I try to be a good daughter, I really do, but my mother makes it so hard to be around her sometimes. She is difficult, anxious, complains a lot, mumbles, doesn’t communicate well or choose her words wisely, she’s too loud, she’s discourteous, she makes assumptions, she’s often rude and judgmental of others, she’s just a mess all around.
But, I help. I try to help soften her edges. I talk quietly, or at a tone lower than usual, hoping she’ll catch on. I try and remain calm so she reflects my energy. I try to speak kindly and ask questions. I try to have conversation with her that doesn’t make her fly off on some wild tangent that makes her loud, furious, and out of control. I work to make sure her needs are anticipated when out to eat so she doesn’t speak rudely to the wait staff because of her insanely high expectations that can never be met. I try and help her find the words she needs when her mind is buzzing in twelve directions and she can’t utter a coherent sentence. I try and help her find confidence and comfort where I can. But for some reason she doesn’t soften, she doesn’t appreciate efforts to add value and wellness to her life. She doesn’t see kindness in action, she listens for negativity and provocation.
Since I’ve been visiting this week, I’ve cooked several meals. I’ve even bought some of the groceries for those meals. I’ve done countless loads of dishes. Deep cleaned the kitchen. I’ve cleaned the bathroom from top to bottom. I’ve swept, dusted, washed walls, scrubbed mirrors, and hung pictures throughout her home. I tried to fix a minor plumbing issue. I’ve washed off the driveway. I’ve rearranged a bedroom. I’ve manipulated her tiny ferocious beasts with treats so they don’t bite me or my son (she has three Yorkies that are rather out of control). I’ve tidied up here and there as I see something, but have been careful not to be rude or off putting. I’ve yet to hear a thank you or a word/gesture of appreciation. I’ve ensured that I’ve picked up after myself and my son well so that nobody else would have to. I’ve also organized her mail that was spread throughout the house in various areas (counter top, kitchen, under baskets, in a craft basket, shoved in a bag, etc). I’ve sorted her bills so she knows what she has to pay. I’ve helped her develop business cards for this side hustle she’s got going on that I don’t think will profit much but I’m glad she’s doing something creative and positive. She might prove me wrong and make a killing on these things (homemade mumus and hair fascinators), but we shall see. I’ve helped her set up a financial tracking account through a website so she can track profits and expenses for her new hobby. I’ve also spent time with my son, grandmother, nephews, niece, sister, and sister in-law while my mom worked and then communicated with her all day about what’s happening while she’s away. Seriously, what more could a daughter do to help?
Yet, I’m a mean hater for saying the homemade mumus are not my style or something I’m into and that wearing flowers in my hair while I wear jeans and T-shirt’s isn’t my thing either. Not my style. And that’s ok. But it isn’t you see? I have to be excited about what she wants me excited about for her or nothing else matters. It’s infuriating. I can’t just be honest, yet kind without being talked at and nearly yelled at for being a “hater”. It’s so damn dumb. After all else I’ve done just in this week alone, I’m terrible for not loving her handiwork for myself. I love that she’s being creative. I love she’s trying to develop a talent. I love she’s finding herself curious and entertained. I love she’s busy being productive. I truly do. I’m just too practical to want to buy things I won’t wear or don’t like. And I’ve said all of this, yet all she hears is “I don’t like it”.
This is the thing: I’ve only ever wanted a healthy, happy, mutually beneficial relationship with my mother. I’ve never wanted to be a leech or be her co-dependent other. I want her happy on her own and in her own right, and within reason. We can’t expect happiness to just manifest without any work though, so I want her to take responsibility for her wellness and seek support through appropriate channels (therapy, exercise classes, etc). I want her to live a good life full of nice enough things, money in the bank, friends in her phone list, and family who are well and engage with her as typical, healthy families would. Wellness is a huge thing right now. She’s very unhealthy in many ways and she’s “doing things about it” but only gets more pills to swallow. She’s up to 11 different meds and recently thought she was in the early stages of Parkinson’s because she has bradykinesia (hand shaking) but wasn’t told that by her doc, she looked it up on the Google and diagnosed herself with this. She’s a smoker. She has kidney issues. She doesn’t exercise. She doesn’t do anything to promote wellness or health in her body or mind. She’s in a constant state of anxiety and stress which is self induced, mostly. She’s lived a hard life as an adult, she’s made those choices herself though. Jumped from one unhealthy relationship to another, chose drugs and alcohol, got pregnant as a teen, dropped out of high school, moved away from her loving family, moved across the country with three small children and no money or job… she’s chosen this life. And she still chooses it. She’s making life hard for herself on purpose or something. I will never understand. But I will continue to do what I can to try and persuade her to live a better life. Live an easier life for no other reason than she can.
It’s hard watching someone you want to connect with and love spend so much precious time wasting it with such negativity and angst. It’s so sad and heartbreaking. When she does what will her legacy be? What will she have left behind for others to remember or see? What mark has she made on the world that will be remembered for years to come long after she’s passed? I have yet to figure that out exactly, but I fear it might be sadness and hurt.
She has time to turn all this around. She has time to make right her wrongs and choose life, love, and wellness. She just has to want it and then do something about it. I have to pray she sees her options and finds her way through this stage. She’s lived too long to continue fighting against obstacles that aren’t there or those she’s created.
Unlike my dad and my step dad who are both gone and there’s no hope for a different relationship, my mom is here and I have to hope she will choose wellness one day so we can have a better, happier, healthier relationship for the remainder of her life. 🙏🏼
The Repressed Peach