother differently now I am a mother. I think because you are more willing to make sacrifices (although probably like me you don't see them as sacrifices, just being a parent) this hurts them because they feel the way they did it was the right way and by your actions you are saying no, this was not right I won't do it. It is their insecurities coming out. My father said exactly the same thing your mother said, "nobody gets it perfect". No I don't expect to either but I'm not going to make your mistakes either.

 

Sending you strength and hugs. You are so not alone.

 

xx

 

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#3 of 13 Old 10-19-2011, 06:42 AM
 
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I've come to feel that when people give you unsolicited advice or opinions, it's usually because they have issues about the topic and it really says nothing about you at all. I would imagine that your mother is not very happy at some level about how she parented, and seeing you doing it so differently makes her feel defensive about that. The way she deals with that is by telling you that you should be doing it the way she did, because then that would mean that what she did was okay. This is not about you. It's about her.

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#4 of 13 Old 10-19-2011, 11:03 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by womenswisdom View Post

I've come to feel that when people give you unsolicited advice or opinions, it's usually because they have issues about the topic and it really says nothing about you at all. I would imagine that your mother is not very happy at some level about how she parented, and seeing you doing it so differently makes her feel defensive about that. The way she deals with that is by telling you that you should be doing it the way she did, because then that would mean that what she did was okay. This is not about you. It's about her.


I agree with this, she's insecure about the choices she made. I don't think there's much you can do to change her mind... I'd be inclined to say something like "Maybe you'd have been depressed to stay home when I was a toddler, but you and I are different people. I'm happy with my life the way it is now, please be happy for me. I'm glad I'll have your support should I decide to pursue a career when my children are older, Thanks mom." So you give her a little credit where maybe it's not totally due, but it ends on a positive note and that makes it easier to change the topic.

 

My MIL was like this with DH, she figured she knew better than us how kids should be raised and let it be known. His brothers are raising their kids more in line with her beliefs, and our kids are from my previous marriage, so our status-quo was set long before she came on the scene (and for that matter before DH, to an extent) It was easy for me to smile & nod then go about things my way... and I think because of that, she didn't waste much time trying to convince me she was right.   The only response she ever really got was along the lines of yes he has a good appetite, yes he has a good work ethic, yes he has manners, thanks for raising him to be a good man. Then I'd go about things my way... and I think because of that, she didn't waste much time trying to convince me she was right.   

 

DH gave her feedback, told her she was wrong, , justified, disagreed, tried to explain our reasoning and he got a LOT of criticism. For example she said "Why do you tell them it's 5 minutes until we go, that's stupid! Kids can't tell time anyway!" She'd be so under his skin he'd lash out "Oh really? Our kids tell time just fine, but I'm sorry to hear the rest of your grand kids aren't as smart." (I literally face-palmed when I heard that one) Then she'd find something else to pick on and it was a vicious cycle.


~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.

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#5 of 13 Old 10-19-2011, 12:16 PM
 
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Most of our mothers like to give advice or let us know (sometimes subtly, sometimes not) that our different parenting choices feel like a judgement on the way they parented. Most of this is easy to shrug off or gently deflect, and that's the best way to go, I've found.

However, in your case this is complicated by the unusually painful past and continuing issues you have with your mother. To answer your question, yes, I think your situation is kind of exceptional. My advice would be first, not to get into it with your mother at all, ever. When she gives advice, simply say "That's certainly something to think about," and change the subject. Second, if you haven't done this, it might be time to talk with a counselor about your history with your mom and ways to move forward.
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#6 of 13 Old 10-20-2011, 01:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks ladies.I agree it is about her as most things are. I will avoid getting into it with her and perhaps make more of a point to talk with my therapist about my issues with her. It is just amazing how differently I feel about my childhood and my relationship with my mother since assuming the same role.


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#7 of 13 Old 10-20-2011, 02:03 PM
 
