Tag Archive | mother

Easy Life?

Who said life was easy?

My mother died when I was a teenager. Many years have passed but I’m still learning about her, not from family or friends. When she married my father she distanced herself from the only friend she had and there is no family.

My mother is still a mystery to me. I discovered many things about her after her death, through letters and legal documents. Photos revealed a woman who was a far cry from the old-fashioned, prim and proper mother I knew.

Writing has helped me sort out my feelings and offered perspective. Friends never understand how I’ve forgiven her for the miserable childhood  I had.

As a mother I’ve struggled to understand the hows and the whys. I also missed the special bond most mothers and daughters have when a grandchild is born. Knowing this would not have happened didn’t lessen the void. Seeing friends with their mothers sometimes hurt.

Life is a long path of recognition and learning. Not so long ago, it finally dawned on me that more than having just grown up in difficult circumstances, my mother was suffering from a mental illness.

It all came clear to me that morning. Why did I never even suspect it? I was raised not to question things, but I did. I kept it all to myself. But my mother, well, I was so afraid of her. She was so strong, indomitable.

All the crazy spells, smiling and screaming the next minute, throwing a basin full of water at me in public, trashing my room in the middle of night while raving.

Still, I didn’t click. Because for years I lived with guilt, like many children who have suffered abuse, I thought it all my fault. I was conditioned to believe everything that happened was somehow my fault. It’s not easy shaking those labels.

Her son from a previous marriage is schizophrenic. I wasn’t told this until after she had died. It was not something my mother wanted known, another secret under the carpet. I didn’t even find out he was my half-brother until I was 12. He terrorized me through my childhood. I remember my mother taking him to this centre, it was only years later that I learned what this centre was.

So here I am, all these years later, proud mummy to my gorgeous children. Who said life was easy? But one thing is for sure, you learn something every day, and with love you cannot go wrong.

Advertisements

After I had nowhere left to hide

 

My mother had a habit of squirrelling money away, not that she really needed to, it was her safety net. When she died,it caused my father a huge headache, trying to trace all her different accounts, some active, others not.

She wasn’t materialistic and never spent much on herself, when she did, she’d hide the fact or felt obliged to justify herself. In some ways, I am a little bit like that too but I think it’s all too common for mums in general.

She did once tell me the story of how when her grandmother was dying, she told my mum where she  had hidden her little nest egg and she wanted her to have it. My mother, being a dutiful daughter told her mother who promptly took it all away.

My mother was at the time married to a violent man. He beat her up whilst pregnant with her son.In those days, divorce was much frowned upon. Eventually, despite her hopes of  ever happy family, she came to the conclusion that she would have to leave.

She was a formidable woman, not the kind you can push around easily, she was also very strong-willed and stubborn, it runs in the family, on the women side anyway.

It goes to show abuse knows no boundaries or classes.

My mother came from a very well to do family, her divorce was seen a complete disgrace. She struggled to raise her son without any help, her own wealthy parents never lifting a finger.

By the time she met my father, she’d done well for herself and had some security. She never fully trusted my father, even though they had a child together, yes, me.

I always remember her telling me that when I married, I was to hide all assets and not share everything I owned.

Sadly, she never did get to enjoy the benefits of her hard work and savings, she became very ill and died when I was a teenager. I watched her becoming very weak, a shadow of herself, yet, she could still terrify everybody, myself included.

I’m not materialistic at all and dislike talking or even thinking about money. I’m not a great spender either but do enjoy splashing out on my children.

When it comes to trust, I could not live with someone I didn’t trust wholly and completely. I’m not just talking about money but much more than that, this deep knowledge that you are loved and respected.

Friends who know my background have often wondered how I could talk about my mother in a positive way after the childhood I had. Well, first of all, she was my mother and I loved her, growing up, I didn’t know any different.

Piecing it altogether, I can reflect on the fact she also had an unhappy childhood and she endured many struggles. Her illness and subsequent death were an almighty shock.

The more I grew in myself, the more I understood her and how difficult life had been for her at times.

