Internal thoughts of this mother…

Sometimes a lot of the time I sit in silence and feel that my daughter doesn’t love me.

Doesn’t really like me much.

You have no idea how tough it is for me to have written that. How I know my husband would say that I am being totally ridiculous and that of course she does love me because I am her mother.

But I don’t think that that matters. That we are not simply loved because we are the parents. I wish it were that easy.

Actions speak louder than words.

I pick her up from either my mum’s place or my in-laws place and she’s not even bothered that I’ve walked through the door. I would be jumping out of my skin to see her and she could really care less. Then someone else will walk through the door and she will be beside herself with excitement.

And a small part of me dies inside.

I joke around about it and pretend I am not phased; I laugh along with them when they say “oh; she doesn’t want to go home – she wants to stay with me!” but inside I’m crushed. I look at her and am literally IMPLORING her with my eyes to show some any affection to me. But I get back nothing except her wriggling to get out of my arms.
And a small of me dies inside.

When we get home she’s fine; we play together and I make her laugh and feed her and bath her and then put her to bed. She’ll cry if I leave her bedroom too early t=so I wait for her to doze off then quietly walk out.
And I am fooled into thinking that she might actually love me.

Then it starts all over again and I feel worthless. Like I’m a terrible mother.

I try to tell myself its ok; that I don’t need her approval and that a mother’s love is selfless and that my job is to be her mother. That my role in this house is as ‘bad cop’ and I can handle that because whist she’ll not like me now, one day she’ll see my worth. It might be for another two decades or so but eventually she’ll see that everything I did; that I do now is for her.
I just have to wait.

And in the meantime (another) small part of me dies.

The roles we play: our true occupation

I am constantly amazed at the roles we, as individuals seem to play; both with our interaction with loved ones as well as our interactions in society. I am constantly baffled at how we end up with these ‘titles’/duties and cannot help but wonder if these roles only further reinforce our emotional roles within our family structures.

Take for example my role in my own relationship with my mum: I am the organiser, the fixer, the translator, the form filler, the corrector, the conflict resolution person, the calmer the list goes on but let’s let it t that… More and more, as my life evolves I start to realise that this role whilst in its entirety is with my mum; so many of these traits play key features in my other relationships.

In my household for example: My husband is the ‘worrier’ whilst I am the one who highlights the ease to his worry. I am the bill organiser, the planner, the contract reader. During moments of emotional upheaval I am the one who moves forward; plans, organises, calls; the shoulder to cry on; the person who bends over and picks up all their pieces and mends it/them all back together as I quietly stand beside them. I am the rock; the soft and quiet steady calm.

Today my cousin called from Doha to tell me that my uncle had passed away. He asks me to tell my mum – to make sure she is ok and gives me the necessary details: when he passed, when and where he is being buried today and why he had passed.

And then I notice how we move all that aside and talk of what needs to be organised: will my mum be heading off overseas? Will he be arranging for his mum (my mum’s now only remaining living sibling) to head over? That he is planning to organise things regarding my uncle’s kids (4 boys; 3 of which are still are very young) and his wife. We sit here in our respective countries and discuss what are the better options for a family that live in another country and I cannot help but see that this is the role my cousin and I play. Him being a man and older and more religious – he organises things; puts all the necessary things in place – arranges it all. And me being the understanding one to things in our family; I listen to his views and can actually give him input and options rather than bombard him with questions and worry.

We are the problem solvers; the calm.

I get off that call and call my mum. Explain to her the news; give her the details. Tell her again what my cousin told me. Explain the situation to her again and ask her that whatever she wants to do is up to her and that I would help arrange it. I am the calm. I listen to her barrage of fears, questions; her crying.
And I sit there silent and stoic – and I almost hate the fact that this is the way I have someone become programmed.

I go back to my desk (at work) and seemingly get back to work awash with sadness at the loss of my uncle and at the further cemented roles that my cousin and I play.

There are no tears.

There never are. They will come during a moment alone; a moment completely separate from this one where it will (probably) seem as though I am upset/crying over something else. I don’t know how else to be. This is just who I am.

Who I’ve always been.

How are YOU?

Do you know can be incredibly frustrating about my relationship with my mother? Is that is completely almost totally one-sided! I mean do NOT for a second think that I am ungrateful for everything she has done, sacrificed and achieved in raising me. Don’t for one millisecond think that I don’t sit here in awe of the fact that from the age of eight she raised me as a single parent without any emotional or monetary help from my dad at all.

