Being a mum without a mum can be tricky. There’s no one to call when I don’t know what to do. No one to guide me when I feel like I have nowhere left to go. What’s difficult for me is that my mum hasn’t died, we just don’t get on.
We live several hundred miles from my family, and I see them about four times a year. We have, in the past, had periods of not speaking, but we are currently – just about – on speaking terms.
To be honest, I get pretty sick of hearing ‘…but she’s your mum’. It doesn’t excuse everything. I won’t list here some of the things she’s done – some are petty, some are too huge to even begin to try and explain, and others are too identifiable. But suffice to say, it is enough to have wrecked the relationship between us. Lies, gas-lighting (manipulating someone psychologically so they doubt their own sanity) and frankly outrageous behaviour. I would accept far less from a friend, so why am I expected to accept such appalling behaviour from the one person who is supposed to be on my side, just because she bears the name ‘mum’?
The reasons for my mum’s behaviour are many and complex. She has her own issues and demons which are not my stories to tell. They do explain some of her behaviour, but don’t excuse it. I have tried countless times to get her the help she so obviously needs, to be met with accusations of bullying and bitchiness.
Since my children have been born, and certainly since they’ve become toddlers, I’ve had to make a decision. Do I expose them to her? Her behaviour, manipulation and lies? Or do I cut her off? I have made the decision to try and maintain a relationship, although there are many times I question my decision. She has shown an appalling lack of judgement, and in some cases, downright disregard for the safety of my siblings. She has demonstrated time and again that she will put her own feelings above mine and anyone else’s. And that is why she will never be left alone with my children. I cannot trust her. Sadly, I cannot trust that my dad would stop her from doing something that would put my children in danger (either physically or emotionally). As a daddy’s girl it breaks my heart, but he defends her behaviour no matter what she has done. Whilst I understand this united front, he has lied to protect her, and I no longer believe anything he tells me where she is concerned. This makes me sadder than I could ever explain.
I have grieved for my mother. Or more accurately, the relationship I wish we had and the mother I wish she was. For the longest time, I was envious of the relationships friends had with their mums. I now love that many of my friends have strong relationships with their parents, but am sad that I will never achieve this for myself.
So, where do I turn for advice about my children? I have no-one to gently tell me I’m overreacting about that raised temperature, or remind me my punishment might be too harsh. Or confirm my fears that my child needs to see a doctor. My mother-in-law is wonderful, but has a daughter of her own to guide. So I turn here. To The Motherload®. And to friends I trust who know about my mum (their number is few, it’s not something that I like to discuss). Next time I, or someone like me, asks you a ‘silly’ question or advice on something trivial – remember, they may not have anyone or anywhere else to turn.
I only hope that I am a better mother than she. I’d like to think I am. I am not a perfect mother, but I hope my children think I am. For now, at least. Only time will tell.
Anonymummy is The Motherload®’s anonymous blogging identity; she allows us to tell the stories which are too risky, or too painful to share in our own names. Anonymummy is written by a different author every time. If you have an experience to share via Anonymummy, you can email The Motherload® editor in confidence on firstname.lastname@example.org.