Even after all these years, I still think of her and understand a little more all the time. There are many things I wish I could tell her as an adult and no longer the frightened little girl I was.

When I became a mum myself I watched friends with their mums feeling a little pang, we wouldn’t have had that sort of relationship, I know but…

I strive to do the best I can for my children. Nothing else matters more to me than being a loving mum with happy and well-balanced children.No achievement of any kind could prevail over this.

I’m the lucky one, I broke the vicious circle in my family, friends will know what I’m talking about. No matter what happens in your past, you can change and prevent history from being repeated.

First I ran, found myself and when I had nowhere left to hide I confronted my past.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Extreme parenting in all cultures

I shuddered when reading the reviews and interviews of Amy Chua.

One example :

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/jan/15/amy-chua-tiger-mother-interview


She reminded me too much of my own mother, and no, she wasn’t Chinese. Rather she was from a certain background and a generation stuck in the past. I don’t believe this is necessarily a case of Chinese vs Western styles, you can find extreme ways of parenting in all cultures.
Children need love and encouragement, not being put down and threatened all the time. We all have our own strengths. Children should not feel bad if they’re less able in one are, they might be great in another. All talents are needed, otherwise, there would be no point, if we were all capable of doing absolutely everything!

I expect most children raised in this way rebel sooner or later. I’m not Chinese but the system she advocates is not far off the way my mother treated me.
It doesn’t make for happy children or adults. I had to learn to shake off all the labels and the fear.

With my children, I am the complete opposite. I want them to feel loved and have the confidence to find their strengths and thus give their best.

https://elleamberley.wordpress.com/2010/03/16/mother-love/


http://thegoodchinesemother.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/challenging-chua/

http://blog.seattlepi.com/parentingadabsurdum/archives/235930.asp

My mother

My mother had a habit of squirrelling money away, not that she really needed to, it was her safety net.When she died,it caused my father a huge headache, trying to trace all her different accounts, some active, others not.

She wasn’t materialistic and never spent much on herself, when she did, she’d hide the fact or felt obliged to justify herself.In some ways, I am a little bit like that too but I think it’s all too common for mums in general.

She did once tell me the story of how when her grandmother was dying, she told my mum where she  had hidden her little nest egg and she wanted her to have it.My mother, being a dutiful daughter told her mother who promptly took it all away.

My mother was at the time married to a violent man.He beat her up whilst pregnant with her son.In those days, divorce was much frowned upon.Eventually, despite her hopes of  ever happy family, she came to the conclusion that she would have to leave.

She was a formidable woman, not the kind you can push around easily, she was also very strong-willed and stubborn, it runs in the family, on the women side anyway.

It goes to show abuse knows no boundaries or classes.

My mother came from a very well to do family, her divorce was seen a complete disgrace.She struggled to raise her son without any help, her own wealthy parents never lifting a finger.

By the time she met my father, she’d done well for herself and had some security.She never fully trusted my father, even though they had a child together, yes, me.

I always remember her telling me that when I married, I was to hide all assets and not share everything I owned.

Sadly, she never did get to enjoy the benefits of her hard work and savings, she became very ill and died when I was a teenager.I watched her becoming very weak, a shadow of herself, yet, she could still terrify everybody, myself included.

I’m not materialistic at all and dislike talking or even thinking about money.I’m not a great spender either but do enjoy splashing out on my children.

When it comes to trust, I could not live with someone I didn’t trust wholly and completely.I’m not just talking about money but much more than that, this deep knowledge that you are loved and respected.

Friends who know my background have often wondered how I could talk about my mother in a positive way after the childhood I had.Well, first of all, she was my mother and I loved her, growing up, I didn’t know any different.

Piecing it altogether, I can reflect on the fact she also had an unhappy childhood and she endured many struggles.Her illness and subsequent death were an almighty shock.

The more I grew in myself, the more I understood her and how difficult life had been for her at times.

Even after all these years, I still think of her and understand a little more all the time.There are many things I wish I could tell her as an adult and no longer the frightened little girl I was.