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I can relate to you in a lot of ways.  My mom and I have never had a good relationship.  I had dealt with it in therapy years ago before having a child, and felt like I had pretty much moved on.  Having a child made all of my feelings re-surface, some of them much stronger than they had been initially.  More than anything, I guess I started really grieving all that I missed out on as a child by not having an attached mom, one who would meet my needs, one who was emotionally stable or whole herself.  When I see what my son has, I feel even more sad.  After I had him, I was reading through my own baby book, and my mom had written something about me being 15 months old, refusing to let her put my pants on, and her "slapping me so hard her hand hurt."  Also stories about me crying it out until I vomitted...yelling from my crib different things to her (I had a pretty huge vocabulary at a young age so she thought the things I was saying were funny :()  to try to get her to come get me, etc. To read those things made me so overwhelmed with sadness, and so incredibly disgusted.  It is one thing to have a bad day, but another to put them in writing in a baby book as if they are perfectly acceptable and comical.  I think about my own instincts as a mother, and to think about those things happening to my son would be unbearable to me.  Forgiveness is a process.  I continue to work towards forgiving her on a regular basis.  However, she is the same person today as she was when I was a 15 month old.  I have learned that she will never change.  I realize that her failing to love and protect me and meet my needs has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with her.  Distance from her has been what I have needed for myself emotionally.  Distance meaning we don't frequently talk, we don't frequently visit, and I don't allow myself to be convinced that she has changed, is somehow different, might be able to give me support with anything, etc.  I do not depend on her.  I try not to wish things were different.  I try to fill that void in other ways, with people who are able to give me the love I need, and the love I have always deserved from her.  I haven't completely cut her off, but for my own sanity, I don't choose to think of her as "mom."  I think of her as someone with significant (undiagnosed to my knowledge) mental health issues.  For my own sanity too, I have learned not to expect anything from her, nor give her much of my time.  Boundaries can be a very good thing in situations like this.  I know I am able to pull myself and my life together really well when I'm not dealing with such a toxic relationship.  Not sure if that helps at all, but I hope you are able to find peace with your situation one way or another.  I don't think a person ever stops grieving not having the mom that they deserved, but there are ways to make things better. 

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#8 of 13 Old 10-20-2011, 09:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you APToddlerMama. Your post means a lot to me. I can deeply identify with the sadness and disgust in my mother's actions toward me as a child. Grieving is a very appropriate term for what I am feeling. I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me. Thank you.


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#9 of 13 Old 10-21-2011, 01:18 PM
 
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after i had my first ds, and especially after having my 2nd, i have found it harder and harder to spend time with my mom. she LOVES my babies. she will do anything for them, she has even gone so far as to grandparent them the way that i parent them. how great is that!? but at the same time, i have this horribe nagging reminder that she never gave ME attention like that. its kind of a jealous thing i guess, but its like, why was it ok to spank me as an infant but now it "feels wrong." why didnt it feel wrong back then? that honestly irritates me to the point where i have a hard time looking at her. 

 

i had a hard time dealing with my family as a teen. two developmentally disabled brothers, one "all star" brother .... and then me. i was the oldest, the girl, i was given waaaay too many responsibilities and no room for error. i tried running away to get away from the madness, and when i came back and explained how trapped i felt, nothing changed. there was no room to breath until i got married at 20.

 

my mom was so "things have to be THIS way and you will do it THIS way" that when i see her being so flexible with my younger brothers and my boys, i get angry! she insists i was a horrible child, that she HAD to parent the way she did. i resent her. i see her very often still, but i dont enjoy myself. how can this woman think so badly of me and yet love my kids in a way that she couldnt love me?

 

eh... this turned into a rant =\


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#10 of 13 Old 10-22-2011, 05:46 AM
 
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Your mother sounds similar to my mom in several ways but not all. I've developed a theory about my mom and maybe it will help you. 

 

My mother was not an involved mother. I think she was in the beginning, but she bailed on us when I was five and reentered when I was about 10, then bailed again later. It's difficult for her to understand why we breastfeed for so long ( my LO is 15 months old and she's hinted at him weaning ) and she definitely doesn't support us co-sleeping. She skipped his birth and his first birthday. She lives out of state, but came up with her own reasoning for not being there. 

 

I'm come to the conclusion that it's simply difficult for her to understand my parenting choices because she parented differently and was parented differently. Her mother was also not very affectionate with her. Not to sound crass, but I don't think the mothering gene, especially for little ones, exists in my mom and this makes it impossible for her to understand the warm snuggly feelings we have towards our little ones. She doesn't get why I held him so much as an infant or why he's in my backpack carrier now so much. I've just had to accept it and try and move on, although it hurts. In order for me to be a good mother I have to try and separate myself from her. My son is my focus and I know I'm doing an outstanding job. Sometimes I'm thankful I was raised by my mother. I can truly understand how beneficial it is to have a bonded relationship with my son, because I never had one with her. 

 

I've also been disappointed with her clear lack of interest in my child. There's no delight, no phone calls to talk to him, no check up calls when he's sick. My father ( they're divorced ) calls everyday to check up etc. 

 

It sucks. It hurts. But you'll have accept you can't change her. You didn't do anything wrong, you're an awesome mom. Just keep doing what your doing. Be firm and loving with her. Don't ask for her advice. As an example, be clear when sometimes isn't up for debate. With the cosleeping issue, I simply told my mother our son will move to his own bed when we feel it's appropriate. The conversation ended. 

 

As an after thought, your mom may actually be envious and jealous. My mom did a wonderful job of screwing me up when I was younger and I think she liked telling people about my mishaps, it gave her some sympathy. Now  I'm a wife and mom and am doing a good job, so I've taken her ability to be a martyr away. 

 

Best of luck to you. 

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#11 of 13 Old 10-23-2011, 02:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by choochootwo View Post

Your mother sounds similar to my mom in several ways but not all. I've developed a theory about my mom and maybe it will help you. 

