Archive for the ‘divorce’ Tag

Hoarding and divorce. Oh my!   2 comments

Wow, I’ve had a lot going on the past week or so.  I thought that with each passing day, being back at work would be a bit easier, but it in fact has been more difficult.  Work itself has been good.  In fact, work is probably the best thing I had going for me this past week.

It is no secret that my mother-in-law watches my children while the husband and I work.  She’s great with the kids and my toddler truly loves being with her and granddaddy.  When I was pregnant with my first son, she called and asked us if she could babysit.  She practically interviewed for the job.  It was very sweet and my husband and I agreed that she would be the best person to take care of our child.  When we found out we were pregnant with the second, we practically told her before I had finished peeing on the stick.  We needed to know if she wanted to watch both (because not only does she have our two children but she also babysits one of her other grandchildren).  She of course was ecstatic about the pregnancy and the new grandchild on the way and said she wanted to watch our two and the other grandchild – no problem!  She told us if she ever decided not to continue babysitting, she would give us at least six months to a year of notice.  She would not and still will not take any money for it either, but we buy her nice things and help her and my father-in-law out with things around the house as much as possible.

I must also mention that my MIL is a borderline hoarder.  If you’ve watched TLC’s Hoarding, think about one of the lesser cases they portray.  That’s her.  There are a number of reasons as to why she holds onto things.  She’s been in the antique business for a number of years.  When she initially started to collect, it was all supposed to be for the business.  But, all of the stuff she bought kept coming into the house…and it got worse and worse.  So bad that there was barely anywhere to sit when we went to her house to visit.  We had to crawl over things to get to the kitchen table for family dinners, and we would trip over things in the foyer when walking in the house.  My husband and his siblings would talk to her and help her clean up a bit and for a short while, the house would look nice again.  Sadly, it wouldn’t take long to become a mess again.  But, it was supposedly all for the business.

Another reason we believe she holds onto things is because she does not own her own home.  She lives in her deceased mother in law’s home.  She was the primary caretaker for her own MIL for many years.  She did everything for her.  She did things for her that no one else would do.  Her MIL passed away last year, and at first, my MIL cleaned up the house, painted, put in some new carpet, and appeared to be making it her own.  It was starting to look good.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was livable.  The bedrooms, the attic, corners of the main rooms, and the garage were all still full of stuff.  But, the main rooms (den, living room, and kitchen) were usable and looked decent.  Here recently however, things took a turn for the worse.

My MIL has decided to leave the antique business, and instead of getting rid of the merchandise, she brought most of it back to her house.  I’m not talking about old tables and chairs.  I’m talking about boxes of stuff.  Random, mostly non-useful stuff.  Small things.  Things not suitable when you have toddlers running around.  Over the past couple of weeks, the three rooms she used have become full of stuff.  It’s everywhere.  It’s on tables, chairs, it’s teetering off of the edge of old furniture, it’s piled so high that if you touch one part of it, a domino effect of falling stuff would happen.  It’s on the changing table we gave her for the kids.  It’s covering up the toys, exersaucer, and pack n plays.  It’s on the kitchen table, counters, in the bathroom.  It’s on the stairs.  It’s on the front porch.  It’s everywhere.  It’s impossible to get in the door of the house without tripping over or stepping around stuff.  I hate it.

I have tried not to judge.  I have tried not to complain but I hit my breaking point this week.  She is watching my children-the two most precious things in my life.  She brought so much shit in the house that the two toddlers had a five foot by five foot area to play in in the the living room (a circle of space completely surrounded by stuff) and a few feet of space to play in in the kitchen.  That’s it.  The huge den they used to play in (the room that has the baby gates and was actually somewhat baby proof) was so full you couldn’t walk in it.  There were a couple of days that I found my toddler playing in the kitchen trash can because that’s the only area he had to be in.  The trash can!!!  WTF.

Every day leading up to this past week as I pulled out of the driveway, I prayed that my toddler would not get into a box of stuff and choke on something or accidentally knock into something that would create an avalanche of falling stuff that would hurt my little baby.  Each morning when I dropped the kids off, my MIL would make an excuse as to why the house is a mess.  I’ve heard these same excuses now for years.  I don’t buy them.  I’m not a fool.

Finally, on Wednesday, I arrive to pick up the kids, and my MIL makes the comment that taking care of 3 is trying her patience.  She said she constantly has to watch them.  WTF.  Are you serious???  She said she has to watch them because they try to get in all of her stuff.  You put the stuff there lady!!!  You removed the children from the one room that was sort of baby proof that had all of their toys in it and have them playing in a five by five space that is surrounded by junk.  All they have is that space and the f-ing trash can to play in.  OF COURSE YOU HAVE TO WATCH THEM!!!

