The working mother = The guilty parent…

This parenting and working caper, I feel is such an insidious game on the emotions. It creates a barrage of guilt and emotions and I feel it either too difficult or far too irrational to explain to hubby.

How do I explain that it pains me so that it has been SO long since missy has called me mama. That her first word was mama and was music to my ears; all through our holiday it was two weeks of “mama, mamamamama… mama!” and now nothing unless she’s hurt herself. Sh’s saying SO many other new words… but no mama. 

On the days I am not working we have such fun together, we laugh, we play, we eat together – we get stuff done. She is my entire world – I adore her beyond words, but it breaks me inside when she wants to go to others in the family and doesn’t seemed particularly fazed when I go to pick her up…

 

I am sure (sort of) that is a just a phase (hopefully) – any thoughts people? 

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WHERE did my fitness go?

After a long hiatus called child bearing+birthing+rearing I have bitten the bullet and re-joined the gym. It has been something that I have been SERIOUSLLY ‘umm-ing’ and mulling over for the last 6 months! Yep – I know that sounds like a LONG time to make a decision but really I could not justify the payments. I mean, I AM earning less these days (as I am not at work fulltime at the moment) and after we pay for all the necessities + baby needs and a few little bits and pieces for myself (nowhere near as many “bits & pieces” I used to get myself) I just DON’T have the heart to ask hubby to pay for gym membership too. So alas my fitness came a close second to new clothes and I elected to not join… until now.

After MUCH thought I decided that I really, really AM not liking my body the way it is since I had lil missy. Don’t get me wrong – I know that I am really fortunate and am grateful that whilst my body has changed, I haven’t put on that much weight but I literally HATE my midsection – I DISPISE how ‘thick’ I feel I am in the tummy region. I know that I am my own worst critic – hubby is often telling me to not be so hard on myself; that I look great (bless him) and that I need to realise that I am going to look different as I have had a baby but I can’t help it. I think its worse because I was little pre-pregnancy so that now when I see how things have changed I seriously beat myself up about it.

But anyway – here we are; baby almost a year old and I have finally joined a gym near my place. Don’t get me wrong; I really liked Fernwood (my old gym) fitness, but I needed to go to a gym that was:
A) Closer to home
B) Cheaper
C) Cheaper
So I joined Bailey’s Fitness; So far they seem ok – I needed something that had classes as whilst I don’t mind jumping on a treadmill/bike/other equipment, I really do enjoy going to classes….

Usually…

I went to my first ‘not-really-my-first’ Zumba class on Saturday morning. I left hubby with a sleeping baby and instructions for when she wakes up.
Oh
MY
GOODNESS!

WHERE, WHERE did my fitness go? WHERE?

I’d been doing quite a few (read: A LOT!) pelvic floor exercises post baby and had been pretty happy with the results until I realised by the end of the warm up ‘jumpathon’ that I was about ready to wet myself! Thankfully all went ok in that area by the end of the class, however after the hour I was beginning to think an angina was imminent. Let’s not even get me started on how unco-ordinated I was through the whole class! It’s as though lil missy took all my rhythm – VERY sad! Especially when I think about how much rhythm and co-ordination I usually have! i used to be able to dance the night away; do a Zumba class AND then head over and do 45 minutes worth of cardio. Really, if i wasn’t at the back of the class wheezing in agony i would have cried! I am hoping that this ‘issue’ is short term and that once I get through a couple classes I’ll get my groove back and not look so tragic!

One can only hope…

In the meantime I woke up Sunday with sore hamstrings and very tender arms! AND I have a personal training session tomorrow (Wednesday) morning – EEEKK! If I thought I was nervous for Zumba I am even more nervous for this PT session as there will seriously be no place to hide!

Wish me luck people….

I need to tell you something…

I had intentions to pop photos from the family Bali adventure here last week – but its been a horrendous and thought provoking fortnight to say the least.

before leaving for Bali (like, the DAY before) Mr A and i discovered that i was a few weeks pregnant. We were so happy – seriously; Mr A cannot wait to be a dad! And whilst there was a part of me that was like “oh my GOD – i am now TOTALLY an adult!!” i was gracious and loving the thought that Mr A and i would be bringing a child into this world. we started planning, hoping and loving….

