Friday, July 18, 2008

All Gone

The last of my company just left, and I breathe a sigh of relief. What's hilarious is that my mother-in-law's month visit was a complete breeze and my mother's four day visit was a nightmare as usual.

As is typical, she got pissed the day before they were to leave and pouted the rest of the time. And what was she pissed about you ask?

Yesterday we had planned on meeting Mark for dinner at 5:30. Hayden is always a bit grumpy when you wake him up from his nap instead of letting him wake up naturally. So, when I went in there at 5, he was still snoozing. And, of course, he was a grump waking up. When I started to change Corbin's diaper, Hayden had a complete meltdown. He did not want me paying attention to Corbin, he wanted to be held. So he started screaming and crying. I left him with my Mom and went to change Corbin's diaper. Corbin, by this point, is also crying. You can imagine the noise. My Mom then brings Hayden into our room where I'm changing Corbin. Hayden starts crying louder, so I tell her, "That's making it worse.". I even managed a calm tone when saying it too - I was very proud of myself that I didn't snap and go crazy with all the screaming in my ears.

Well I guess that ruffled her feathers because next thing I know she's set Hayden down and went to the bathroom for a second. She spends the rest of the night barely talking to anyone, and hardly gives Hayden the time of day. Even today when they left she wasn't even going to say goodbye to Hayden, but he ran to the door and said "Bye-Bye", so he got a brief bye.

Now, she can treat me like shit all she wants, but to take it out on my kid? That's just childish. He's a baby. YES A BABY. He's only freakin 20 months old. In the car on the way home, she was sitting next to his car seat and I guess he reached over and smacked her arm, which we've been working on getting him not to "hit". Now, his hits are not painful, he's a damn 20 month old. She turns around and yells at him in a nasty voice. I wanted to smack her, but I was driving.

I should have said something, but I didn't. I'm ashamed of that. I let her be nasty to my kid and I didn't say anything. I know he's a handful right now, his whole world has been turned upside down and he doesn't know how to deal with all these emotions he's feeling. But to her he's just a brat. Whatever.

She's from the school of spanking, which I wasn't necessarily against, but hello, he's a little young for that. Mark and I actually found that "spanking" actually increased his hitting behavior, so we don't. I much prefer redirection at this age, which takes more effort and patience, but works. For all her "spanking" while she was here, his behavior showed no improvements, and he just got worse actually. Her spanking and yelling had the opposite effect on him. **Disclaimer: Her spankings weren't hard or anything for those of you worried about that.** I let her try "her way" just to see if it did work, and I found it didn't. So that's that.

She also seemed to get upset anytime I didn't agree with her, so I'm sure that last "incident" was just the icing on the cake for her. She always has a long list of "injustices". We got to talking about Mark's health right before that and she made a statement that I felt was incorrect, so I corrected her. She was saying that Mark was "self-diagnosing" his MS, which I corrected and said "No, he has a neurologist, it's just that diagnosing MS is difficult, it's not an absolute." Then she started misquoting things I had said to her years ago when we started this MS journey. And well, that was the beginning of the pouting really.

I pray every day that God helps me not to turn into a mother like her. I'm so scared I'm going to screw up this motherhood thing. I was reading a blog the other day and the philosophy the mom had really spoke to me. I'm not trying to raise good kids, I'm trying to prepare my kids for being an adult and living in this world. I want my kids to know what's truly important in this world. I want my kids to know God. I want them to know love. I want them to know how to love. My last priority is to have kids who never scream/yell, embarrass me in public, etc. My job is not to "look" like a good parent, it's to be a good parent.

I've gone through a few periods of not having my Mom in my life. I often consider going back to that, but I don't want to have bitterness in my heart. My Mom is very bitter. She doesn't let go of things easily. She's still talking about things that happened 40 years ago. Whatever my Mom has done to me, I've "packed up" and put it away in my mind, I don't dwell on it. What's done is done. But this relationship is unhealthy. We both seem to be miserable. If it wasn't for my Dad, I'd probably have kept her away until she understood what she was doing. Which might be never.

Poor Mark is sick of this sad story, it's the same one that's been playing our whole marriage and my whole life. But I'm an only child, and she's the only family I have. She's my mother. I forgive her and continue to forgive her, maybe I'll always forgive her. I guess everyone has had an unhealthy person in their life that they just can't let go and she's mine.

And it's not love that keeps me coming back, it's this sick need for her approval. Argh! Why can't I just let go of that? Why is that so important to me?

Well four days with her has managed to spiral me into a really down mood. Mark says to not worry about it, but that's easier said than done. Hopefully we have a good weekend.


Shelley said...

You're a great mom.

Robyn said...

I agree with Shelley. Anyone can see you love your kids and take great care of them -- and Hayden is at least as well behaved as any other boy his age. I'm always asking you my crazy "mom questions" because I think you're doing an awesome job and I hope I can learn to do it as well as you do. Keep it up!

LeftyMama said...

Argghh. Sorry to hear that anyone is giving you a hard time, especially someone who ought to be helping you out and giving you some slack right now. You don't deserve that.

Maybe "forgive" isn't the best word here. At least in my own similar situation with certain family members, it's more like "acceptance." I know she/he will never be anyone except who she/he is and to expect anything different only gives me heartache. So, I try to limit my (and my child's) exposure to the toxic stuff by keeping our visits brief & infrequent(which usually helps keep the conflict/hurt to a minimum) and biting my tongue as much as possible when "inappropriate" and "button-pushing" comments inevitably come. Our last get-together was over Memorial Day wknd, and after 2 nights and 2.5 days, our visit ended with the feared cursing/screaming fit over something trivial that was not even about her, but which she - as usual - made into something about her. We haven't spoken since, but I'm sure she'll call or email someday soon, acting like nothing happened and we'll pick up where we left off....

I feel for you, sister.