Saturday, March 15, 2014

At What Point Do You Say Enough is Enough?

Sorry, but this is going to be long!

I want to preface this post with I love my mother very much! That being said, when is it okay to say I'm tired and I can't take it anymore?

My mother is the type of person who loves hard, but she's also the type of person who judges hard and guilts even harder.  I lived with my parents until 1991 when I got married.  A few months after the wedding, my husband and I moved to St. Louis for his job (he was in the Coast Guard).  For the next 10 years we were away from home as we moved from place to place during his time in the military.  For the first 4 years of our marriage it was just the two of us, and then Spencer was born. During these 10 years, Brian and I would come home to visit once or twice a year or my parents would come visit us.  After Spencer was born the trips moved up to 3 or 4 times a year.  During this time things were great.

Then we moved back home.  We decided to leave the military and move back home to be closer to family for Spencer's sake.  It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I have often wished we had decided to stay in and not move back home.  I love my family and missed them terribly while I was gone, but the last 13 years since we moved back have not always been easy.

It seems that since my youngest was born and my oldest became a teenager, I have apparently become a horrible mother.  It seems that I do everything wrong, and that my children are turning into spoiled brats who have major attitudes. At least according to my mother.

Let's start with the oldest.  The first 6 years of his life were spent with me being his main caregiver.  His dad was gone at least 6 months of the year every year.  I stayed home with him until he was 2 years old, and then put him in preschool. I never used baby talk with him, and taught him independence and to think for himself.   From kinder to 6th grade he was always at whatever school I taught at, and spent a lot of time with me after school while I planned or graded papers. When he came out as being gay in 8th grade I supported him and let him know it didn't matter to us because we would always love him no matter what.

My family has always acted like they support his lifestyle, but it almost seems like my mother is actually embarrassed to have her colleagues or friends know.  She gets upset when I post something on social media sites (like a picture of him and his boyfriend celebrating X-Mas with us), or if he posts something on another social media that she deems inappropriate.  Heaven forbid one of her friends sees it.  I've told her before to block or unfriend him if the stuff he puts out there upsets her so much, but so far she just complains.  I've seen the stuff he posts, and so far I've never seen anything that would would be deemed as inappropriate.  I've talked to my son about being careful about what he posts because it could come back to bite him in the a$$ when he gets older and is looking for a career opportunity.

Another thing that upsets my mother is the fact that I let my son get tattoos.  Now being that I have 4 of my own tattoos, I can't really tell him that tattoos are bad.  I did tell him that he needed to get them in places he could hide them in the work force because unfortunately some people still judge a person by what they see.  He has a total of 5 tattoos right now, and every single one of them are tasteful and well placed.  He only gets tattoos that mean something to him.
Top of my right foot!
2 Corinthians 5:7
My son got his Faith Tattoo the same day I got mine. We were in 2 different cities and hadn't talked to each other about getting them.
My youngest son is spoiled, but as my mom keeps pointing out to anyone who will listen to her, she and my dad have been practically raising him since he was 6 weeks old.  He stays with them from Monday morning until Thursday after school.  My mom works at the private school he is attending.  They started him at the preschool when he was 3 and he just transitioned to their elementary school when he hit kinder.  So I ask you, who has really done the spoiling? While he may be spoiled, he really isn't that bad.  My mom tries to blame us and my oldest son for turning him into a monster.  Apparently he never acts that way unless we are around (which is complete B.S.).  Her and my dad decided to take him out of town for Spring Break, and all I got were calls about how awful he was acting (wait a minute, didn't I just say she claims he never acts like that unless we're around). 

The biggest complaint I have I guess is that just because I don't raise my children the way she wants me to, that makes me a bad parent.  She complains that we spend to much time on our phones, iPads, computers, video games, or whatever and not enough time with each other.  She's not with us and has no clue what goes on in my house.  She also seems to have forgotten that when we were little she spent all her time reading magazines or books (probably where I got my love of reading from).  Yes we always had dinner together, but after 10 years of spending time on our own with my hubby's weird schedules, we learned to eat whenever we got hungry.  Sometimes it's as a family, sometimes it's not.

Now to my fibro.  I apparently am supposed to suck it up and deal with the pain and get on with my life.  Heaven forbid if I'm exhausted or hurting after a full day of teaching 5th graders.  Or if I want to spend my weekends recuperating so that I can function for the upcoming week.  It seems like every conversation I have with my mother ends with some kind of criticism about me, my boys, or my fibro.  If I try to defend myself she ends up crying and hangs up on me.  I end up getting upset and then I go into a mini-flare (usually in my feet which makes doing anything nearly impossible).

So what do I do?  Do I apologize for not being as good of a mother as my sister in law or her sister in law (she likes to compare me to them and my boys to my cousins who have been lazy delinquents)?  Do I apologize for just not having the energy it takes to move some days because I'm in pain and exhausted from lack of sleep?  Do I just continue to sit idly by and take the criticism and hope eventually it will go away?  Again I ask, at what point do I say enough is enough and I'm tired and can't take it anymore?

Again sorry it was sooooooooo long!
Gentle Hugs,