And then when we returned and i went back to work everything started getting back to normal – i hated that i could see that i was beginning to gain weight (read: my skinny leg jeans were beginning to show a slight muffin top!) but that it was not obviously a baby belly (yet); we told the family and friends – we booked our first ultrasound to hear the heartbeat on my birthday – as that was scheduled to be our 12th week….

on the tuesday before my birthday (10 may) at 4.15am Mr A rushed me to hospital… because i was miscarrying.

i had thought about not telling you all – as though none of this had happened at all… but i can’t do it. i am not one for denial – maybe i am built that way because all my mum does IS deny things that upset her… but i am different – i always have been one to look the pain, the sorrow and frustration in the eye and then build from there… that through sorrow comes adversity

it has been the most painful experience i have ever been through in my life – in more ways than one. The bleeding is beyond anything i could have ever imagined… the pain and above all the fear – the fear that i had this beautiful life inside of me that i was falling inlove with, that was a part of me and a part of Mr A – that we had helped to create was leaving me… that everything, every painful millisecond was far, far from my control.

Even as i type this i am humbled by the experience – we were hoping to start a family this year but even we did not anticipate that it would happen so soon… it is said that Allah only gives us the challenges that he knows that we can endure – we will be ok inshallah

i am SO grateful to Mr A – to his parents; his mum came to visit me at the hospital before i went into surgery for my DNC. For Mr A being a star and not leaving my side through each and every moment – i cannot imagine how he felt watching it all… an then taking me home only to have to call an ambulance to get me back to hospital because i had passed out bleeding on the bathroom floor… i am beyond grateful that i have him in my life.

i felt i needed to tell you – that while i have some readers that comment and others that don’t; i feel in some ways that i had some obligation to tell you what’s been happening… so that’s that then…. onward and upward?

Not quite feeling myself this week…

I haven’t written in awhile – it’s not really that there’s not much been much happening but rather that the stuff that has been happening I think you would all find boring; its all wedding party stuff really:

Trying to source a wedding cake: My hot tip is to not do too many bookings on the one day – eating cake samples every 2nd hour does not clense the palate and DOES interfere with the weight that one is desperately trying to lose!

Dress fittings: I had my calico one today and am amazed at how cold it was standing in a room in all but a calico dress. I think I handled the whole pinning situation rather well and must give props to the designers assistant who did not prick me once!

Bridesmaid issues – actually there certainly IS a story there… forget being a bridezilla – I have a covert bridesmaid-zilla… and I personally do NOT think she is very covert about her ‘diva-ness’!

But all the above is sort of the least of my worries as I battle to understnad why I have been feeling rather ‘funny’ and ‘weird’ lately – I have no idea how to actually define or describe how I’m feeling but its a little “off” to how I am normally feeling – Mr A has noticed and keeps asking me “what’s wrong?” and “have I done something to upset you?” and more often “what can I do to make my princess smile?” Bless him greatly for trying – i appreciate it beyond comprehension! I’ll be ok for a little while and then I am back to this ‘funk’!

Then there’s me thinking about having to get mum’s tickets organised; oh yes did I forget to mention? Mum apparently wants to head off to Indonesia and possibly UAE for Eid this year and is hoping to head off on the 3rd of September. She very diplomatically (not) asked about how once she’d found the best price and got the dates sorted how “we” were going to pay for it – which was clearly mum’s way of saying “how and are YOU going to pay for this?”. I told her how her last years trip cost me a bit as she had wanted an open ticket that would be valid for a year and did not want to travel something like Virgin/Air Asia/Tiger (read: budget airline) that this meant the tickets were a little bit of a pretty penny (which really makes me wonder why when she paid for her own tickets JetStar was more than sufficient but since I had to pay somehow JetStar was now far too inferior!). Anyway, i said that based on last years costs i was happy to pay half that amount… Well, she’s done her research and organised her ticket to be a one year open ticket (like last time) where she still has to put in some rnadom return date (she has selected 03/03/2011) and she leaves on the afternoon of September third – oh and apparently the travel agent has emailed me the details and I am paying for her ticket – ALL of it.

