Oh, Yes I Did!: You Will Not Be A Good Mother
Not As Sweet As I Look occasionally blogs here, but is more easily found at her vibrant, active Facebook page, which is where I came to know and love her. Despite what you might first assume based on her potentially daunting moniker, she’s loving and supportive. As you’ll see below, those traits are matched with strength and conviction that make her not only sweet but also formidable.
You Will Not Be A Good Mother
I have a wretched mother. I mean, really wretched. If she were not a nursing instructor and friends with most of the social workers in town she probably would have been arrested for child abuse. So, when Darling Husband and I decided to have children, my father and many of his family members repeatedly told me how not to be a mother, because they were sure I would screw it up;
“Now remember, be kind to your children, especially when they are sad or sick.” Oh yes, because I really needed to be told that it was inappropriate for my mother to slap me across the face because I was sent home sick at age 11.
“You’re not supposed to belittle your child. You need to be a positive influence in their lives.” Right, because without that advice I wouldn’t know it was wrong for my mother to call me stupid bitch because I didn’t understand algebra at age 9.
“Don’t be too strict.” Oh, yes, because otherwise I might think that it was normal to spank me until I couldn’t stand and lock me in my room for hours because I got accidentally broke a coffee mug at age 6.
“Take care of your children; don’t make them fend for themselves.” Good advice, lest I think it was appropriate to leave me in charge of my brother for hours on end (while she was passed out drunk) when he was 3 and I was 7.
On, and on, and on. What those well-meaning (I think) family members didn’t realize is that they were being abusive all on their own. I know, and have known since I was very young, that my mother was physically and mentally abusive to me, because I saw how she treated my brother and it was the exact opposite of how she treated me. The sad part is that because of being raised by my mother and because of all those family members doubting me, I didn’t think I could be a good mother. I don’t remember ever wanting kids when I was a child. As a teenager, and as an adult, I was positive I didn’t want kids because I was convinced that I was doomed to repeat her mistakes. But then one day, one of my mother’s sisters said something to me that helped to change my mind. My Aunt Petunia said to me, “Don’t worry, you won’t be like your mother Sweet, she is fucking nuts! You will probably be one of the best moms in the world. You are brilliant and will overcome being raised by the craziest fucking bitch on the planet.” (My aunt does not mince words.)
I took her words to heart and eventually DH and I had FIVE children. I am, according to my father’s family, my mother’s family, complete strangers, teachers, priests, and my husband’s family, a fabulous mom. My kids are polite, well mannered, brilliant, funny, and delightful. I am not a perfect mom by any means, but I am also not “Mommie Dearest”. I make mistakes, but I encourage my children, I love them fiercely, I laugh with them, and I continuously strive to do better. The one thing that makes me believe I am doing a good job at this mom thing? My two older daughters have said on many occasions that they hope that when they have kids, they are as a good of a mom as I am. So I did it, I became a good mom, despite being told I couldn’t do it.