This is not the first time I’ve heard this.  She has made a few snarky comments to me about babysitting 3 kids over the past year.  Please remember that we asked her immediately upon finding out we were pregnant with number 2 if she was willing to watch the baby or if we needed to find another sitter…and she told us she absolutely wanted to.  We gave her an out.

So, back to Wednesday night.  I didn’t say anything and packed up my kids and left.  I arrived home and told my husband about her comment and that we needed to find an alternative.  I was not about to allow my two precious babies to be in that environment anymore.  My MIL was evidently overwhelmed and frustrated with her house, and watching the three children was too much.  I was pissed.  It wasn’t supposed to be like this.  We were supposed to be given ample time to figure out a new situation if we needed one.

My husband believes his mother is a few steps away from crazy, so he understands my frustration and he too feels my pain.  However, he doesn’t want to hear me talk about it.  I asked him to do something about it and talk to his mother as she is not my own mother and I do not feel comfortable having that type of conversation with her.  It was time to ask her how she truly felt and if she honestly wanted to continue watching the children.  It was time to find out if she wanted to watch the three she is currently watching…as well as the fourth that is on the way! No, it’s not me.  My sister in law is preggo with number 2 and her first is the other grandchild my MIL watches.

I asked my husband not to yell at his mom or argue with her about all of the stuff.  I asked him to have a dialogue with her and find out what is going on with her, all of the stuff, and if she even wants to continue watching the kids.  I beg him not to yell at her.  Nothing is accomplished that way and she is already extremely defensive about all of her stuff to begin with…no matter how you talk to her.  On Thursday night, he tells me he went over to his mom’s that morning and blasted her.  I was so upset.  What would that solve??  I then become angry at him because it seems the whole situation is spiraling out of control.  All I wanted to do was to figure out what is going on in his mother’s head and find out if she truly wants to continue watching the kids.  I didn’t want to create a family argument.  I try to explain this to my husband, who then tells me it’s none of my business what he said to her and that I don’t know what he said.  Then I remind him that he told me he went over to her house and “blasted her” and he then basically lets me know he lied about that and doesn’t have to tell me what they talked about.

This, I do not agree with.  My children are over there.  They spend more time over there during the week than they do with me.  I have every right to know what is going on.  I completely understand that I asked my husband to talk to his mother, but that’s only because she doesn’t listen to me and I don’t feel comfortable talking to her about those things.  Before my husband talked to her, I even told him I would be a part of the conversation if he wanted me to be, and he said he would handle it.  All I wanted to do was find out if she was ok and do the right thing for our children.

Unfortunately, the situation turned into a yelling match between my husband and I.  The arguing ran all the way into Friday morning.  I was so frustrated because I didn’t know if there was a solution to the situation.  Does she still want to babysit?  Is she going to clean up her house and actually provide a safe environment for my children?  What are we going to do about finding the money to pay for a daycare or another sitter?  How will my kids adjust to a new place?  How in the hell am I going to find a new sitter with such short notice?  I had all of these thoughts running around in my head and I was upset.  My husband was no longer listening to me and did not want to deal with it.  I tried to explain to him that he was just like his mom when it came to that stuff – not listening, thinking he is right no matter what, etc.  He doesn’t think he’s like her at all, but the reason the two of them do not see eye to eye is because they are so much alike.  But that’s a whole other topic.

Anyway, I couldn’t take it anymore.  I was trying to eat my breakfast and give my toddler his breakfast.  I was crying.  I was just so mad that my MIL had let her house turn into a pile of shit again, that my husband was purposely lying to me about whatever conversation he had with her, and that my kids were caught in the middle of the craziness.

If I’m crying during an argument, my voice gets louder.  I can’t help it.  I am not trying to yell.  Well, on Friday morning, my husband apparently thinks I’m trying to yell at him, so he mocks me and begins yelling back.  And, this makes my toddler cry.  He looks at his dad yelling at me and begins crying.  I console him and he hugs me.  I try to finish his breakfast and my husband yells again because he thinks I’m yelling at him, and my toddler starts crying AGAIN.  Shit.  We have turned into my parents.  Our actions are causing our son to be afraid and cry.  At that moment, I feel like a failure.

My husband and I were doing the exact thing I never wanted us to do.  We were fighting in front of our son and he was crying because of it.  I went through an entire childhood of this.  I told myself I’d never let this happen to my own children.  I’d never put them through the pure hell I experienced as I kid.