Don’t get me wrong; this isn’t really a blog post about me lamenting that I am having to pay for the ticket. I worked out a long time ago that I am definately great at driving her places, paying bills, fixing ‘stuff’ and organising appointments. What upsets me is that i am having to “suck up” that this beyond a one way street – that i am not a complete moron to have not noticed that she is conviently away just prior my wedding party and a whole shitload of time after. I am come to realise that i have no idea about anything when it comes to my mother –  that even as i am typing this i am ranting! In some ways I more than expect it (this ‘situation’) and am happy to claim it as my duty as a Muslim daughter – i mean some people would claim that as a Muslim child my job is to “shut up and put up” and to remember that as she is the mother her word is gold – her requests should be met with nothing more than ‘yes mother’ – but i ask these people: where and when is the line drawn? I am NOT talking about retribution or being vengeful or rude, but rather at what point do i continue to take the ALL of THIS???????  Would a simple ‘thank you’ would go astray. Plus, whilst I am pre-programmed that this is how it has to be I don’t understand how my mum must think that it is more than ok to say what she wants, expect the earth and still its never enough  

Before you quip that that perhaps i should remind her that this means (her departure + return dates) she will not be here for my wedding party – believe me I know and i did remind her! I spoke to her about it the other morning; the conversation entailed her asking me if I had already paid for her ticket (*sigh*) – I told her that I was paying for it on Thursday (today). And her asking if I would come to Indonesia with her? I told that I was very sorry but that I wouldn’t be able to come with her – she then went on about how the family would LOVE to see me as they did not see me on the last trip she went on. I went on to telling her that I was not able to come as surely she must remember that i mentioned my wedding party was on the 30th of October – her answer was so eloquently put mashallah:

“I don’t care about your wedding – I want you to come with me…”

I must say that although I knew that she probably would not be at the party and that I more than realise her stance and her denial on the subject matter that is Mr A and I, that hearing this statement has hurt more than all the denial and other stuff she’s said in passing. I can’t quite put my finger on why though – perhaps its because that while she was putting her head in the sand i could rationalise to myself that she doesn’t really comrehend what i am doing – that she is just lost by this whole situation. But the fact that she is able to very clearly articulate that she DOESN’T care is such a slap in the face that as a daughter my role is to care and provide but that i should not expect the same in return. Perhaps this really hurts because its just one more hurtful thing that she’s said that i have to sit there and take. 

After that little comment she proceeded to make other little jibes comments that again, i sit there and listen to whick led me to sit there and pray for more patience – it is beyond words to just sit there and hear that sort of statement and never be able to say anything back – because as a daughter my role is to be patient; to listen; to not utter a bad word that would upset her (God only knows I upset her enough), to remember that she raised me and that in her way she is trying to do what’s best for me, that I am to respectfully sit there… and take the verbal slings and arrows with silent prayers and deep breaths I silently sat there listening to her say:

“No one loves you like me – I am your mother and I am the only person in this world who really loves you. everyone else is just lying – its ALL camouflage; one day you see – there is only me; everyone else is just pretending… ”

I tried to stop listening at that point – I am sure you catch my drift. We said our goodbyes and I got off the phone not long after that. I sat there next to Mr A (he was driving us to work) thanking Allah that I somehow ended up a rather well adjusted human being and that it truly is by the grace of God that, when I think about all the f#$ked up crap I had to endure with my dad and then with they way my mum behaves and says in the last ten-ish years that I did not end up a mentally screwed individual!

A few minutes after I get off the phone Mr A then turns to me and asks; “everything ok?”

My answer?  “Fine sweetie – i love you…”

He knows me so well and touches my knee, smiling he tells me he loves me too – SOOOOO much (he says).

 I mean really – what is there to say?

