Saturday, 20 August 2011

Mummy bloggers

No, it's not yet another post banging on about the rights and wrongs of mummy bloggers in general.
It's a post about my mum and how I wish blogs would have been available to her as I was growing up.

I've just been reading a very emotive blog post from Mocha Beanie Mummy and one of the comments, by 'Anon' simply stated "I hope to god your children never read your blog".
It made me wonder what kind of things I would have read from my mum as we were growing up.
I didn't have a great relationship with her when I lived at home (funny how that childhood house will always be home, even when you have your own home, husband and children!) and during my teenage years, I often felt she resented me but I didn't know why.
Of course, I didn't ask her if my feelings were true and if they were, why did she feel that way? I just became mouthy and judgemental, as teenagers tend to do, and made the relationship worse.

I wonder, if she had written a blog, would it hurt me now, as a 35 year old mum to three children, to read that sometimes she wished she hadn't had me or that she despised me?
In all honesty, I don't think it would.  I know about depression now. I didn't back then and I understand how it makes you feel things that aren't true. I know now, as an adult, that my mum loves me and no matter what she felt back then, it was because she suffered from depression and none of those things she felt are a true reflection of her feelings for me and my siblings.

Don't get me wrong, some of the hurt I felt back then can still sting sometimes but at least now I know why those things happened. It makes it easier to deal with when you understand the reasons behind an action.

One example of an event that happened when I was about 13 I think, worked to drive a wedge firmly between my mum and me.
Mum and dad's friends were visiting with their two children. Usually, we got on really well and we're great friends but this day, for some reason we had a falling out. I have no idea what the problem was now but it was probably something very insignificant, as most childhood quarrels are.
Dad was out and the other adults were in the house having a cuppa. I was outside with the two children and the boy went to kick me. I didn't fight back, I just grabbed his leg to stop him from kicking me but unfortunately, the action caused his other leg to slip a bit and the hole for the drainage pipe was right next to his foot. His foot went in the hole and he shouted in surprise as he fell over.
What seemed like a split second later, all hell broke loose. He was crying, I seem to remember his sister shouting at me (could be wrong but it did feel like the whole lot of them were shouting at me!), his mum came rushing to the door with a furious look on her face asking what I'd done to him and my mum came rushing to the door shouting as well (can not remember to this day anything she said because I was so overwhelmed).
Even though the question 'what did you do?' was being shouted at me, not one of them let me answer and try to explain that I was stopping him from kicking me and it was an accident that he'd fallen. I didn't mean to hurt anyone, I just didn't want to get hurt myself.
It ended with my mum dragging me to the bottom of the stairs and hitting me as we went. I was stuck at the bottom of the stairs until she stopped and screamed at me to get to my room.
Even now as I'm writing, I can feel the tears welling up at the injustice of it all. I spent what felt like hours sitting in my window waiting for my dad to come home.
I remember the visitors leaving and they looked up at me in the window. The girl looked like she felt sorry for me, the boy looked pleased (well he was a child and a boy, what else could I expect!) and I don't think the parents looked but I can't be sure.
This did happen over 20 years ago so my account of the whole story may be totally inaccurate. The others may remember it differently because people view and interpret things in different ways.
I was still quietly sobbing when my dad pulled up on the drive. He waved to me then noticed that something was wrong.
He came upstairs and I just fell into his arms and broke into huge gut wrenching sobs. He was the only one who listened to my side of the story that day and in my 13 year old mind, he was my hero.
I think, though I can't be sure because I didn't witness it, that the whole situation caused a lot of friction between my mum and my dad and from that day, the relationship between my mum and me went from bad to worse.
I felt guilty because I thought it was my fault that they weren't happy with each other anymore.
Looking back, I don't think that event started the downward spiral of their marriage but in my young mind, it was when I started to notice that things between them seemed to get more and more strained.

I do remember times, after that, when they seemed happy and my dad would grab my mum and hug her and I'd think everything was ok again but it didn't last.
When I was about 16, my mum and dad were going through what seemed like one of the worst of the bad times and late at night, I heard my mum in her room, crying to herself.
I went in, sat beside her and tried to put my arm around her. I asked her what was wrong and all of a sudden she started shouting, 'don't come in here pretending you care. I know you're taking your dad's side, if he leaves, you'll go with him'.
She said more but I honestly can't remember what she said. I was shocked at first then I started getting angry. I shouted back, 'why do you think I'm taking my dad's side eh? I know he loves me. He tells me and shows me all the time. When did you last say you loved me? I don't actually remember if you've ever said it and meant it'.
At this point, my dad came upstairs and sent me to my room, not as a punishment, just to diffuse the situation. I was crying and felt all hard done too again because in my mind, she was being unfair.

