Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Lets hear it for the Good Mother Button and not the Mother Guilt Button

Ok tonight it got pressed again, and all the usual feelings rushed through me as to how useless I am, what a bad mother.....

Then I thought, wait a minute that's not true, so doing what I find difficult, I phoned a friend for a chat.... Jenny's children are in their 30s now, and happily married with all their teenage angst long gone. But I knew she would just listen as I poured out my sorrow.

So what happened for these feelings to be doing my head in again? Well have a guess who was involved? I came up with a suggestion for him about spreading his network wider to look for a job, and suggested he should start tomorrow. This of course was ungraciously received, as are all messages like this. I tried to continue the conversation, without raising to the bait of his special nasty voice that he uses just on me.

He countered my attempted discussion by throwing at me.... "You won't have to put up with me, your selling the house so you can get away from me." I rejected this idea saying I was leaving cause it was time for me to have my own life back. He reiterated his comment, announced he was going out and went.

All of this a fairly normal exchange when I try getting Alex to motivate himself. He gets pissed off and resentful and I can end up having many differing emotions. And today as he left the house the button that got pushed was what I call the mother guilt button.

This button is given to mothers when they first deliver their babies, it comes straight from the wicked fairy, as a punishment for what I'm not sure, but it is definitely a punishment.

It's the place mothers go when they don't do what their children want of them. It starts when they are tiny, about two usually, and the little treasures are in the supermarket with us, whilst we try and do the weeks shop. And just when we think we've got it covered, they start wanting something, could be sweeties, could be a toy, could be well anything at all. And suddenly we are the world's worst mother as the little angel has the temper tantrum form hell. Screaming that we don't love them.

Now all good mother's know that this is a passing phase...... Right how did we fall for that line then??? And we calmly explain to the cherub that if they behave, i.e. stop showing us up, then we will reward their good behaviour with a treat. Oh big big mistake, we should have left them screaming on the floor and let someone else deal with them, whilst we go off and have a comforting cream cake and double brandy.

But no, we fall for it anything to please our little precious, they then become like vampire bats, sucking the life blood out of us. If you loved me, you'd let me have those trainers, if you loved me, you'd let me stay up late and watch the TV, if you loved me, really loved me you'd let me go out to the party and not come home till midnight. And all of this before they are three!

And every time we make a stand and say NO, they the little darlings sulk and feel hard done to, making sure that we know what terrible mothers we are. Guess what, we buy it, we hate ourselves for not giving them the earth. After all they are our children,we made them, we have poured our love and care into them. Surely they deserve everything we can give them.......

At this point any sensible mother should give the little dumpling a thick ear and send them to bed with only a bowl of gruel, but do we do that, do we heck as like! No we beat ourselves up for not being good enough mothers.

Now I'm sure there are loads of other buttons out there for fathers, wives, husbands siblings, partners, but tonight it's my Mother guilt button that has been pressed.

It has a direct line to my heart, it is most certainly not logical, it is an emotional wet blanket that wraps its way round me and makes me feel inadequate, as if, I was a good enough mother I'd stay here in this house until my own sweet little treasure is ready to leave.

Thank God for friends who know what you're talking about, who can just allow through talking for the sensible side to reassert itself and say,... Whoa just wait a minute Mandy, you are a good mother you have always been a good mother, even on bad days, you were doing your best.

And this little horror is just using emotional blackmail cause he's scared of standing on his own two feet..... And you staying here would always prevent that happening and that is NOT GOOD MOTHERING!!!!!

Plus it's your time now.....

So taking that button and shoving it back in the cupboard, knowing that it's my job as a mother to always feel guilt for some reason or another. Or more healthily to know that I'm doing the best I can and that is good enough. And stuff the guilt where the sun don't shine cause I'm not going to wear it like a hair shirt at all.

I have to toughen up here,and in so doing this tough love of myself then I can allow my son to develop and mature and stop thinking he's two and can have the bag of sweeties, just cause he can scream louder than me.


BenefitScroungingScum said...

I have no useful advice/comment to make. But I am thinking of you and sending a hug! BG x
PS: Word verif is bulyt which seems apt ;)

Gin said...

Oh you...

Sending you all my love. You are doing the right thing. Deep down...you know that. It's tough though.

Paula said...

I am so sorry. As you know I have no kids hence no idea about these kinds of buttons, but I do know about boundaries.
Good that you work on closing "Hotel Mother" anyway.
Gld that you got all out, glad that you called a friend. All my love. HUGS

Angela said...

Logically you understand it, Mandy, now you must accept it in your heart, too.
There are sons (mostly) who play this game till they are forty. Will you wait that long?
How can he ever learn to take up responsibility for himself? And what you said is perfectly right: we as mothers are doing what we can, but we are not responsible for THEIR choices! And our own lives are important, too.
I`ll treat you to some good chocolate cake, yes?

lakeviewer said...