While i was away…

My mum came into my office to see me on Friday 30/04/2010 (I left Friday afternoon but had taken the Thursday off to pack and make sure that all things like holiday insurance, etc were sorted!). I spoke to her on the Saturday to tell her that I was away – to NO avail! Upon trying to tell her she cut me off telling me that she did not want to hear anything that would make her have a car accident (as she was in the car). so I didn’t tell her…

The first week went by and I called her on the Wednesday as apparently she had come into my office on the Tuesday to give me my early birthday present. I told that although I was thankful that she had gotten me something, that all I had wanted (as I had previously told her) was for her to finally accept my decision and accept Mr A. She responded with her usual reference to satan (aka Mr A) and not accepting him. I got off the phone to her and told Mr A that I had still not told her –  he called me chicken poo and told me that I needed to call her back and just tell her…

I called a few days later – mother’s day evening (from outside Discovery Mall, Bali) and listened to her tell me about her problems, what she needed and what I must do for her when I come over, about her doctor’s appointment in July, about how no one had come to visit her on mother’s day, etc – I cut her off and told her that I could not talk to her for very long as the call would cost a small fortune from Bali and that I WAS calling to wish her a happy mother’s day.

I then had to hear her go on about how she thought I was going to Jakarta – I told that I had said to her that Mr A and I were intending to go to Indonesia, I never stated which part! She then went on (and on) about how Bali is predominantly not Muslim and why would I go to where there are no Muslims? I told her that there were Muslims everywhere; that a lot of Muslims come to Bali – that in fact she used to live there! She commented that thi was before she went for haj and that I should know better – that who knows what food I was eating. I said to her that I think she forgets that I speak nearly fluent Indonesian and that I know exactly what meat we are eating! I told her AGAIN that I had previously already told her to stop coming into my office as it undermines my professionalism and makes me looks bad. I got off the phone feeling terrible, frustrated and annoyed and wanting to take photos of the many Hijabi’s and Arabs I saw and send copies of them all to my mum.

I heard nothing from her on my second week.

I didn’t call her at all…

I returned (to Aussie-land) on Friday afternoon and did not tell her.

I spent all weekend doing my own thing and was blissfully happy at the fact that I did not have one single missed call from her (I normally have her call me often) – that when my phone did ring I wasn’t all anxious or distraught about the imminent guilt trip my mm would dish out to me.

I returned to work on Monday and discover that my mum (after talking to me and finding out that I was in Bali) had come into my office 2 more times; one of which was on Thursday to find out when I was coming back – the guy on reception did not know and told her that he was not sure when I was returning.

The irony is that on Sunday Mr A and I sat on the sofa watching a DVD with him telling me that maybe I should visit my mum – tell her that I’ve come back and that I’m ok. The shocking thing is that even after being away from her and not going to see her since January (aside from the times she has seen in my office) I don’t want to see her. I am not angry with her, not at all. I am just tired of it all… SO beyond tired of the repetitive crap that she keeps giving me; the same comments, the same tears and the same emotional intensity that makes me want to move across the country/change jobs/change my number, etc.

But even in saying/writing the above paragraph there is another part of me that wonders why I haven’t heard from her in about a week. A part of me that says a prayer for her hoping that she is ok and hoping that Allah opens her heart to accepting me as I am and the decisions that I have made. And then there is this part of me that wants to call her – not to have a conversation with her as I know that that is unlikely but rather just to hear her voice (sans lamentations) just to know that she’s ok.

But THEN I am overcome with curiosity and against my better judgement I read the birthday card she gave me. Why do I bother? Sentences not particularly worth mentioning include:

“So sad that someone forgot my birthday last time or not ring me – maybe not allowed to send me anything – I know Satan is very strong in your place”

Numerous references to about me and “latnatallah” (it’s a muslim thing that I cannot really explain)

“what you are doing is a big sin and Allah will teach you a lesson”

Comments about how she will be patient and wait for me to come home as God loves those that are patient

That she is my real mother and cannot believe that I am doing this and why won’t I just come home?

Mum had also included some story about how some friend of mine (when I was 14; she was 17 and had a car) took me out and we went to Fremantle and to the beach and that when we came back home late she was really angry/upset and told me that I was not allowed to talk to her anymore and how now look at her life? How she is still single (as far as mum knows) and that she cannot be happy as she lives away from parents etc.

Really – why do I bother? What else can I do to make this stop? I am really beginning to get tired of this; I am beyond frustrated of all of this… I don’t know what else to do – worst yet is that I am baffled by how she seems to still have this way of getting to me? of making me question what I am doing… and with each word that I read and morosely re-read I feel numb, more empty and more resolute at my not wanting to see her. I just want to keep walking; I want to move – I want her to move.