When I left home a couple of years later, things started to get better between us
We were still a little wary of each other but slowly bridges got built and hurt feelings got buried.
I was visiting her one day and looking through a drawer to find something I'd left there, can't remember what it was now, when I came across a notebook. One of those small ones with a paper cover. Nothing was written on the outside and I flicked through it.
It turned out to be a diary of my mums from a few years before.
I know I shouldn't have read it and I didn't read it all but the first line caught my attention; my mum had been advised by her doctor to write things down to help with her depression. I found out she'd been on anti depressants and suddenly, all those years of feeling like my mum never loved me, made sense. I understood now why she acted the way she did and from that day, I forgave my mum for everything I felt she had ever done wrong to me.
I worked on building our relationship to the wonderful one we have now and I'm happy to say, we no longer have any problem showing each other our love.

If my mum had been able to write a blog (as opposed to a diary which still makes me feel guilty for reading even the tiniest bit of it) and I was old enough to read and understand the way she felt at the time, would we have had a better relationship?
I'm sure if mum had been able to explain to me why she shouted at me when I didn't feel it was deserved, and why I felt she was pushing me away when I needed a cuddle and reassurance that I was loved, I'd have been much better equipped to deal with it all.

I'm now a mum to an eleven year old boy, a six year old girl and a 4 year old girl and sometimes I get in moods where everything they do annoys the heck out of me.
The thing is, if I'm honest, it's not actually them that's annoying me. On a day that I'm moody, things that wouldn't normally be any sort of a problem, become huge and make me angry. I don't know why it happens and the moods only come every now and then. I wouldn't say I'm depressed because I'm usually feeling fine and can cope with everything.
When they do come though, I don't usually get any warning.
I snap at them, I start storming around shouting and I know it scares them when I get like that.
It's really hard to stop when it starts and it makes me want to cry with frustration because I know I don't want them to feel unloved and like I'm pushing them away but my actions are the opposite of my true feelings and I'm powerless for a while to make myself stop.
My head is saying, stop now, cuddle them and make it all better but it's a huge battle in there between the voice of reason and the anger.
So after my experience with my mum, I've started to explain to them how I'm feeling and how sometimes, I have no control over it.
I tell them that I love them, no matter how much I shout and snap and whenever I can, I apologise and tell them I was wrong to have behaved that way towards them.
Obviously, it's easier to explain to Aiden and he understands more but KayCee's starting to understand now and Ella just needs lots of love and hugs to make her feel better when I've upset her. Luckily, none of them hold a grudge, yet, and apologies, hugs and kisses make up for all that I've done.

I hope, when my children are older, they'll see this blog and know how hard I work to make them know, in their hearts that I love them with every little part of me, contrary to the actions made by me on bad days.

While reading Mocha Beani Mummy's post, I wasn't judgemental at all but I did wonder if I could be that brutally honest out in the open like that and at one time, the answer would have been no.
I felt children should be protected from adult issues but after examining my relationship with a mother who suffered from depression, I now know that honesty is the way to go.
My husband has been through an emotional rollercoaster in his life and had to deal with depression, two baby girls dying and his wife dying, leaving him with six remaining children to raise.
He's a firm believer in telling children the truth and helping them deal with it rather than trying to shield them from it. He's learnt from experience that this is the best way to deal with tough situations and I'm going to make sure I stay close to my children and remain honest with them.

Thank you Mocha Beanie Mummy for your honest and thought provoking post and big hugs to you xx

3 comments:

  1. ShellLouise
    If there is one thing you will learn about me, that any of of my friends will ever tell you, is how honest I am. And to see someone else be so honest in a post on their blog is incredibly heartwarming and reassuring.

    I am so very sorry for what you went through, although it is all horribly familiar; my own mother suffered for years, was on meds and I never ever knew or understood.

    If there's one thing I've learned about depression is that openness and honesty lead to learning and understanding. Posts like this promote that brilliantly. I thank YOU. xx

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  2. I wonder how many of us have suffered / are suffering due to the secrecy of our parents?
    I recently found out that my mum has suffered from depression for most of her adult life and that after she was sectioned back in the 1960's my dad was released from his second stint in the RAF.
    I never felt able to connect with my mum but if I'd been aware of what had happened to her I would have gone easier on her and Im sure it would have helped me to understand my own depression.
    Thank you for sharing.
    x

    ReplyDelete
  3. @ Jay, your comment is lovely and I appreciate it, thank you :)

    @ Sian, lets hope that our ability to see things differently now, helps us help our children. Thank you for commenting xx

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Awwww thanks :D

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