I sat in the kitchen beside my son and consoled him.  I looked out the window and sobbed.  I told my husband I couldn’t be with him if it was going to be like this.  We’d already thrown out the big D word several times during the argument.  But, this time, I meant it.  I was willing to get divorced rather than put my kids through hell.  It is not fair to them.  I will NOT live this way.

I couldn’t deal with it anymore so I went upstairs and took a shower.  We had to be at the doctor for checkups for our sons and I needed to get ready.  I cried in the shower.  I couldn’t understand why things had spiraled so out of control.  Why can’t my MIL understand that her house is unsafe for my kids?  Why does she think it’s ok to have piles of shit laying around every square inch of her house?  Why won’t she listen to us about cleaning it up and ensuring it is safe for the kids?  Why isn’t my husband able to have a meaningful conversation with her about it?  Why do I not have the fortitude to talk to her myself?  Why can’t my husband just listen to me and let me vent without accusing me of being a bitch and nagging?  Why is all of this so hard?

But, then I realize, life is hard.  Nothing worth doing is easy.  Having kids is not easy.  Dealing with the in-laws is not easy.  A marriage is not easy…at all.  All we can do is make the most of it.  I take my shower and much like the water rinses the dirt off my body and down the drain, I let all of the emotions of the past week go down the drain too.  There’s nothing else I can do.  My MIL is going to continue to collect crap and do what she wants with it.  My husband will be combative with her because they are so much alike.  We will continue to argue throughout our entire marriage because we are completely different people who rarely see eye to eye on anything.  All I can do is love my kids, respect my husband and his opinions, and do what I can to keep the peace.  I will do my best to ensure my kids have a safe and loving environment no matter where they are.  They are my priority.

I don’t want a divorce.  I love my husband.  He’s got his faults, but I do too.  He takes care of me and he loves the boys more than anyone.  He has stuck by me through a lot and he’s a good man.  I never want to not be with him.  But, in the heat of arguments, I feel differently.  All I can do is ensure we do not argue in front of the kids.  They deserve the best life we can give them, and unlike my parents, I must choose a different path…  A path not filled with fighting, arguing, and name-calling.  It was selfish of my parents to not protect my brother and I from that.  Remember, my family told me to “break the cycle” and this is another step in that journey.  I will break the cycle of arguing in front of my children.  I will not allow my marriage to end in divorce.

*Disclaimer – Since this was written, my MIL has actually made some big strides in making sure the house is in suitable condition for the children.  I believe my husband may have given her an ultimatum when he spoke with her – clean up or we are taking the kids elsewhere.  There’s a long way to go, but she’s making an effort.  She’s working with another family member who is much more patient with her than any of the rest of us.  The other family member is willing to have a conversation with my MIL about each item before they decide what to do with it, whereas the rest of us just want to light a match to the place.  We will see how it all turns out.

**To my husband – I love you and do not want us to argue like we did this past week.  Let’s not allow the choices our family members make interfere in our lives like this again.  You are my rock and even though you may not think so, you do keep me sane 😉

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Today, I chose selflessness.   1 comment

Today I am watching my little nephew again for a couple of hours while my mother-in-law runs some errands.  This was a last-minute request of her and I found out she wanted to drop him off at my house only about a half hour before she actually did.  For anyone who knows me, I don’t do last-minute.  I am a planner and organizer, and I need to know at least several hours in advance before anyone comes to my house.  Further, I had already planned my day with my two boys and the things I need to get done…like pay bills, laundry, and vacuum.  So, I felt highly inconvenienced and annoyed.  If you read one of my earlier posts about my nephew, he is also a very needy child, so I also felt exhausted at the sheer thought of spending another day with him.  I almost told my mother-in-law I just didn’t have time to watch my nephew and had too many things going on, but that would have been a lie.  I do have time and can certainly take a few hours out of my day to help her out.

My mother-in-law watches my children while I am working, and asked if she could be our primary baby-sitter when I was pregnant with my first son.  She is truly a saint.  She has taken care of her elderly parents for years, and practically provided full-time hospice services to both her own mother and mother-in-law before they died, all the while taking care of my son and his cousin all day Monday through Friday…oh, and she runs her own business!  One would think why I even hesitated for a second to help her out today and why I was annoyed by it considering what she does for me and others.  These negative, conflicting thoughts are ones that I need help getting rid of.  These remind me of my mother.

