Lessons in Motherhood

There is no doubt in my mind that the dynamics of a mother-daughter relationship has many layers and  at some point in time, it all comes full circle. My relationship with my mother is complicated, and has been since my early teens.  Is it the same for all mother-daughters?  I hope not, but I do realize that both mothers’ and daughters” go through phases that can bring about conflict. Is it the same for father-sons relationships?  I don’t know.

Anyway, with regards to my mother, the subject of “Respect” is an issue.  The question/challenge/issue is, that there’s a very fine line when it comes to respecting your mother, while politely- encouraging— then demanding that your mother respects your adult child, who by the way, is quite respectful to grand mom.   Whoa!  That’s a mouthful, but it is some serious stuff and I know, that I cannot be the only daughter on this planet dealing with this nonsense.

About a week ago, I found myself engaged in serious discussion.  Ha! Ha!  I’m laughing because the “discussion” is the politically correct term.  The truth of the matter is that, the argument was a scene that was ideal for one of the many current outrageous reality TV shows. I know that some people might ask, why am I airing my dirty laundry out there for all to know.  And my answer is quite simple:  People need to know that they are not alone in the challenges that they face in life.  I truly believe that when you’re going through a difficult time, it helps (at least for me) to know, that you’re not the only one having gone through it.  I have learned so much from others and hope that someone out there can learn from my experiences.   My personal opinion is that all too often, issues are kept a secret (especially) in some families- and some secrets do more harm than good.  Note that I said some.

All right, back on track now.  So right in front of hubby, our young son, and me and without cause, my mom rudely insulted and disrespected my daughter.  When I attempted to respectfully correct her, she shifted into high gear and vehemently defended herself.  At one point, I felt like I was having an outer body experience.  I felt myself looking at the situation as though I was viewing it from a cloud or somewhere high above.  At that moment, I realized that I needed to take a stance, make my position clear and just deal with the consequences.  I dug deep inside and told my mother all that has been on my mind.  We visited some places that we hadn’t visited in a long time, but with a much different perspective.  She tried to walk away, but I wouldn’t let her; because she needed to know how her sharp words impact and hurt others.  My daughter tried to respectfully defend herself to her grand mother, but I told her that this was my battle, not hers.  The dialogue continued but I don’t think my mother really heard or understood anything I said, which is how it’s always been.  In the end, we (mother and I) agreed that alternative living arrangements should be made.  We’re working on that now and it really was inevitable.

Meanwhile, as I look through the glass that’s half full and reflect on my relationship with my mother, I realize that I’ve learned some important lessons from her.  I’ve learned:

1.    That my mother is the kind of person who needs her own space.  She cannot live with others.  It doesn’t make her good, bad, or evil, it’s just a fact
2.    To credit my mother for giving me the thick skin that I’ve grown over the years
3.    To thank my mother for teaching me how to be a genuinely nice person
4.    To always tell my children that I love them and to hug them several times each day
5.    To allow my children a look inside my heart and soul so they may understand the person that I’ve become
6.    To forgive and to never hold grudges
7.    To apologize when I’m wrong
8.    To see the good in people
9.    To get to know my daughter; go to the beauty salon, movies, nail salon, etc… with her
10.  Don’t be a part of racism and prejudice; instead treat people the same way that I want to treated

Have my mother and I gone full circle yet?  I don’t know for certain, but I don’t think so.  My heart tells me that there’s more to this story, but only time will tell.

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