I tried… whilst I was away I told her that we were thinking of coming back to Indonesia in January; that she could go to Jakarta if she liked… she said that she wanted to go to Jakarta in January as long as I went with her… I told her that if she went then that we would visit her – she said she didn’t care about anyone else and that she just wanted to go with me.

My mum – the QUEEN of guilt!

I spoke to my mum last night. I can’t explain how gut-wrenching it is. How there is a largest part of me that is certain that what I am doing is purely a last resort… but then she gets to me. Makes me feel terrible – as though that because I am doing what she wants me to do I certainly not pleasing my mother and therefore going to hell.

Isn’t that just beyond words? Just seeing that typed there makes me feel anxious and overwhelmed. At what stage does a Muslim mother need to step off the methodology of enforcing obedience and commence some sort of acceptance?

I see Mr A and I am beyond grateful of having him in my life – of having someone who gets me and understands me. Who loves me and expects nothing more than to make me happy – how I think sometimes he doesn’t listen to me in when I natter about Islam and yet later on down the track proves me wrong by coming out with concepts of Islam. He amazes me – and yet my mum can’t accept this.

Yesterday I got some insight into mum – how she thinks that if she stays strong in her resolution to oppose this that somehow I’ll change my mind. I am shocked by things – that she thinks I would just change my mind? Like I’d just walk through the door and say “oops, I made a mistake but I’m back now and all is well” really? What kind of fantasy-land is that? She says that since she’s gone to Hajj that Allah has given her more strength. I perturbed – I don’t know what to say anymore; she’s has an uncanny knack for making doubt things – she says that one of my cousins (who I confide in) may say one thing to me but that they cannot believe I’ve done this – that to her I am appalling… and I don’t know what to say. Is my mum trying to make me second guess Fifi? Would she say that?

I hate it – I hate how when I don’t call her for a couple days I want to check up on her and make sure she’s ok. I want to touch base. But then when I do talk/listen to her I wan to get off the phone ASAP and hate how I feel afterwards. I think about how it’s been like this for years – how its not really because of Mr A. that our dysfunction has been here a looonnngg time; but she doesn’t see any of that – she doesn’t see all the times I lied saying I was on campus (at uni) when my classes were really only 4 times a week. She doesn’t see all the days off I took from work but pretended to have training days, all the times my uni days seem to stretch on for longer than they needed to be so I wouldn’t have to home til later; how I would actually purposely choose tutorials at 8.30am and then another tutorial at 4.30pm on the same day so that I would need to be on the 6.30am bus to get to campus 20 minutes before the tutorial and be home by about 7pm. She doesn’t see the countless journal entries where all I wanted was a way out. The way I wouldn’t let her pay for anything that I wanted or needed for h\fear of having hear her say “but I did this and this for you – all I ask is that you do that and that”.

But then she doesn’t see all the Arabic guys who have been interested in me but fled when they truly realised how intense my mum is. How the ones that didn’t care were nerdy idiots that could string an intelligible conversation together past “what did you have for dinner?” that my mum thought sweet and kind that I would sooner remain a spinster that marry – but because they came from a good family who cared that what they looked like or that we didn’t get along. She doesn’t see how Mr M was disappointed that he couldn’t spend time with me when I was over there and I was hoping things to progress because she stifled him by expecting him to ask for my hand then and there.

I am torn. I have no idea what to say or do for my mum anymore.

Mr A is great though – he tells me that he’s here for me; that he’ll do whatever I need him to do. That I am his princess.

Wednesday Dinner

So normally since I’ve moved out from mum’s place I will go to her house for dinner on the Wednesday. On this night I will be forced to eat til busting capacity, contend with menial tasks that my mum has saved for me to do (which I admit in the grand scheme of things I seriously cannot be bothered with), have to hear consistent lamentations about a distinct constant ‘lack’ of money coupled with the ever mounting bills along with how much I am being “driven” away from her by ‘that man’.