See, my mother would have been completely annoyed this morning as well, but would have called her husband to bitch about the situation and his mother, and then say yes she could baby-sit with a smile on her face.  However, she would then bitch to everyone about it later and talk negatively about the person that inconvenienced her to everyone she knew.  She would then try to get others on “her side” and agree with her that she suffered some sort of injustice for being asked to baby-sit last-minute.  You may be wondering how I know exactly how this situation would have played out…  I’ve seen it all before…many many times.

My mother has one friend…a friend she has had since childhood…a friend that does not live near her and does not see her or hear from her on a daily basis.  A naive friend that truly believes my mother has been wronged by everyone else she has ever known.  She used to have several friends, but by talking about them behind their backs and accusing them of doing wrong to her, they are no more.  She and my step-dad used to have good jobs for a business my step-dad helped start up and run for more than 20 years, but her negativity and big mouth ruined that and they were fired from their own business.  She used to have in-laws and my step-dad used to have a brother, but they are no more.  She single-handedly destroyed the relationships in the family she married into.

My mother does not like other women.  She could not stand my dad’s mother or my dad’s sister.  She is insanely jealous of all other women but she’ll never admit it.  She critiqued everything they did and swore they were trying to influence my dad into leaving her.  She drove a wedge between my dad and his sister that to this day has still not been completely repaired…and my parents have been divorced for 16 years.  She even had the audacity to talk bad about them to my brother and I when we were young children. C’mom lady, this was my sweet grandmother and the only aunt I had!  I am annoyed now remembering all the things she used to accuse my grandmother and aunt of doing.  She was so full of lies.

When she married into her new family, she started doing the same thing.  She critiqued the parenting style of my step-dad’s brother and his wife, specifically his wife.  She found every opportunity to bash her that she could. She was too fat, let her kids eat whatever they wanted, didn’t love them, gave them too much, gave them too little, didn’t bathe them, on and on and on…  I remember when we first started hanging out with my step-dad’s family, my mother would try her very best to bash her sister-in-law to me and to get me on her “side” and agree that my sister-in-law was a bad mother.  WTF.  My mother, the one who beat the shit out of me, called me every name in the book, treated me like her and my brother’s servant, and let a dog attack me, was critiquing someone else’s parenting style!!  Pure insanity.  Even on Christmas Day…they day we celebrate selflessness, kindness, acceptance, etc., my mother had the nerve to whisper things to me about her sister-in-law at the breakfast table…while she was in the very next room!  She tried to get me to agree with her that her sister-in-law had her daughter’s hair pulled too tight in a bow and a bunch of other crap about the children’s’ clothes.  I was so embarrassed and sad that I had brought my soon-to-be husband around that.

My mother’s sister-in-law did a fine job with her kids.  Everyone has their own parenting style.  Sure, she lets her kids eat junk food and run around like crazy people out in public, but she loves them and they know it, and that’s what it all boils down to in my book.  My mother talked so bad about my sister-in-law that over a period of a decade,  she drove a wedge so big between my step-dad and his brother that it will be never be repaired.  She convinced my step-dad that his brother and his wife were out to get them and that they are terrible people.  She used her words to ruin the relationship to the point that my step-dad actually faced legal action because his brother accused him of attempted murder about two years ago.

You’ll love it…a great story that made the papers of the small town they live in (note – I grew up there and everyone knows they are my family – can you say embarrassing?). My step-dad’s family all live on what I call the compound in a small, rural county…about 500 acres.  There are three houses – my step-dad’s, his brother’s, and their parents.  My step-dad and mom were out in the yard one day doing whatever they do, and they noticed that my step-dad’s brother was out in the woods behind their house.  Evidently he was hunting.  My step-dad and mother decided that my step-dad’s brother should not be anywhere near their house and had no right to hunt near it, so they turned on the music in their big redneck truck very loudly and blared it in the direction of my step-dad’s brother.  He didn’t leave his post, so my step-dad decided to get a gun out and shoot toward the woods in the direction of his brother.  He told the court he was shooting at a groundhog and did not know his brother was in the woods, but I know the real story and they do not know that I do.  See, my brother was there with them at the time, and he told me the truth about what happened.  They however think I believe their ridiculous story about that my innocent step-dad was just shooting at a little groundhog and how dare his brother accuse him of trying to kill him.  Do they think I’m an f-ing idiot??  Do they think my brother wouldn’t tell me what really happened?  They have no idea that my brother is not loyal to them at all.