Good for you, Mandy. You talked yourself back to rational state. Your boy has to take responsibility for his own happiness and success. WE all want the training wheels on forever, but we can only gain confidence by falling down and getting up and straighten ourselves back up.

Linda - Gold Coast said...

Bravo Mandy. Well done for taking stock of the situation. I started several years ago "tough love" with my son and he now knows I will not put up with any of his crap. He still tries though (he will be 21 next month). Don't you know Mandy the world revolves around them! Deep down Alex knows you are the best Mum, he is just tugging on your heart strings at the moment. Be strong Mandy. Linda xoxo

speck of dust said...

I'm sorry to hear what a hard time you're having with the conflicts with your son. You sound really angry about it all. And you're really funny when you're angry :) When I was reading the Tao translations by Wayne Dyer he said it's not his children's job to love him it's his job to love his children. It stays in my mind whenever D is being difficult and helps me stay calm and and not lose it. Also a book that has helped me loads is 'How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk' do you know it? It has actually helped me in my relationship with my husband too. Basically, you listen and acknowledge their feelings without giving any advice. Whenever D is playing up I say 'you're really grumpy aren't you!'. IT helps stop his grumpiness getting out of control if I was also to be irritated with him. I don't know if this will be helpful. But I really recomment the book anyway. Do something lovely for yourself and remember you're a really good mother!!!

Merry ME said...

One of my guiltiest Mom moments was when my son was put in drug rehab across the country from where I lived. I spoke to one of his therapists and informed him that I could be on the first plane East. I was told, gently yet matter of factly I wasn't needed. In fact I was part of the problem. The apron strings that attached us needed to be cut. I still want to cry when I think about that time. Luckily the lad has grown into a fine man. It just takes time, and letting go. Is the guilt button the price we pay for eating the damned apple?

Lori ann said...

Oh dear Mandy,

this is hard. there is the guilt you feel, and the fear and insecurity he feels (and guilt too i'm sure).

it is hard for you to do this alone.

i have an idea. i'll mail you.

be strong, have faith in everything working out.

it will.

love to you,

Pam said...

So glad you had someone to call who was very helpful Mandy.I suppose you were having a reasonable day up to that point of arguing with Alex. That is the most annoying part, how others can push our buttons and affect our well-being.Good luck and keep rested. It's important! xx

Sage said...

{{hugs}} can't be easy for you and you are right Alex is that two year old wanting a bag of sweets... he probably feels the ground is quicksand beneath his feet, but he needs to trust himself to take the first steps out of there and as you say stand on his own two feet...

Mel said...

You taught him well. I don't mean that maliciously--you really did teach him good things, Mandy. I think we lose sight of that and focus on the muddling through we did because there's no freaking manual that came with 'em.
You taught him about loving and giving--that's there as well.

It's just time, yaknow?

It was my job to teach and I taught. But it came time for the boy to decide what he was going to do with everything I'd given him......and I was 'dismissed' as the teacher.
I didn't like it much. And like MerryMe, I came to understand that my job as the primary teacher--was completed.
I needed to get out of the man-child's way so he could learn from other places and I could cease being 'the problem'.
Me being available to be MADE the problem--was a part of the problem.

The good news is I can love him right where my feet are. And so can you.
We have practice at loving people in the distance. We can do that with ease.
Letting the distance happen when that guilt button's being hit over and over again--difficult but do-able.

I'm proud of you for making the call.
THAT'S a huge thing for you.....like it's a HUGE thing for me.

((((((((((( the byrdie ))))))))))

Well done, you!

Angela Recada said...

Oh my, yes, Mandy! My 18 year old son knows just where my buttons are, too. Not a day goes by that he doesn't push them.

I'm sending you my love and support. Keep doing what you know is right. It's all you/we can do.


(You are so right - Susan Boyle also has an incredible voice! I enjoyed hearing it so much.)

hele said...

so true, that sometimes by trying to shield someone we love me stop them from growing. my love just sulked out of the house about twenty minutes ago and i am trying to just sit here and let it be rather than try and rush into how i can fix things.

your mail is helping with this process a LOT.

Walker said...

KIds never make it easy and never will until the learn to take care of themselves.
I have two to deal with.
One is working and the other goes to school but doesn't want to do anything else but have all her kids by the time she is 25.
She doesnt care if she finishes school or not and she doesnt even have a GF.
Nuts nuts nuts and when I tell her to do something she laughs.
If it was one of my friends laughing at me like that they would be in the hospital.
Go figure, damn kids

justme said...

Grrrr! Kids! ....Hug!

miss*R said...

did you not know, that as a baby girl comes down the birth canal, and her gorgeous little head appears.. the drs.. stamp 'GUILT' upon her forehead.. to be there forever.. haunting her? well, that is my theory..

damn teenagers... my baby just turned 20 and I sure hope she turned the corner to adulthood as well...

nitebyrd said...

You're definitely doing the right thing. Children are born with the ability to push every button we have - to their advantage.

I'm dealing with something very similar right now. Boys!