Last night when I was dealing with the chaotic mayhem involved with dark, rainy and windy rain + peak hour traffic + the maddening inability people seem to have to merge lanes properly I was on the phone with mum (with my hands-free of course). So there I was; up until that call all calm and serene, happy with the fact that I was going to have a gloriously cooked dinner at Mr A’s place (his mum slow cooked lamb shanks – yum) then go to the movies to watch The Year One movie (starring Jack Black). So I’m on the phone to mum asking her how her day went and I must admit that I cannot remember the whole conversation but I began to get pained, frustrated by what she was saying; even more so that I have been silenced into not responding to her ‘claims’ – I looked at the silver Toyota Kluger in front of me and for some morose sickening reason I desperately felt an overwhelming urge to drive into it… fast… HARD!

I was listening to what she was saying; how when I tried to interject how she had misinterpreted things I was told to listen to what she had to say – that she didn’t want to argue with me but that I was being driven away from her by Mr A; that he had made me leave her and that I was being taken away from her.

Ugh – there was a few other things but with each word was getting more and more frustrated at the futility of this all – they way my mum will not talk to family members about my engagement as its “none of their business” but tis more than happy to rain hail guilt at me but if I attempt to respond I made to feel like a worse daughter than I already am.

I told her ‘goodnight’ – I said to her that I was busy (I was – I was driving). I wasn’t going to talk to someone who doesn’t let me talk at all (and then when I do talk refuses to listen) and that I was tired of going over the same old ground without making any progress.

I got off the phone feeling TIRED. And ANNOYED… with myself for letting her get to me! for allowing her behaviour to make me feel tired and drained and frustrated and terrible and making me feel like I did want to drive over the narrows bridge.

But I didn’t (obviously).

ALL night I felt like I seriously would rather do anything else instead of having dinner/go see mum the following night (Wednesday/tonight). the missed calls from her at 8pm, then 10.30pm and then again at 1.45am and 4.45am did nothing to quell my feelings. I woke up this morning and although the feeling had slightly subsided (so that thoughts of driving off a bridge were no longer at the forefront of my mind) the thought of spending Wednesday night with my mum filled me with a heavy sigh…

Then I went to work and got a missed from her… and another missed call. I called her back;

It was about a water bill – why were they sending her a letter? What is it about? Let me read it to you so you can call them and fix it. I cannot do this – I have too many bills. My phone bill too high. I am stressed.

Yep – because I have no bills, and I am totally stress free. And why don’t you sit down and relax and then read the letter? Why do you assume the worst? Maybe if you stopped calling overseas so much then your phone bill wouldn’t be so high? Umm – do you know that this is not categorically thought of as an emergency and therefore does not warrant you calling me at work…

*HUGE deep sigh* So I take the number for the water corp. and her reference number and sort it out… for her and tell her I’ll call her back. And I discover that she did not pay the bill and that it’s a notice as it’s a bit late.

Yet another thing for me to do.

Yet another thing that she will not be thankful for because it will be assumed that doing these things are my responsibilities. That I am here to fix and pay for this stuff and that heaven help me if I bring it up to her that essentially she’s the parent and it is her responsibility but to her its not because she gave birth to me and that therefore everything that happens since that and her raising me is what I should be doing (sorry; I’m ranting).

So I call her and tell her that I am not coming tonight for dinner because I am not the happiest person to be around at the moment; that I am tired of the way she assumes the worst about Mr A (when really a major factor I keep trying to reconcile with her is because Mr A tells me to because if I had my way I’d have lied and told her I’ve moved to the UK or something) and that although she says she won’t mentions anything I am still tired of it all and that I will call her later on that night… oh AND that I’ll be paying this bill (too) along with the insurance for the house I don’t reside in anymore.

Then 2 hours later she calls me… and calls again.

So I call her back as it could be an emergency – but its not. its her telling me that she’s stuck in front of the supermarket as she decided to walk there and that now its pelting down with rain and that she was calling me to tell me not that she expected me to pick her up. And when I tell her that I wouldn’t be able to pick her up anyway (because I’m at work) she said that she knew that and that she was just telling me because she was all alone and that it was wet. *sigh*

And even as I write this I see one missed call that I just got from her…

And even though I am filled with this feeling that knows that going to see her tonight is a terrible idea based on my mood I still feel like I am a terrible shit of a daughter who is killing her mother.

Guilt is a strange creature…

Guilt is sadly my shadow…

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