Thursday, October 24, 2013

Mommy Issues

It's a common label society has given to women who choose to live provocative lives. "She's got Daddy issues."
You know if she is swinging from a pole, selling her body or is just complicated... She must have daddy issues.
I want to know where the "mommies" are in these girls lives?
Where are the mothers who raised these trifling, sad, crazy, lonely and every other label society blankets them with, women? 
Where are the moms whose daughters run away from their abusive fathers, cousins and uncles? Where are the moms who live in the very same house with their child's rapists as abusers? 
Where is their sight? Where is their voice? Where is her will to survive or fight for her child?

Every Mother's day and Birthday these past few years have been bittersweet.
I used spend this day having "Girl Time" with my mother, sister and Nanny.
We would go out to eat and spend the day doing whatever Mom and Nanny wanted usually.
I remember one year Mom and Nanny were going to a conference for the weekend. My sister and I worked hard to clean the house and cook so when mom got home she would have nothing to stress about and everyone would be taken care of.
Now, I spend these kind of days trying to enjoy and be thankful for what I do have but, at some point something will remind me "You don't have a mother anymore." Not because she is dead... no, she is very much alive. She just chose a rapist over me.

 There were times growing up that I believed I was close to my mom. She never hit me, once she broke her last wooden spoon on my rear end that's it. She didn't have to rule me with an iron fist. She didn't have one anyway. She knew she could count on me to take care of chores and organizing school or office work because eventually I would get sick of seeing it all piled up. I was a caregiver so I was counted on to care for any and all that were ill, be it human or animal.
She loved it when I would "nest" and have one room in the house tore apart because it was my "project" I had this drive to tear up a room and clean it out, reorganize and throw away junk.
I don't know that I enjoyed the renovating of a disgusting, cluttered, overloaded room so much as I enjoyed the feeling of it being clean afterwards. I had a knack for sorting, organizing, stacking, filing,
cleaning and even throwing away things that my mother did not.
My parents were hoarders.  My father collected old tractors, machinery, tools etc. My mother collected books, papers, clutter etc.  Add to this laundry for 9 people and various farm pets in and out of the house and it could get nasty, fast.
My mother knew the house needed to be cleaned but, she really had no idea how to handle and run a house that operated like grand central station, only the trains never had a schedule.
She was overwhelmed, had no ambition to conquer the place and part of me believes I helped enable this whether I meant to or not.
If I went to cleaning and taking on a project room my mother was so kind and close to me. She would fuss about what a wonderful job I was doing. She sat on her computer bragging to her friends about it. She would get inspired and cook a meal or tend to the ever growing piles of dishes and laundry.
When I was done, the house had a wonderful peacefulness that lasted for a day or two.
As a result when the house's chronic angers seemed more than I could handle my one of two escapes was destroying and redoing a room in the house.
Whatever room I cleaned and organized, was sat in and enjoyed as the new family room. We would all gather in that room and spend time teasing each other, playing games  and pretending we were all comedians.
Mother loved this. She loved watching us all interact and laughing together.
She knew she could count on me to have a cleaning spurt, get tired of living in filth and clean.
I wonder if at times she relied on these spurts to give her happiness. She wanted her children to all get along and love each other. She wanted to have a clean house but had no idea how to do it or at least that is what she claimed. She said her own mother did all the house work when she was growing up so she had no idea how to keep a house.
When I think of my mother, I think of a short, stout built woman who sat at her computer or on the phone with friends and felt she deserved a reward for every load of laundry or dishes she did.

I kind of resent her. I wanted her to enjoy me for me. I know she didn't because she told me that I was "the girl in school everyone hated" and she did not know how she could raise such a person. I was loud, bossy and got results (AKA my way) she loved and hated that about me.
She did not like to fight or argue with me. I was defensive and could be an antagonist if I felt I could make it work for me. I studied my mother and her guilt trips. I learned which of her threats were just that and when she really meant it. I also knew that with my mother I could make her crazy angry in the morning and win back her love and affection if I did the house work and left her alone long enough to cool off.

 I had to take care of my father when he got home from work. Fix him a drink, serve his dinner plate, pull off his boots and make sure the remote was near so he could watch the news. Taking care of mom consisted of cleaning for her. When my mother was sick I was the caretaker. I remember my mother being so sick for so long once that I was scared she was going to die. She refused to go to the doctor. Friends begged her to go and I volunteered daily to help her get cleaned up and take her myself. I was so afraid for her and so mad at her and my father for letting her stay that way.  She spent three weeks in bed or on the recliner in the living room. I cried in my room at night begging God to not let her die. "I can't live with him without her, he's already mean and he will only get worse without her." I said in my prayer. I baked bread and made at least one meal everyday.  I had to iron for my father.  I had to listen for her whimpers from the living room. I was only 15-16 at the time and still had to go to the ranch with my brothers to help feed and care for the cattle.  I tried to hide my fear of waking up one morning to discover she was dead.

To this day, I resent her for that. Our roles were reversed too often when I was growing up. I believed for so many years I had to protect her. I had to take care of her.
When I moved out, I barely heard from her. Often when I finally did call her she would complain that I always called at the worst time. I would go months without hearing from her. I spent several years being in torment over missing her and still being angry with her for my childhood. I wanted her and my father to divorce so I could take care of her and maybe she could love me then.
I shed tears even now, writing this because I miss her and yet I am so angry with her.
I believed I could've let go of all these things and have her in my life with a healthy relationship between us IF she had simply not chosen a rapist over me.
This choice she made, is the straw that broke the camels back. It is too late for us to ever be reconciled because of this.

I don't swing from poles, struggle with addiction or have any diagnosis on paper that says "She is Crazy".  I don't judge anyone who finds themselves with these life choices or burdens either. I am complicated, stubborn, hard to love even.  I know what it's like to have "Daddy issues" and I am also painfully aware of my "Mommy issues". Sometimes I feel mothering is all I am good for and yet, it is the one thing I am the most insecure about. I constantly question what message my two year old is getting from me? Does he ever feel like he has to make me happy? Does he feel like he has to protect me? Does he think he has to perform for my life and affection? I have Mommy issues and Mother issues.

 The hard truth now is. It's no longer my Mother's fault. She is gone and this is my burden now.


  1. I believe Mommy issues are worse than dealing with Daddy issues because as women, our mother was supposed to be the person we modeled ourselves after in becoming a woman. Thank you for sharing your thoughts in this area. They make sense to me. I felt a lot of the same things toward my mother.

  2. Another truly excellent post Pepper and I'm sure the points you have raised apply to so many of us whose moms weren't there for us the way they needed to be. And I too can relate to your feeling that you took over her role to some degree, in my case, as you well know, even more than I should ever have had to. Thanks for sharing this. I too will always have both mommy and daddy issues, but as you say, it's up to me what I do with those now.

  3. Thank you both for your support. I agree with you, Patricia. I believe mommy issues are so much harder at times. There are times I have wanted so badly to have a mother to call and talk to safely. It is tormenting to miss a mother who chose a rapist of you.