BUT it seems that the moment I started earning an income I suddenly started morphing into something else. Sure, I was always the one mum spoke to about her problems, finances and don’t even get me started on the abundance of ‘emotional scarring’ my father left on my mother where I all too vividly remember mum crying in her bedroom then scooping me up so I could sleep with her in her bed. But even then if I (as a child) wanted to cry about my own sadness my mum always told me that seeing me cry hurt her too much – me crying would make her cry so that then i’d have to make her feel ok and happy, so in most cases I’d “sort myself” out by just crying by myself in the dead of night in my room.

When I graduated university and got that full-time job I changed yet again; I became the provider, the husband, the listener, the maintainer, the fixer, the translator, the plumber, the driver… BUT I still had a curfew and I STILL had to listen and obey her every instruction. But I did it; I sucked it up and did it – because she raised me, because she did it on her own, because I think she managed to do a bloody good job of it, because I DO love her, because she is my mother.

And now I’m married and have a baby – and whilst I am now not entirely playing the role of “financier” ( though that is NOT for lack of her trying) I am still the translator, the driver and the person to has to calm her down when things seem too much (which is often, as she is a highly anxious person). What frustrates me MOST of all is she never, ever asks how I am.

Never.

Even when she calls me and its obvious I am sick; she’ll say in an accusing tone “you sound sick – why aren’t you taking medicine?” HOW do you answer this? With a deep breath and “yeah, I have a cold, I am taking some medicine – thanks”. I mean really – what else can I say?

But don’t get me wrong – she LOVES our little girl; she looks after lil missy every Monday and I can tell she loves it. And when she calls me she DOES sometimes ask about Amira towards the middle/end of the conversation… she’ll even ask about hubby as well (I know right, how the times have changed!) and how she feels she hasn’t seen him in ages.

But not me – and not about what I’m doing or got planned for the day, or if her call is disturbing me from work etc. No, instead my mum jumps strainght into her conversation and wat is frustrating her at this VERY MILLISECOND and that I, as her daughter, her one and only child – the one she raised all by herself MUST stop whatever I am doing and listen, help and fix her issue… even if it is the EXACT same situation she has already told me of 4 times before in the last other 4 converstations (of which I may have provided a solution but that it does not meet her requirements.

Take for example my converstion with her but minutes ago – as soon as I picked up and said salam she was straight into it “remember how I went to the chemist yesterday? Well they didn’t have the medication for my prescription – so I went to another one today and they said only the chemist in Applecross has this – WHAT will I do? I MUST have this medication NOW! Plus I have the problem with the neighbour still! There are 5 cars parked in front of their and my house – it makes it very difficult for me to reverse out – I have a new car, I could have an ACCIDENT! WHAT should I DO? Maybe I call police and they talk to them? They don’t understand – you can’t JUST park in FRONT someone house like that!” do you notice how there are no full stops? Because my mum doesn’t use them – I feel the need to tell you that at this exact moment; whilst I’m on the phone to my mum that my lil missy is screaming her lungs out as I was trying to get her down for her afternoon nap and that I KNOW my mum would’ve been able to hear – but she doesn’t even ask what’s going on… why? Because SHE has an issue and I MUST listen and fix it…

And I’m totally stuck – I completely caught up in her “you have to help me because I am your mother and I do everything for you” only its not that she does everything for me – it’s that once upon a time I was a child and THEN she DID do everything for me. And tr as I may to desperately make her understand that in fact, for the last DECADE or so I HAVE been the one to do everything and that the moment I worked out my mum held over my head the fact she’d done it ‘all for me’ as a single parent (so that I “owed” her) I quickly smartened up and thought that I would rather go without than ask for help as I did not want my ‘list’ of ‘debt’ to get any greater.

What frustrates me and upsets me most of all is that there is no possible resolution in this situation because try as I have to explain things it either falls on deaf ears or she changes the subject or will throw the trump card: “I gave birth to you.” I can’t argue with that… so I stay silent and realise its easier to just go along with her.

But it hurts me.

Then she asks why she looks after missy once a week and my mother in law has her for 2 days (it’s really 1.5 days) – where do I go with that? That I don’t get a bigger a debt with you? That I hate asking you for anything as it is now? That it’s easier with my in laws because they have a stroller/car seat/toys and cot at their house that they’ve set up whereas at my mum she expects/asks/insist that I MUST purchase and leave all these things at her place because she has ‘no money’.

