Bigger Damage Control

I hesitate to write this post for many reasons.  I want to entertain, inform, and express myself through this little blog of mine.  Sometimes I need to comment on the idiotic things going on in the larger world around me.  I try not to get too personal.

If you’ve read my blog for a while, you may have caught some comments that hinted that my mom gets on my nerves.  I feel bad about that, but that’s the way it is.  I love her but I can’t relate to her.  What’s worse, I know that what she does, and what she’s done, is not intentional.  It’s just the way she is.  So of course I feel even worse, because I know some people have terribly abusive parents.  And some people have no parents.  And I feel like I have no right to feel annoyed.

The big storm we had the other night caused a lot of damage in these parts.  Many local homes and businesses were flooded by the nearly 4 inches of rain that fell.  I found out late the following day that my mom’s basement had flooded, ruining her dryer, hot water heater, and all her Christmas decorations.  This is how she broke the news to me:

“Your brother and sister-in-law just left.  I don’t know what I would have done without them.  They’re angels.”  I asked what happened.  She told me how water had started seeping into her basement up to the second or third step.  She told me how the fire company had ended up at her house and how her hot water tank was damaged.  “I just don’t know what I would have done without[L] and [S],” she mentioned again.  “Who would I have called?  What would I have done without them?” she mentioned about three more times, just in case I hadn’t heard her the times before.  Ummm, of course, she could have called us.  She knows she could have called us.  We’ve never refused to help her.  We’ve shoveled her walks in the winter. We’ve changed our Friday night plans when she insisted her pine tree branches had to be cut down that night. But we’re not psychic.

My jaw tightened, like it often does when I talk to her.  But I wasn’t going to play into this little game.  “Just who would I have called if they weren’t around,” she said, yet again, and I said, perhaps a bit icily, “Gee, I can’t imagine.  Good thing you got a hold of them.  How did they find out about the flood?”  She informed me that she had called them because they had some of their stuff stored down there.  No one ever called us to ask for help or tell us there was a problem.  And I can’t stress enough that we’re always willing to help.  In fact, my husband is a saint like that.

She does stuff like this all the time.  When my late uncle was very sick and his daughter-in-law took care of him, we all heard over and over how she didn’t know what would happen to her if she ever became sick.  Who would take care of her?  She had nobody to depend on to do all that stuff for her.  It was a slap in the face to me and my sister-in-law, who had in fact, done everything possible for her several years ago when she had major heart surgery.  We visited her every day in the hospital and stayed with her when she came home.  Even though we each had three boys in school, we spent a lot of time with her at home just to keep her company.  We did her laundry, talked to her doctors, made sure she took the many pills she had to take at the various times of the day.  We got her groceries and cooked her meals.  We checked on her wounds and tried to make her comfortable.  My sister also did what she could after work and taking care of her two young daughters.

My brother called me the following day.  We need to coordinate our schedules to take care of things mom needs done around the house.  I talk to mom several times a week on the phone, but they visit her more so he has a better idea of what needs to be done.  I ask him how he can put up with her constant negativity.  He said she’s done the same thing to him many times when my husband has done some heavy work for her, commenting about how she doesn’t know what she’d do if she didn’t have Big Daddy to depend on.

This isn’t the effects of aging.  If anything, mom’s mellowed out.  We were never good enough, popular enough or quite what she wanted.  I don’t know how many times I was compared with some random acquaintance and asked why I couldn’t be more like her.  So, yeah, I don’t visit so much.  We’re like day and night.  We have nothing in common.  And when the conversation turns negative, it’s easier to say, “Gotta go.”  And then hang up the phone.

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15 Responses to “Bigger Damage Control”


  1. 1 Consuella Banana Hammock June 21, 2009 at 3:48 am

    ok so what is it with moms? seriously it scares me. my mom annoys the hell out of me. lots of reasons why. the point is…almost everyone i know gets annoyed with their mom. as a mom, how do i not become an annoying mom? is it even possible?

    • 2 mamaneeds2rant June 21, 2009 at 10:27 am

      I think it’s why I was so happy to have boys. I think it’s worse with mothers and daughters. But then again, growing up like this, I try my hardest not to make my boys feel bad about themselves.

  2. 3 robinaltman June 21, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    If it’s any consolation, I get annoyed with your mother just reading about the interaction, so I can only imagine how it feels having to deal with her. She needs to cut down the snarky comments if she wants people to want to deal with her. Sheesh. I’d have her on an ice flow in about 2 seconds flat.

  3. 4 Cyndi June 21, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Oh brother, can I relate to this one. You’re handling it well. All you can do is adjust how you react and relate to her since it is unlikely that she will change. I’m not sure if you’ve ever tried talking to her about how this makes you feel. If not, it may help you, even if she doesn’t knock it off, just to get it out and she may even layoff a little.

