Thursday, May 26, 2011

My Mother's Daughter?

I know you are going to be shocked to hear this, but I really didn't turn out so great.

I dropped out of high school even though I was taking college-level classes simply because I refused to participate in gym class.  I hated high school so much that I never bothered to apply to college.  When I did go, I went to community college and only took classes I was interested in rather than actually attempting to follow some kind of curriculum.  I dropped out of college too when I realized someone was going to have to pay for all those classes I enjoyed so much and then managed to throw my student loan into default during what can only be described as "one of my insane periods".  This has ruined my chances of going back to school to get a degree so that I can make real money to actually pay back the loan so that I can go back to school to make real money...you get the idea.

And I blame the entire spiral on one person..MY MOTHER.

My life after about 10th grade.
(Image thanks to wired.com)

Yes, yes...I know.  I am an adult and was when I went to college so how can I blame my mother for decisions I've made since that magical age when I should have been living alone and being responsible for myself?

Well, simple.  Her parenting sucked. 

And I am reminded of it every time I show up to pick up my kid and she is having a Hershey Bar at 5:00 pm (perfect for an appetizer I suppose) or when she demands that she IS NOT putting her shoes/coat/clothes on to leave because she doesn't have to do what my mother says.  I am reminded when Lila comes home and tells me she played with the hose all day in March "because Grandma doesn't like it when I cry".  I am reminded of it when I try to explain the concept of "time out" to my mother and she tells me it isn't nice to let Lila cry like that, even for a few minutes and that it "hurts Lila's feelings" when I yell at her.

My mother is a woman of no boundaries and fewer limits.  It was her lack of limits that allowed me to have a 17 year old abusive boyfriend when I was 13 and allowed me to skip school and sleep in because everyone knew I could pass the test.  It was her lack of limits which was the forerunner of my inability to delay gratification for ANYTHING until I was about 25 years old.  And by then it was too late.

She never pushed me to do anything I didn't want to do, assuming that I was a strong kid and I would figure it out and she criticizes the way I refuse to allow Lila to do insane things (like take everything out of the refrigerator to keep her busy for 2 and a half minutes) even though it would "make Lila SOOO happy."

I parent NOTHING like my mother.  I set rules and limits.  Lila cannot stand up on the dining room table.  She cannot act like an animal in Wal-Mart.  She will not get Pepsi no matter how much she cries for it and I don't care if she wants a toy.  I said no.

I am hoping that with a little guidance and direction, I will succeed where my mother failed me.  I want Lila to find a life that suits her but also that is not full of missed opportunities and hurts that were totally unavoidable.

Oh, and I hope to spare her the 10 + years worth of therapy I have accumulated throughout the years.

Inspired by one of Mama Kat's weekly writing prompts:


Not your mother's daughter...how do you parent differently than your mother did? Is it a good thing or a bad thing?


Mama's Losin' It

15 comments:

  1. I attribute my upbringing to my dad...mostly. He was the driving force behind our boundaries & he set his high. I am grateful for that. Had it been my mom alone, I think I would be in entirely different circumstances. I can relate to you on that, for sure.

    So glad I found you blog. I will return. I like your style. :)

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  2. Crazed fan alert - I love your blog's title. The background. This post. You rock and I'm signing up for more.

    You should do public service announcements to 12-14 year olds to make them understand one day they'll thank their parents for setting limits. And yes, sometimes those limits mean your child won't be happy with you. Gasp! Best case scenario, your kid grows up regretting lost opportunities as you described. Worst case scenario, society (cough*police*) will teach your child the boundaries you couldn't be bothered with.

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  3. I love this, because it's raw, honest, and emotional. In my case, I blame my dad, but not because of his lack of boundaries. He was the opposite; he's an overachiever, and he expected (and expects) me to be like him. I think good parenting would be somewhere between your mom's and my dad's.

    It's good that you're setting limits, though. That IS good parenting. As long as it's not too much, I think. One of the things I'm afraid of is that, when I have a child, I'll be so lenient. I have a tendency to be that way. Thank you for this post. It's sort of a reminder to me.

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  4. I absolutely agree that it is a parent's job to be on top of their kids and their schoolwork. I was a good kid but even i needed a push every so often. Parents need to set limits and boundaries. I hated it when I was growing up but now realize I do exactly the same thing, even if my child does tell me he hates me, which he does, often.

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  5. I'm with you. My parents weren't around much when I was little. I ended up with my dad from 11-17 and he pushed too much and held the reins too tight. He wanted me to do great things but was a slacker himself. And instead of teaching me boundries he refused to let me do anything. Maybe thats why I got pregnantt at 19...hmmm...

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  6. If they're not crying and mad at you, it means you're not doing your job, right? :) Sometimes it's hard for people to realize that you can set loving limits and NOT destroy your child. I knew a little boy so desperate for limits, he'd come to my retail store with his parents to hang out and act up just to have my business partner discipline him.

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  7. Limits, structure and discipline (even though we'd never admit it when we were kids right?) are so important for any child. Good for you for setting and sticking to limits despite how much your kid wants you to bend. I've seen parents who swung at both ends of that spectrum and truthfully the kids who run the show end up hurting themselves more in the end.

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  8. commence polite all-caps:
    HERE! THIS IS JUST WONDERFUL PROOF THAT SOMEWHERE, SOMETIMES, SOMEHOW, YOU'RE DOING THE RIGHT THING! BOUNDARIES! Wo0T!!!! BITCHES LOVE BOUNDARIES!

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  9. That can't be your life in the 10th grade! That's my life in the 10th grade ;) Great post. My mother hates time outs too. She also hates my kids because they chewed her out for beating on their great-grandmother in front of them. Seriously, we all hate that bitch :)

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  10. I like you. So I'm going to follow you. LOL. Visiting from Mama Kat's. Follow back if you're awesome - www.momma-licious.blogspot.com
    :-)

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  11. I too am visiting from Mama Kat's and I'm happy to say I will be coming back! Love your blog! Your title alone reeled me in! :)

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  12. Side Note: tried to post this a couple days ago, but blogger hated me...

    First off, I love your blog. Like yours, my mother's idea of parenting sucked, horribly. I try in every way to be as UNLIKE her as possible. I am assuming that since I was the youngest of 4, she just got tired of really parenting - not to mention dealing with reality on a daily basis. I also believe a part of it was the way she was raised and the fact she should have been medicated before she ever had children.

    I'm sorry that you, and anyone else, has to deal with suckfaced parents. The only silver lining in my mind, is that WE realized it sucks and are making a better change/difference for our kids! You're obviously doing a 1000 times better than your mom and that COUNTS FOR A LOT!! No parent is ever perfect (granted) and gods know motherhood can suck the life out of us (big time granted), but I think you're doing awesome :)

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  13. You do realize, with all of your boundaries and logical parenting skills, that you are already preventing some future therapist from building a beach cabin. At least that's what I like to fantasize that my therapist built a beach cabin with all of the buttloads of money insurance has paid her for MY sessions. I'm just sayin...

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  14. This was awesome, I'm proud of you. You're doing the right thing, not the easy thing. And that's what being a good parent is all about. It sucks to have to re-parent yourself as an adult, doesn't it? I pretty much took care of myself growing up, I knew my mom wasn't watching out for me and my dad was pretty busy himself, what with his second family to take care of, buy cars for, spend Christmas with...you get the idea. You're a good egg, and I'm glad you're my friend. <3

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