Don’t for one second underestimate my mum – she may seem like she ‘has no money’ and by no means is she ‘rolling in it’ but she is VERY smart with her money! We go out, she’ll suggest we go for lunch and ask me to pick a place that I know she’ll like (see; the way she makes it seem like I’m picking out the place?). Once we get to said place she’ll see what she wants and tell me what I should order for her then sits down… we go to her doctor’s appointment and she wants us to park close to hospital =but she never offers to pay for anything=, she wants to go away and visit family overseas and she’ll tell me how much the ticket is and then say “I’ll get the travel agent to call you and tell you ‘details’” (details = price); even on my birthday when she gets me a ‘gift’ it’s something I KNOW she’s already had at home. But she’ll say she has no money… and then proceeds to buy herself a band NEW car… only AFTER telling me that her friends daughter =allegedly= bought their mother a new car and asked her (the friend) that my mother should ask her daughter (me) to buy her a car. And even with this new car she doesn’t come to visit me on grounds of “it’s too far” because to my mum ANY place that is MORE than a 7 – 10 minutes’ drive away is WAY too far away (FYI: my house 15minutes drive from her place; the same distance it is from my in laws place!)

Don’t get me wrong, I am not resentful about the money; money comes and goes and she IS my mum and she HAS raised me all on her own. More than anything I am upset by the “cumulative-ness” of it all. Of all the expectation without warmth, with the total one-way street with no hesitation, with the fact that I seem to be a call centre officer to her so that all I am is the ‘fixer up-er”.

I am just so very emotionally tired and hurt by it all… but have to silently, stoically keep going and pretend that I am ok with ‘this’…

But she still doesn’t ask: “How are you?”

This time last year…

I CANNOT believe it is ALREADY October! October people… Where did the last year go? At the end of the month my lil cherub will be a year old… 1 YEAR OLD! It is maddeningly clichéd & scary how quickly time flies. It was this time last year I was having my last day at work and was nervous/hesitant/excited for the arrival of our little girl.

I remember the last 4 weeks of my pregnancy; I wasn’t that woman exclaiming “I’ve had ENOUGH, get this baby outta me!” but rather I think in the last 6 weeks I discovered that I LOVED being pregnant and having this human inside of me moving, playing, responding to my touch. I had so many melancholy moments where I wished I could keep her attached to me for ever… it was only really in the last week where I really felt huge, where going from a sitting position to standing required effort and I had to ‘hold’ the bottom of my belly if I stood up for too long.

I look at Amira now and I am amazed how fast she’s growing and am so hopeful for her and our lives together as a family. At the back of my mind there are so many fears that I have – will she realise how much I love her? Please let her be God-fearing, kind and good to her parents… will she realise the importance of education and constantly strive to better herself?

She’s 11 months now and I can already see little bits of personality shine through; how (for the most part) she is a pretty ‘cruisey’ child – she’s not fazed by much and is quite relaxed about most things; she’s not easily agitated and has always been placid. She’s an observer; when we get together for mothers group I notice how the other little girls are far more ‘rough and tumble’ – they attack toys and jump straight into ‘giving things a go’. Amira will watch them, observe then then decide from there. She’ll hold a toy and REALLY look at it; pass it from one hand to the other and then play with it. She seems to be a quiet, persistent achiever – I’ve noticed this on more than one occasion but it was never more evident than when she learned how to stand herself up against the sofa. She’s a happy baby but doesn’t laugh at everything – she makes you work for her laughter which I find so enduring.

Even as I type all that I can see her so clearly in my mind’s eye; as though I am in my living room and am watching her play with her toy Dora kitchen (and not sitting in my TV room while she’s sleeping for the night), I get all teary just thinking about how much I love her (I know, SO LAME!).

 

Post baby & your marriage

I just wanted to touch base very quickly – I promise to go into greater depth in the days to come… But what I will say is this:

Post baby your marriage changes.

