Our Sentiments

Mothering and Life in General

Tag Archives: Frustration

A Letter To My Daughter,

Dearest Lil Miss,

We have been on some rocky road lately, you seem to try out everything in your power to make my brain try to escape my skull. You have listened to my direction and done everything but. We have shared screaming matches, anger fits, and heartfelt tears. Yes, it’s been a rough road. Dreadful, actually. It was until yesterday, that we finally connected the way we used too. I want to document this moment to you, so we both don’t forget.

I was on the phone with a friend, we were discussing about the TIME cover and how her, not being a nursing mother, took it as they were mocking us mothers who nurse  an older child. I explained to my friend, while I was actually nursing you, that I loved the picture. To me, every picture tells a story, and I have yet to find a nursing picture that I have not liked. It reminded me of the nursing acrobats that toddlers do. I just try really hard to not look past the picture, because the wording takes a cut to every mother, nursing or not. And how unnatural the poise was, but moving on.

Flashes of memories came back in my mind. So many that brings a smile to my face.  Remembering them again, as you sat contentedly on my lap, soaking in every word – remembering too, as I retell the stories. The way you used to curl your legs around my neck so you upside down, times I woke up in the morning with you nursing the other way. That one priceless time when I was typing up a Daycare recipe and you snuck a chair behind mine, leaned over, pulled up my shirt and latched. All good memories.

After I hung up the phone you said to me, “Momma, I want to be a baby again”. It broke my heart, because now I heard what you meant. I have heard you many times in the past year on how you want to go back to being a baby, and I just thought that you just ‘wanted to go back to being a baby’ to do baby things. I never knew you felt what I was feeling.

With me being so stressed out and drained from life experiences and trying to get me back. I have lost so much of what my goal is with being a mother. I am constantly tied with feeling that I should not be mad at a child I was lucky to have, to teaching this child the basics to becoming better than me in adulthood. I pass through life with so much thought on what not to do, that I forget that you are the only person that just wants me. That in of itself is taxing, but it’s what I signed up for.

I usually replied to your statement with, “Well, babies don’t do this or that”. But yesterday I guess I was on the ball a bit more. I heard that you want us back, just like I do. That you feel lost, and that you miss how we connected and even though I try so hard everyday to give you and teach you that where we were a year ago is not normal, I lost my humor and my affection. I’ve put my attention to all the things you might have seen and heard and trying to undo them, that stopped what I started when you were born. Lil Miss, I heard you last night. And I feel the same way.

We both stared at the TIME cover and smiled as “Are you Mom enough?” glared at me on the side. I answered the question with, no I wasn’t. This time not out of guilt, but out of reality. I have not been Mom enough. By being Mom enough is not being the mom that everyone else thinks you should be, it’s about being enough Mom for your child. And I have not been.

I want you to know that I will always love your baby, toddler and preschooler days, but I will also love your school days too. They are not finished yet and sometimes I am grateful for it. I will reflect on our yesterdays, because back then I have all the answers now, today – not so much. I don’t want to do anything wrong emotionally to you, and I want to keep my promise to you. I will not intentionally make you feel the way I have felt growing up.

Just because I look back and sometimes I wish to rewind time. It’s not because today is a drag and I don’t want to continue, it’s because there are moments I should have lingered longer and I didn’t. Other times those moments also make me understand today and appreciate it more.

We continued to look at this cover, I think and feel the same as I always have. Nursing is the only way we could have bonded and maintained that bond for as long as we do. Nursing always makes us come back, whether it’s the act, memory, or looking at a picture and talking about it. We will always have that to remind us that its us in this world together, and I have your back. Nursing, even when we are not, will be our door to put down any hurt form the day and tie another rope around our hearts, just in case the last rope frayed a little bit.

I went into mothering remembering my first memory – of me and my cowgirl boots at 2. I don’t remember being happy, I just remember it. Nothing of the memory brings any feelings and the rest of my childhood, brings a lot of anxiety and rage. I wanted to give you something more. I knew in the NICU, nursing was the ONLY way to hold you, so it become important to me. When you arrived home nursing became the only thing that would make you stop crying, which became important to me. As you entered toddlerhood, it was a time where we would learn things together, new words or just be – together, so it became important  to me. As you entered preschool it became the only time that you stop your fits, and that became important to me.

And now, you’re going to school. You are five. You can tell me stories of different times we nursed and where. You remember us sitting together on a park bench, counting the birds that flew by. You would see babies being nursed at the mall and smile. You will happily tell the nursing mom that you are nursed and you remember. You remembering being nursed, has always been important to me. You will be more “Mom Enough” than I would because you will remember nursing as you are nursing your own. The cycle will be fully complete than. The way that nature intended. And you will come to days and moments where you want to pull out your hair, then see something on a cover to ask you if you are “Mom enough” and you will get mad, because silently you will answer no.