 

My mother was not an involved mother. I think she was in the beginning, but she bailed on us when I was five and reentered when I was about 10, then bailed again later. It's difficult for her to understand why we breastfeed for so long ( my LO is 15 months old and she's hinted at him weaning ) and she definitely doesn't support us co-sleeping. She skipped his birth and his first birthday. She lives out of state, but came up with her own reasoning for not being there. 

 

I'm come to the conclusion that it's simply difficult for her to understand my parenting choices because she parented differently and was parented differently. Her mother was also not very affectionate with her. Not to sound crass, but I don't think the mothering gene, especially for little ones, exists in my mom and this makes it impossible for her to understand the warm snuggly feelings we have towards our little ones. She doesn't get why I held him so much as an infant or why he's in my backpack carrier now so much. I've just had to accept it and try and move on, although it hurts. In order for me to be a good mother I have to try and separate myself from her. My son is my focus and I know I'm doing an outstanding job. Sometimes I'm thankful I was raised by my mother. I can truly understand how beneficial it is to have a bonded relationship with my son, because I never had one with her. 

 

I've also been disappointed with her clear lack of interest in my child. There's no delight, no phone calls to talk to him, no check up calls when he's sick. My father ( they're divorced ) calls everyday to check up etc. 

 

It sucks. It hurts. But you'll have accept you can't change her. You didn't do anything wrong, you're an awesome mom. Just keep doing what your doing. Be firm and loving with her. Don't ask for her advice. As an example, be clear when sometimes isn't up for debate. With the cosleeping issue, I simply told my mother our son will move to his own bed when we feel it's appropriate. The conversation ended. 

 

As an after thought, your mom may actually be envious and jealous. My mom did a wonderful job of screwing me up when I was younger and I think she liked telling people about my mishaps, it gave her some sympathy. Now  I'm a wife and mom and am doing a good job, so I've taken her ability to be a martyr away. 

 

Best of luck to you. 


Thank you. I have to say this is a good point and I didn't consider it.

 


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#12 of 13 Old 12-25-2011, 03:20 PM
 
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I don't think it is that uncommon to have a mom like that seeing all the responses here. My parents did the best job they could, but I too grew up with an always depressed, withdrawn mother. Everything was always about keeping my mom happy. I was pretty much ignored most of the time, she didn't attempt any of the kind of parenting I am committed to (attached, breastfeeding, taking charge of my child's health and so forth). It went that far that I didn't see a doctor or dentist for like 6 years as a young child. I have mostly come to terms with it, talking it through with my husband. I was pretty much left along as a child yet it was expected that I only have A's and always be the best, and I delivered, but it wasn't really hm paid much attention to. In the later years I was just bought off - I would just get stuff to be appeased, which I understand now. When I first had DS I was incredibly mad for my mom not trying to be the kind of mom I want to be. I was upset and for the first time understood the responsibilities they neglected as parents (and I was mad too at my dad for letting it happen and not taking charge). But I let go of the anger as it does no good. We live very far apart so we don't get much confrontation. They do love my kids a lot and they are very nice with them. But my mom feels that whatever I choose as a parent is to tell her that she did it wrong. Whenever I nurse my babies in front of her, she says she coudln't breastfeed. she says she didn't know you shouldn't drink in pregnancy or eat raw meat or whatever, blablablabla. It's all about her and I just ignore it now. It's more sane for me to not let her issues affect me and my parenting, and luckily it works well to redirect her; I don't react to her negative comments/nagging/advice (back then they said you should do this! nonsense kinda stuff) and instead answer with something like oh the weather is nice let's go for a walk or let's play with that toy you got DS he loves it so much (saying something that makes her feel warm and fuzzy). People usually don't change, especially not at our parents' age. So I instead try to work around their "quirks" and look forward, and not backward, I don't want to keep hurting. It doesn't always work and sometimes they say something that brings back bad memories, and then I talk with DH which helps me. I do want to do therapy down the road though when I finally have time to do so to really, really work out all the issues. I think it will help and everyone who had a not so perfect childhood probably could benefit from it - to make as less vulnerable, stronger and happier to enjoy being parents for our little munchkins.

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#13 of 13 Old 01-03-2012, 04:46 PM
 
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Wow, this is a very powerful thread. I totally get how your mothers' decisions and parenting style completely resurface when you become a mom yourself. My mom and I have an interesting situation -- she laments on many of the decisions she made with my brother, and constantly talks about how there just was not a lot of information in those days. You have to keep in mind that in that day and age, there really were not a lot of sources on parenting, and it was hard to get information. That's one thing that is so great about the information age! There has been so much research done on child development in the last 2-3 decades, and there are so many resources available now. We are really lucky. It is by far no excuse at all for the decisions some moms made back then, but just keep in mind that traditional parenting values were very different then and there was not information available like there is now.

 

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