Post baby I, the mother have a different set of priorities… What is important to you – to me as the mother can be vastly different to what your husband is thinking. And try as you may to explain things, you really can’t…

At the moments my thoughts are all over the shop… I’m tired, I’m a little frustrated & I’m beyond writing it all… I’ll get it all down soon… Promise

xx

Vanity post baby – A Changed Body

It’s now 9 weeks since the birth of my lil girl and whilst I’m trying not to think about it I cannot help but notice the changes that no one ever mentioned may happen! Don’t get me wrong – I knew I’d gain weight and I KNEW I’d have to put in work to get my stomach back into the shape it once was but there are other parts I am surprised about…

My ribcage… Strange huh but I SWEAR this has gotten bigger/wider; I tried on more than a few of my dresses & whilst the zipper got up halfway up my back there was no way it was budging around the rib area… And it’s not about fat as far as I can see! It makes me wonder if that means that even though I may lose my post baby belly I’ll now be a little “wider” in my dimensions!

My hips & ass… Now I knew my hips would get wider but I didn’t realize so too would my ass! The two things I AM grateful for about the increase in hip & ass size is that: (1) hubby actually likes the “hippy-er” me (go figure!) and (2) when I was going Zumba+gym+raw food crazy leading up to my wedding I’d actually lost quite a bit of “butt plump-ege” so now having it back ain’t SO bad!

But I don’t want to be that person who only laments and focuses on the negative… I KNOW that I’m only this way about my body because I AM my own worst critic and I was rather slim pre-baby, so this really is going to take some getting used to (with the changed shape) whilst I TRY to work it off! Anyway, as I said, there are other things that I am VERY grateful for; I literally slathered on the Bio Oil all through my pregnancy from 7weeks to 1 month after the birth all over my bust, stomach, thighs and butt (husband would constantly make fun of the post shower “oil slick”) and now, thank goodness I have not one stretch mark! And I did take my mums advice with not wearing heels (except for 1 dinner function and 1 engagement party) to avoid varicose veins – whilst I HATED not wearing heels to work (it was reeeaaalllyyy hard in the beginning before I looked obviously pregnant – I do so enjoy wearing heels) I am grateful to report that at no point did I experience seriously swollen feet or hands & I didn’t get any varicose veins!

And let’s not forget the most absolutely amazing gift of all that I now have: my beautiful Amira! She amazes me and humbles me on SO many levels… I love her beyond words, she is my soul – I truly feel my heart beats for her…

The baby that won’t sleep

What’s happened to my baby? She’s now eight weeks and the last two days have been chaotic!

I blame the “festive” season & the heat here in Aussieland… Our place sadly has no air-conditioning; which seemed an ok money saver when we were building but now we’re in the house & summer has arrived it has NOT been fun for hubby (strangely I deal better with the heat – hubby is certain this is because of my “desert people” heritage!) and now with baby I must admit I feel terrible for her… Especially since she can’t seem to get a decent sleep unless she’s swaddled (have you tried to swaddle a baby in 40degree Celsius heat?).

So, back to the baby – for the last week any semblance of “routine” has been thrown out the window… Hubby’s been off from work & likes to go out so that already affects lil Amira’s routine with me, then there was Christmas day (+night) at my inlaws which meant a SERIOUS disturbance to her sleep structure… Then boxing day at my mothers then dinner that night at the inlaws, then there were other get togethers we had to attend & let’s not get me started on the new years+birthday party we had to attend…

And now I am back at square one again I feel… With a baby who I’ll have to go through the “cry it out” method for a bit as over the last week she’s been molly- coddled by everyone who goes “Ooohhh isn’t she cute?” and wants to touch & hold… *sigh*

Then yesterday I noticed that getting her down in the daytime was beginning to NOT happen… Like, three quarters of the day from 9am to 8pm was spent with her being awake… Is this normal? Shouldn’t she be sleeping more? Isn’t that why they say it’s ‘eat, play + sleep’ not eat, play, eat, play etc… Seriously it’s enough to make me run from the house in frustration! To make me really test my patience my mum will continuously call me during the day… At first I tried answering each call – thinking that maybe if I DID speak to her once a day she’d be satisfied, but then she’d be like “oh, I’ll talk to you later on this afternoon ok?” to “come over again tomorrow with the baby…” to “why don’t you & the baby sleep over sometime” to her wanting to talk to me 3-4 times during the day… I mean what ELSE is there to talk about? And just because I’m officially not at work doesn’t mean I have nothing to do – I have a bloody newborn baby to contend with!

So – if anyone has any advice or hope for me; especially in relation to daytime no sleeping baby I would VERY MUCH appreciate it!

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