The whole thing went to court and my step-dad was charged with reckless handling of a firearm.  It almost went to trial but his brother put on some big boy pants and made the decision not to go to trial and to revoke the accusation that my step-dad was trying to kill him.  At the end of the day, my step-dad pleaded guilty to recklessly handling a firearm and was sentenced to a year of anger management courses and no contact with his brother’s family. The deteriorating relationship between the two brothers all started when my mom starting hating on her sister-in-law, and escalated so far out of control that the entire family does not speak.  My step-dad does not even have a good relationship with his own parents anymore because of the situation between he and his brother.  Kind of awkward considering they could all throw rocks at each other’s houses too…and there’s only one driveway…but I digress.

It is all so sad.  My step-dad (aside from having an open affair with a married woman while supposedly being a man of God) is a kind man.  He has always done everything he could to help out my brother and I  in any way.  He took my brother under his wing for several years and helped him find his own way in the world.  He gave of his time and money…when he had money.  After spending a few years with my mother, he has become a spiteful, sad person with no friends and now no family to lean on.  He is flat ass broke and on the verge of losing everything because my mom’s influence over him.  She has driven away any family and friends that he did have (because she hated their wives), and had a huge hand in getting them both fired from the business he had put many years and hard work into.  (In the type of business they ran – attempting to shoot your brother doesn’t really go over very well – ooops.)  He has been badly embarrassed in the community – to the point where an online discussion was created to talk about their family, the trial, the business they were fired from, etc.   He now works six days a week for a little over minimum wage and no benefits.  My mother sits at home.  Sure, I think she takes care of the house and the animals, but she doesn’t work.  However, she complains constantly about the fact that they don’t have money, that they need a new tv or new cell phones to keep up with the Jones’, that she wants to take trips around the world…but she is the biggest reason why they have no money!  My step-dad is a different man than I first met years ago.  He used to be very happy and optimistic about life and his business.  He had all of these great plans to keep the family business going and have my brother and I involved in it.  He wanted to buy a boat and a new house and do all of these great things, and now he is one more missed payment away from being in financial ruin.  When I do see him, he barely talks and there is a deep sadness in his eyes.  When he does talk, he’s basically telling my mom that “no, we are not getting a new tv because we can’t pay any of our bills.”  I feel really bad for him because if he had never met my mother, his life would be completely different.

Despite ruining their family relationships and financial situation, my mother still talks bad about the family when I see her.  Over the past year, I’ve counted how many minutes it takes her before she says something bad about somebody when I visit her.  It is always less than 30 minutes – always.  It’s almost like a game for my husband and I now to guess how many minutes it will take.  However, one thing has changed from years ago when she tried to get me involved.  I do not engage in the conversation.  I will listen, but never say anything back.  I will change the subject, even walk away.  I’ve been doing this for over a year, and yet she still talks about people to me.  Perhaps she has realized that she has lost a connection with me and is desperately pulling at anything she can to get it back.  I don’t know, but I refuse to engage her in negative talk.  It’s my little way of trying to get her to stop.  So far, it’s not working, but then again, I suppose that’s not my problem.

The crazy thing is, this sort of situation also rings true for anyone who happens to marry my dad – their lives are turned completely upside down, their credit is ruined, and their family relationships are strained.  Poor, unfortunate souls.  Seems like my parents were in fact meant for each other?  Too bad they didn’t stay together and just ruin each other’s lives instead of bringing others down with them.

Anyway, now that I’ve set all that up for you, back to my conflicting thoughts this morning.  See, I wanted to be angry and think “how could my mother-in-law ask such a thing of me so last-minute.”  I wanted to tell her no and I wanted to call my husband and bitch about her.  But, I didn’t, and I suppressed those thoughts.  You know how some people have an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other?  I have an optimistic, selfless, kind, and loving version of myself on one shoulder, and my mother and father both standing on the other.  I am CONSTANTLY evaluating my thoughts and actions to ensure I am not being like either one of them.  This morning, I fought the urge to be a bitch and to act like my mother would have acted.

I will NOT ruin mine or my husband’s relationship with my in-laws.  They are wonderful people.  His sisters are two of my best friends and his mother loves me and treats me like her own daughter.  They have taken me in from day one and treated me like a family member…and even took me back over the years when my husband and I broke up because I acted like an idiot…and I will not let them go.  I certainly do not want my own kids to blog about me in the future and how I ruined their dad’s relationship with his family and ended up in some small town courtroom defending my actions against his family.

In my world, today was a small success for me.  I’m giving my mother-in-law a few hours to herself to get some things done, and my son the opportunity to hang out with his best bud.  I did it without acting like a bitch or telling my husband that his mom is intentionally trying to use me and inconvenience me.  I ignored my mom standing on my shoulder.  Today, I chose selflessness.