    • 5 mamaneeds2rant June 21, 2009 at 1:48 pm

      Truthfully, she actually does try to watch what she says to me because she knows how I feel about her negativity and that I won’t put up with much. She says much worse to my sister who is more like her and will put up with it. It’s just the way she is and I don’t think she can help it, which is why I feel bad about how irritated I get. If I knew she was deliberately nasty, I wouldn’t feel bad about being annoyed.

  4. 6 Cyndi June 21, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Intentional or not, it is annoying to you and I can certainly understand why. I also understand the guilt but have realized that feeling guilty about my feelings just feeds into a negative self-perception and serves no good purpose at all. Guilt is good only for keeping us from behaving inappropriately, but is actually bad for us when applied to our feelings. We feel what we feel and having negative feelings does not make you “bad” in any way. Great post, by the way! 🙂

    • 7 mamaneeds2rant June 21, 2009 at 2:59 pm

      Thanks, Cyndi. I know I can’t help how i feel just like she may not be able to help how negative she is. I am getting better at controlling my reactions and that is good. I used to flip out more; now I usually either redirect the conversation or just let her know she was rude and that I’m not putting up with it.

  5. 8 Tammy June 22, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    My mom has a similiar relationship with her mother. Only my mom, for whatever reason, really needs her mothers acceptance. It has really affected her life. Her mother chooses to embrace her other children, one a drug addict, the other in prison, and gives my mom no credit for actually doing something positive with her life.

    The first time she met my son (as a baby) she proceeded to tell me that she felt my son was dirty, because he was born out of wedlock. We were out to dinner. I stood up, let her know that would be the last time she ever saw me or my son, and walked out.

    I have only seen her once since then at my sister’s graduation.

    I have no problem cutting people like that out of my life.

    Was that too much information for a blog comment? LOL!

    Good luck!

    • 9 mamaneeds2rant June 22, 2009 at 4:02 pm

      I’m pretty much like you, Tammy. If someone had made a disgusting comment like that to me, they would not be a part of my life. Especially about one of my kids! I know other people with downright abusive parents that actually couldn’t have possibly cared about them keep striving to win their parents’ approval, affection, etc. Usually it’s futile and i don’t understand the attempt. I wouldn’t need them in my life. My situation is different in that even though I don’t feel particularly close or warm and fuzzy about my mom, I know she loves my kids and me and I love her. She just makes me grit my teeth a lot. LOL

  6. 10 Chris June 24, 2009 at 12:15 am

    I’m telling you…we can always get her into a nursing home like the one in Happy Gilmore. Incidentally, that’s where you’re going if you turn into her. 😉

  7. 11 mamaneeds2rant June 24, 2009 at 12:49 am

    You wouldn’t dare. I’d come back to haunt you!!!!

  8. 12 Paula June 25, 2009 at 2:37 am

    Does your mom read your blog? I never got along with my mom until just recently. We had a very tough time of it. Well, at times we still do. It’s only been in the past year or so I can stand to be in the same room with her for any length of time. The negativity…I wish there was a way to combat it. I’ve tried making a game of it. When she says something hurtful to me I would say. OUCH. Or, when she compared me to my sister, I would say…You’re so right..Isn’t she wonderful? When I made it a game I was able to distance myself from it a little bit and she was able to see how OFTEN she said comments like that. I really think she was oblivious. Good luck GF. You are NOT alone.

    • 13 mamaneeds2rant June 25, 2009 at 9:09 am

      Those are really good ideas, Paula. It might make her aware of how often she does these things. Thanks. And no, mom doesn’t have a computer and most of the rest of my family (under the age of 30) don’t do much on the computer either, which may give me too much freedom to vent LOL

  9. 14 Dawn June 25, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    As painful of a post this was to write, must have felt good. My mom is not here to learn lessons anymore, I am though. And you reminded me how I want to care more for words that come out of my mouth.

    When my mom was here, she would say things like “Who do you think you are?” And, this one “You really have guts don’t you?” (like it was bad) … to leave a marriage that was bad, to reach for professional goals that put me on a high wire.

    And now I look back, inspired by your post, and I feel really lucky that her going against me, strengthened my sense of who I am.

    It’s a weird life of contrasts like that.

  10. 15 mamaneeds2rant June 25, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    Yes, Dawn. One of Cyndi’s recent posts made me think about the very same thing which is that some of the crappy stuff we put up with in life makes us stronger and better. But, like the old saying goes, that’s if it doesn’t kill you first. Luckily for us, we seemed to have learned from adversity rather than curled up and died.


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