Today’s challenge requires us to expand upon a comment we left yesterday on one of the blogs. I am going to expand on a post that hit very close to home for me. The original post by Musical Wishes about becoming like our mothers struck a cord. The author says she dreads becoming like her mother, but at the same time acknowledges that she is who she is because of her mother.
The reason that post hit home is simple: I dread becoming like my mother. Don’t get me wrong, I love her dearly, she is my mother, and you only have one mother. But, I really do not want to become like her. See, I have this personal quote that guides me in my parenting endeavors: “Any woman can be a mother, it takes a special person to be a mommy.” To me, mom and mother don’t mean the same thing. Mother sounds cold and distant. Mommy just sounds nicer, warmer, softer. I always referred to my mother as mommy. Now, when I have my own children, I don’t want to be a mother. I want to be a mommy. Sadly, over the years, I have realized that my mother is more of a …well, mother than a mommy.
My mother is the type of person who rarely expresses her emotions. She is seemingly detached from anyone, and she can come off as being very judgmental. At the same time, she is the heart of every party, the center of attention wherever we go, strong-willed and independent.
Growing up, I spent most of my childhood being raised by my grandparents. My mother was a single mother at a time, working as judge. My grandmother opted to retire when I was born to help her take care of me because that is how my grandmother was raised. In part, I learned a lot from my grandparents and most of my viewpoints in life come from them raising me. However, I always felt something was missing while I was growing up. I missed my mother. I missed coming home from school and sharing my day with her, instead of with my grandparents. I missed my mother taking care of me when I was sick. I spent the majority of my childhood wanting to be with my mother at all times, instead of just when school was in the morning.
On the other hand, my mother taught me how to be independent and self-reliant. She taught me that I shouldn’t let anyone put me down for whatever reason, and that there is nothing wrong with me just because I am growing up without a father. (Kids can be cruel at times).
We never had a “normal” mother – daughter relationship. I never really confided in her, in fact I confided more in my grandmother and my journal than her. I always had the impression like my mother is not taking me seriously. While my problems weren’t serious (to a grown-up most teenage drama isn’t serious like which bills to pay when, and what needs to be done in the house), I wanted her to take them seriously; or with more than just a brush of a hand saying “Don’t sweat about it, it can’t be that big of a deal”. I still don’t confide in her. In fact, our relationship can be summed up with the following quote:
Whenever I’m with my mother, I feel as though I have to spend the whole time avoiding land mines.
-Amy Tan, The Kitchen God’s Wife
Part of me wishes things could change. I tried. I talked with her. Unfortunately, I don’t think things can change. We would both have to be willing to change things for the better and work on our relationship. However, my mother thinks that I blame her for my father leaving (I have never even met him, they were divorced right after I was born… but I cannot seem to explain to her that I have no issues regarding that). It feels like I am talking to her and she is listening but not hearing what I am saying.
To sum up, I realize that I am the person I am today because of all the experiences I have had, even the ones involving her. But I sincerely hope I don’t become the type of person my children cannot confide in. I want my children to be able to come to me no matter what, and to know that I will always have their back. I may not always love what they do, but I will always love them.