All the best,

Someone’s mom

Chaos.   Leave a comment

I’m afraid of wind…and lightening…and tornados…and storms in general.  Lucky for me we’ve got all that going on in my part of the world today.  Yay.

It’s been a chaotic day so far.  The wind is gusting between 30 and 40 miles per hour around here and the neighborhood is a mess.  It also happens to be recycling day in the hood, so I spent around 20 minutes chasing all of our aluminum cans, cardboard boxes, empty milk cartons, and pretty much the entire contents of our overflowing recycling bin out of my neighbors’ yards.  You are welcome.

I didn’t realize everything was flying out of my recycling bin until the most inconvenient moment.  I was in the middle of giving my older son a bath when my little baby started crying to nurse, a bit ahead of schedule I might add.  Haha, yeah right, like they have a schedule. I removed my older son from his bath (against his mighty little will) and strapped a diaper around him and put him in his crib.  I then picked up my little baby and started to nurse him and looked out the window.  It was right at that moment that the wind picked up the aluminum cans out of my recycling bin and flung them into the air like a tornado had come through (very similar to the scene in Twister where the little aluminum censors flight into the tornado).  Shit.  What a mess.  Right at that moment, I also realized my mother-in-law had called wanting to drop off my needy nephew again for me to sit for a few hours.  OMG, could things get any more chaotic??  I finished nursing the little fella and apologized to my older son about leaving him in just a diaper…although he didn’t seem to care one bit.  He loves jumping in the crib, and was jumping like a mad man today.  I swear he was jumping higher than normal – perhaps less resistance without his clothes? 🙂

Anyway, outside I went armed with paper bags ready to clean up my mess.  There are things I know we recycled that I never found.  Sorry neighbors!  As I was running up the hill chasing Diet Mug Root Beer cans, I could feel the wind swirling all around me.  I thought to myself, holy shit, these last few minutes sure have been chaotic.  But, I made it through, picked up the recycling, dressed my older son and put him down for his nap, put my little baby down for his nap, and called my mother-in-law back who told me I was off the hook for babysitting today.  Thank.you.God.

I realized that my funny little morning and the little bit of chaos that ensued was NOTHING compared to the chaotic childhood I endured.  What’s more, I will not let my little ones endure the same chaotic environment I did.  I’ll protect them from the wind and rain no matter what I have to do.

If you read yesterday’s post, you know that my mom left me during my first year of life and cheated on my dad, and then my dad got her back by cheating on her during that same time period.  Obviously I do not have a personal recollection of the first couple of years of my life, but I know those stories because my dad and grandparents shared them with me.  One of the earliest memories I have is the birth of my brother.  I was five and he was adorable!  I vividly remember being in the hospital and giving him the little blue plastic elephant I had picked out for him.  I love my brother.  We had many years of not getting along and barely speaking, but he was there for me and tried his best to protect me during some very dark moments in my life.

After my brother was born, he became the center of attention and of course that was difficult for my five year old self.  However, you have to understand that I was not a bratty kid.  Despite feeling jealous, I still loved my brother, wanted to play with him all the time, helped take care of him, and would have snuggled with him all day if I could have.  But, my mother wouldn’t let me. In fact, it seemed she didn’t want me anywhere near my brother or her.  Most of my vivid memories start when I was around 7 or 8 years old and my brother was 2 to 3.  When we would visit with my grandparents, my mom wouldn’t allow me to speak.  If we were sitting around the dinner table and I said something, I got kicked under the table.  And this happened a lot.  At Thanksgiving, I would be taken to a back room at my grandparent’s house and slapped because I had too much food on my plate and I talked too much during dinner.  However, the whole time, my brother talked and threw food and had a great time, and my mom ate all of it up.  She never treated my brother like that – he could do no wrong.  At that time, I didn’t understand why she acted like that but I do now which I will share at a later time.  I was a good kid.  I kept my room clean, did well in school (always got gold stickers and honor roll).  I did get a bad conduct grade a few times for talking too much in class, but now I realize I talked so much at school because no one kicked me under the table there.