When I became a mum myself, I watched friends with their mums feeling a little pang, we wouldn’t have had that sort of relationship, I know but…

I strive to do the best I can for my children, hopefully being a fraction of the mum I want to be.Nothing else matters more to me than being a loving mum with happy and well-balanced children.No achievement of any kind could prevail over this.

I’m the lucky one, I broke the vicious circle in my family, friends will know what I’m talking about.No matter what happens in your past, you can change and prevent history from being repeated.

P.S. I cannot re-read myself at this point,too raw.

This post was a long-time coming, I just had to find it in me to write it down.

It has also been inspired by my wonderful friend Ana and her post: http://www.womenontheverge.net/blogs/entry/Is-Money-a-Dirty-Word-

She is also the founder of a wonderful community, go check it out : http://www.womenontheverge

So much toss about motherhood!

Most of us choose to become mothers, as such we have a responsibility and duty to our children.After all, they certainly didn’t have a choice and they depend on us for survival and love.

This does not mean we have to suffer our children or be slaves to them.

We live in a free society and most mothers have a choice on how they wish to raise their children.

Ok, so, I’m a non-conformist.I do not bow down to so-called gurus who always know better and I can’t stand stereotypes.

There is no such thing as the perfect mother, why should there be? Is anybody perfect?!

My previous posts on motherhood have been all about choices and tolerance.

I didn’t choose to breastfeed.I was the first of my friends to be pregnant and had no preconceived ideas.
Yet, for whatever reason, as soon as I got pregnant, I knew I wanted to breastfeed, it seemed obvious to me.

Breastfeeding wasn’t easy, I was very weak after very difficult and life-threatening pregnancies.I was even advised to bottle-feed.I had mastitis several times,not fun!

Yet, I never felt I was a slave to my babies.I enjoyed the special bond I’ve got with them.

We are all different.I’m not criticizing anybody’s choices or circumstances but I  will not stand a so-called feminist belittling mothers who do breastfeed and make purees for their children!

For the record I did not use re-usable nappies. So?!

Mostly, I listen to my instincts.
You are the one looking after your baby, you’re the one who knows your child best.Children like mothers are all different and react differently.

Let’s embrace our differences

As long as you’re not harming your children and doing your best does it really matter how you do it! I know I don’t need a book or some ill-thinking person to tell me how to look after my children.
I love my children immensely, they’re happy and well-balanced and that’s what really matters!

Related posts:

https://elleamberley.wordpress.com/2010/03/22/motherhood-a-form-of-oppression/

https://elleamberley.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/e-badinter-and-her-distorted-views-on-women-and-feminism/

https://elleamberley.wordpress.com/2010/03/16/mother-love/

Mother love

I love being a mum, I have two beautiful children who brighten my life everyday.It’s not always easy being a mum, there are ups and downs, but it’s the most rewarding job I’ve ever done.No book can ever teach you how to be a good mum, some at best can give you ideas and guidance. I learned to trust my instinct and shower them with love, with love you can’t go wrong.They do tell me I’m the best mum in the world,I’m not perfect but I do strive to do my very best.

On Sunday, it was Mother’s day back in England.I’m lucky to have 2 Mother’s days, ever since my daughter found out they celebrate Mother’s day at a different time in France.At the time, I ‘d been rushed into a french hospital while on holiday. I was pregnant with my son and had complications early on as in all my pregnancies.Both my children were fighters, I’m lucky to have had them and I’m glad I didn’t listen to the doctors who said they wouldn’t make it.
On that Mother’s day in France, a nurse appeared in my room with flowers.I was dumbfounded until she explained they were a present from the local mayor to all the mothers at the hospital, a lovely thought.
So the tradition of both Mother’s day was established and I can look forward to it again in a few weeks.
I will always think of my  little ones who didn’t make it into this world, I’ve learned to accept there will be no more babies to cherish and hold in my arms, my last pregnancy nearly killed me.
So I count my blessings, I survived and was given the chance to keep looking after the two treasures I’ve already got, I’m a very happy and lucky Mummy.
“True motherhood is the most beautiful of all arts, the greatest of all professions.”