Friday, November 02, 2007

Who's the Child?

The Halloween party was a lot of fun and I have included a picture of M and I. Please notice the 80's glasses on M (he actually wore those in the 80s) and the cigarettes in my sleeve. It was a good party and I'm really glad we went!

LJ wrote a post this week that touched upon the way we sometimes feel like the parents of our parents. I have been going through this a lot lately. My parents have always been sort of unusual. They are self-proclaimed "old hippies" with liberal political views and lots of animals in the house. That part never bothered me before, but now that I think about bringing my child there, I feel differently. The house is so cluttered and full of, well, crap that they don't need. I want to scream.

My mother suffered from an eating disorder and depression for most of my childhood and although she now gets help and is definitely not the woman who raised me, our relationship has never recovered. We are not best friends. I don't call her when I've had a bad day or when M and I have a fight. Every time I do confide in her, she so desperately wants to make up for the crappy parent she used to be, I just end up feeling like I'm being treated like a child. I have made my peace with that, but she has not. She is the kind of person that will plough ahead and do what she set out to do regardless of the wishes of the people her actions impact the most. From the moment M and I got married, all she could talk about was grandkids. Now, she is finally getting what she has wanted for so long, yet she remains uninterested in cleaning the house or being more vigilant about her health. It worries me so much and nothing that I express to her gets through. I end up trying to clean the house every time I go over there, but I know that it will simply go back to the way it was. My dad? He just doesn't seem to get it either. I know I need to let this go, and I would if it were just me. Now, though, I just think that I don't want to bring my baby over there. My brother and I have both tried talking to them, but it just isn't getting through. Am I going to have to use my child as a threat? If anyone else has gone through this or something similar to this, I would really appreciate some comments. It's on my mind all of the time and I really don't know what to do.


Fertilize Me said...

WHAT a beautiful couple!!!! You are just so radiant! that costume just totally makes me laugh. i wish i had advice for parenting parents husband is the parent of his mother and I just tend to stay out of it because it frustrates me too much - but you have my prayers and thoughts

Artblog said...

Me too, no parental advice from me I'm afraid, no help :(

You do have a loverly belly though, and hubby looks sweet :)


Diana said...

Your picture is very cute! Thank you for sharing!

My opinion is to not use the baby as a threat. Just matter of fact. You are not comfortable bringing the baby to their house and do not feel the baby would be safe. They are welcome to come to your house to visit. End of story.

I have learned from dealing with an alcoholic father that you cannot change people no matter how much you love them and they love you. Accept who they are and live your life. Much easier to say than do but when you are looking out for your babys health and safety it probably wont be that hard.

Courtney said...

Great picture and cute belly! You look very, very happy. :) :) :)

TeamWinks said...

Love the picture! Looks like you two had a great time.

lifelemons said...

You two look great together! Great costume!

JJ said...

TOO cute--love the picture--thanks for sharing=)

Somewhat Ordinary said...

You look fabulous! You are the most sophisticated white trash lady I've ever seen!

Leah said...

My Mom is crazy. Not necessarily in a fun way, but not yet in a dangerous way. She just sort of lives in a semi-alternate reality where, if you don't remember something, you can just make up whatever you want. Plus, she seems to have lost some basic common sense when it comes to paying attention to what young children are doing.

Don't even get me started about the filth in her house. Two years ago, when we went to visit, I asked her to clean the house before we got there. Megan was still crawling so I was afraid of what the floor would look like. I was right to be afraid -- there were pennies, dead bees and wasps, and thumbtacks literally lying around on the carpet. Magically, Megan decided to start walking while we were there so it was a little better (I think Megan knew it was in her best interest to minimize the amount of skin touching the floor.)

Also, she doesn't wipe off her kitchen table after eating (and spilling things on it), nor does she do a stellar job cleaning the dishes. I have just learned to adapt -- we either eat out or we have a picnic outside with paper goods.

Luckily, my Mom lives many, many states away so we don't see her often. I love her very much and appreciate what a great job she did raising me, but we definitely do not have that mother-daughter bond thing that would cause me to look to her for approval or advice.

Many years ago, my sister gave me some great advice. Instead of always focusing on my Mom's shortcomings, I should look for the positives and embrace them. Once I truly adopted that concept, our relationship has been much better. It doesn't help the tension when we go to visit because her house is such a dangerous, dirty pit, but it helps otherwise. Mostly, I try to get her to come to our house so I can control the environment more.

That may not be an option for you if they live really close, but you can try shifting most of the visits to your place and that will at least bring you some peace of mind.

Your Mom (and Dad) have lived many, many decades developing the cleaning habits (or lack thereof) they now have -- they won't change over night, and probably won't ever. You're fighting a losing battle, so I recommend that you find ways to work around it.