My mom treated me like that no matter where we were.  She would always take me to some back room and beat the shit out of me for talking too much, eating too much, and breathing loudly.  (PS – I was never an overweight kid, so am still not understanding why she beat me for eating.)  She would bring my dad in on it too and he would get in on the beating if necessary.  Pretty shitty, but there are some funny parts to it, too.  My parents thought that no one knew what they were doing, but my grandparents’ houses weren’t that big, so everyone there heard what was going on.  And, my mom accidentally kicked other family members a few times under the table which of course sparked a little conversation about why.  I always loved watching her squirm when being questioned about the way she treated me.  She of course would always make up some bullshit about how bad I was, but the only person that ever really believed her was my dad.  My grandparents knew better – they were not fools.  That is why whenever my brother and I got to spend a few days with them during the summer, they treated me like gold.  I LOVED spend time with my grandparents without my parents.  Those are the happiest memories I have of my childhood.  I ugly cried during the car ride home every time….to the point where my grandmother would cry.  My brother and I would beg my granddaddy to turn the car around, to not take that dreaded exit on I95 toward our house.  I remember praying to the good Lord that one day granddaddy would turn the car around…that one day all our begging would finally make him do it.  But, he never did.

I have one memory of when I was about 10 years old where I had just come home from a week-long stay with my great-grandparents.  It was wonderful.  They took me out to eat, took me on their boat, we picked vegetables together in the garden, my great-grandmother and I stayed up late and watched movies, and they loved me.  I craved so much love when I was with my grandparents and great-grandparents, and they wrapped me in as much love as they could.  After that wonderful week, I remember laying on my bed trying to sob as quietly as I could so no one would hear me.  I was absolutely devastated to be back home.  I pushed my face as far into the bed as I could.  I can still feel the wetness of the tears on my face and my heart hurts thinking about it.  I cried so hard my face and throat hurt.  I even remember the commercial that was on my little tv when my mom came in the room to yell at me after she heard me crying.  (A commercial for windows – white house with lots of new windows across the front.)  My mom came in and asked me what the hell was wrong with me and I told her nothing.  Her voice got louder and she continued asking me what was wrong, so I told her the truth – I was sad to be home and missed my great-grandparents.  Then, she told me I could go live with them  if I wanted to and that I was an ungrateful bitch.  Then she slammed the door.

See, by that time, she had witnessed me crying after coming back home…several times.  She knew in her heart I hated living there, and she knew why.  She knew she abused me and treated me much different from my brother, yet she could not change her ways.  It was a vicious cycle.  She would get so mad when she saw how sad I was to be home, but she knew why I was sad.  Me being sad would make her even more angry though, and then she would come at me with even more fervor – both with her hands and her words.

But, I still loved her.  I still love her now despite the horrid things she did to me when I was little older (between the ages of 8 and 14).  I still made her cards for Mother’s Day and fixed her breakfast if I woke up before she did.  I made her Christmas presents and birthday cards.  I sucked up to her.  I know now that my little childhood self was doing everything I could to gain her approval and make the beatings, kickings, slappings, etc. stop, but my efforts seemed to go unnoticed.

More to come later…  Writing just about these few memories I have of those earlier years has helped me already.  In the thick of it, I get mad at my mom all over again, but at the end of the paragraph, I sort of feel a release.  And that’s what I plan to continue doing – remembering what I want to forget, so I can let it go.

Have a great day all!

All the best,

Someone’s mom

Break the cycle.   Leave a comment

Today has been a good day.  We had some visitors  today and my older son had a great time playing with them.  While he and my little baby were napping this afternoon, my husband and I worked more on his big boy room…hanging pictures, moving his things in from the nursery.  It’s really coming along and it makes me a little sad.  I still remember the very weekend my husband painted the nursery.  Afterall, it was only a little more than a year and a half ago…and now another kid is moving into it.  It is slightly shocking.  I never would have imagined that day that he painted the nursery that less than two years later we’d have another baby boy waiting in line to use it.

Speaking of flashing back, I often go back to the day that we announced our first son’s name at our co-ed baby party we had about a month before my due date.  It was a surreal moment.  Even though I knew there was a baby boy in there and we had already named in, I had not connected with him and couldn’t fathom what life would be like when he was a part of our family.  Now I can’t get enough of him.  Tonight at dinner, my husband accidentally (or perhaps intentionally) let out a pretty sizable poot, and my older son proudly exclaimed “poo pood!”  I literally choked on my food and my husband almost choked on his drink.  It was one of the best moments we’ve had as a family.  My son has already been letting us know whenever he poos by announcing “I pood”  Man, we are proud.  I never thought I’d see the day when I’d be proud of someone for announcing that they shit their pants.  I love parenthood.

I’m looking forward to hundreds, hopefully thousands, more moments like we had tonight.  But, in order to ensure I have those moments, I have to break the cycle…

See, there are a few reasons I started this blog.  One, to help me out with some areas in my life that I’m challenged with – mainly my pessimism and the stress I put on myself by constantly worrying.  Two , to connect with other parents and share advice, funny moments, and talk about life.  And three, to help me come to terms with the abuse I experienced as a child.  I realize I could keep a private journal or see a therapist, but I’m not a Dear Diary kind of girl and I’m not that interested in talking to a stranger about my issues.  I know that sounds funny since I’m writing a blog anonymously and sharing it with people I’ve never met…I totally get that that’s weird.  But, I’m ok with that.

I come from a divorced family…like most of us these days.  My parents divorced when I was 14 years old, and although it was a horrible experience at the time, it was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.  I come from an abusive home, and am a product of two people who I believe never really loved each other.

My parents got married at 18 years old.  My dad had a scholarship to a local university, and instead of taking that scholarship and earning a degree, he chose to marry my mom.  In knowing my mother and how manipulative she is, I firmly believe that she manipulated my dad into getting married instead of going to college.  I know that my dad could have made his own choices and I don’t think he was forced to walk down the aisle at gun point, but there had to be some reason why he threw away that scholarship.  Perhaps the pregnant card?  I’ll probably never know, but I am certain that they never truly loved each other.   My mom never had any college ambitions, and coming from a broken home herself, she wanted to get away and be taken care of.  I can’t say I blame her.  She too comes from a pretty f-d up situation.  Her mother left my mom, her little brother, and their dad when they were very young children, and ran around with several different men for many years.  She was basically the town whore and my mom and her brother knew it and heard it being talked about.  My grandmother left her children with their dad, who really didn’t want much to do with them either.  He then in turn asked his own parents to raise his children. WTF.  So, my mom and her brother were raised by her paternal grandparents…who were saints.

Flash forward several years later when I was born.  Just a couple of months after, my own mother left me in my crib while my dad was working a 24 hour shift.  She ran around town for a week with a guy and had apparently decided that parenting me was way too much to deal with.  My dad called in reinforcements and had his parents help out.  He begged and pleaded my mother to come back  and she did.  Not long after, my dad  cheated on my mom to get revenge, and they repeated this cycle for approximately 14 years.

In the early 90s, we moved from to a new town and bought a bigger house.  My mom had to work to help pay the bills.  She found a job she liked, had a little spending money of her own, and discovered some independence she had been missing for a few years.  This soon led to a new love interest in her life.  She had a public affair (we come from a small town, so any affair is public), and my brother and I watched it all unfold right before our very eyes.  We even met the man before my dad ever knew about him.  He was supposedly a man of God, and yes, this affair happened on the grounds of a Baptist church.  Once dad found out about him, he still begged my mom to stay, but she jumped ship, and for eight years, my brother and I did not have a relationship with her.  I honestly thought I’d never see her again, and after a couple of years I began to get comfortable with the idea.

My dad brought in his reinforcements again and my grandparents raised my brother and I for about two years until my grandfather was diagnosed with colon cancer.  They were wonderful and I owe my life to them.  More specifically, I will never know a more giving person than my grandfather…ever.  He unselfishly gave of his time, the little bit of money that he made, and all the love in the world.  He taught me how to play poker, how to drive, how to fish, and how to love.  I am a decent driver, an ok fisherwoman, and a beach lover because of him.  I can forgive people because of him.  I am who I am because of him.  I lost my grandfather a few years ago to lung cancer, and I miss him every day.  I am reminded of his presence every day when I put on my engagement ring, which is a story I will save for later.

After my grandparents left so my granddaddy could fight his cancer, my dad then found his own independence…and several women.  Now my dad was the talk of the town.  Super fun for my brother and I in the small town we lived in.

So, there you have it.  This is a very small glimpse of the various chapters in my life that I’d like to forget, but know I need to remember so I can let them go.

There is a common theme flowing through my family – abandonment.  And it appears to happen only after children are thrown into the mix.  So now it’s on my shoulders to break the cycle.  And, I will stop at nothing to do that.

I look forward to writing about these chapters.  There are a lot of details I do not want to relive, that I have buried deep down, that I’ve only shared with my husband and one or two other people, and I truly think it’s going to feel good to get them out on paper..or I guess I should say on the internet…  My parents should have never married, or procreated.  And now, 4 marriages and several ex-step siblings and broken families later, I plan to share all of the sad details why.

Thank you for reading.  It’s crazy how therapeutic it is knowing I’m sharing with an audience of strangers.  I guess that means I don’t have to hold back, right?

Well, it’s off to bed. Only one week of maternity leave left with my precious boys.  I would give my left leg to have another 12 weeks with them.

Good night, sweet dreams!

All the best,

Someone’s mom