But except for being alone, like me, you will have me to tell you that only you can define what is enough. You just have to be that, and if it’s guilt you feel, find out why and change what you can. What you can’t change in your life, support someone else who comes after you. Most importantly, always raise your children to be better than you ever were. Because that is the only feeling of ‘enough’ we will ever have.

And never forget, you are the best at everything you do, because only you can do it the way you do. Underneath all my worries and deep dark fears, I hope you will see I had and will always have the best of intentions.

So I Am A Statistic…

This a warning of physical abuse and violence is the topic of this entry. This might be a trigger for some readers, so feel free and use your discretion. As with everything I write, it’s not the entire story, it would be way too long. So I tell what I can and what I feel is important and respect your reading eyes as much as I can.

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To shed a bit of light on a bit of who ‘Our Sentiments’ is, I would like to open you up to something that has eaten me for more than 10 years. What haunts and frustrates me the most in my adult life is the fact that I am just another number, just another damn statistic. Now, I don’t know if one would include me among the 360,000 ‘children’ who witnesses abuse, since it was not my father and I did not grow up in a physically abusive home like these children. But I know that I am included somewhere in this fact.

My mother stays with and loves a man who I have seen the after maths of his handy work, twice. I have been on the other end of the phone talking to a broken down women, who once was my mother. I don’t know her now, nor do I understand her. I try, but I can’t, maybe it’s more like I wont? It’s not just the, ‘Why don’t you just leave?’ even though that is on my mind and the first thing I think of when I hear stories of the abuse. But I can’t understand her, because she raised us differently; NO person has the right to touch another in a violent way, no excuse and absolutely no forgiveness.

For well over 10 years and counting she has not only been with this man, but have put herself into harm. She has done things I know in a normal mind frame she would be ashamed of. But what I want to blow of steam about is my choice to put boundaries up and have her excluded from my life in a great deal. Some might think, “Well, Our Sentiments, it’s your mother and you need to help her, she needs it!” I have, but I can only do so much.

The breaking point was when my grown adult mother lied to us, received shelter for abused women, had a restraining order, was charged for defending herself, had us (my sister, DH and myself) over anytime she needed, had my sister and I feared for our lives, and to find out she was still seeing him! He stalked her, stalked me, and ended up waiting for me in the parking lot of my place of work. Do you know how embarrassed I was to tell my boss about what was really happening? He, of course, drove me home and I was safe. But it should not have been like this.

It began when I was 19… 19 and I was scared, I could not imagine how a child living in that environment would feel. At least I was lucky because I did not live with them. They were on their own, but hearing the stories, seeing her at the hospital and feeling helpless, is something I can never forget. It was like I was in a twilight zone, that this is not real, that I will wake up and everything will be our dysfunctional norm again. I still wait…

It was a year before I  became pregnant that I found out about my mother’s lies; that he was not gone. That he was coming in after we left, it was a joke, or at least seemed to be. Now he has it all, a one bedroom apartment and a shell of woman to control. Of course I am still, to him, spoiled rotten child who is ungrateful. She knew damn well that if the courts found out she breached the mutual restraining order that she could be jailed (again). But she loves him, people make mistakes, he says he will change, how dare I judge and you don’t know until you walk the walk.

I felt stupid, helpless, and betrayed. I helped this woman, who was my mother. Took days off of work because she had to be chaperoned, and almost loosing my job, my sister almost got kicked out of school for the same reason. We stopped living our lives, dropped everything to be at her needs, when she needed it. And she goes behind our back and sees him all this time saying she needs the help and still knowing very well we lived in fear. This knife dug a little deeper, this knife will stay.

It’s been over five years since I have been at her home. She can come here without him, with boundaries like not saying his name or looking like she is abused (marks, bruises, cuts…). Not because I think it should be hidden, I don’t; but because I don’t want our daughter to witness this, she is only 3, she deserves more and I don’t want her to think this is okay. What bothers me is the periodic phone calls that, years ago would leave me guilty, that now leaves me with the “how dare you” disgust.

It’s these calls that she states that I created this distance and the time can never be taken back. That if she had us girls that she would not have gone back with him. She hates the fact she can’t see our daughter, which is farther from the truth, and our daughter will never see her home. She will state clearly to me that I lack the daughter role and I am a disappointment to her. But what inferiorates me, is I don’t give a shit. I turned hard and cold. To be quite frank, for more than 10 years I have waited for that call. The call that states she is in a bag and that I have to try to identify her.

I have tried so many things with no avail. I feel it’s a loosing battle if she just can’t help herself. I know that people is these situations need their family, but what if you have a young family of your own that needs you more? I have listened to her as my heart pounds, I have helped move her into the home she was safe in. I did errands so she would not worry about bumping into him. I have even tried to commit her. You might have thought something not listed, believe I’ve done it or tried. You can’t lock up a free will. She can choose to go back or in her case never really leave.

It gets me mad that I could not save her. That I was not more to her. That she is no longer my mother. I get envious of friends who have mothers they can turn too, that can help them. I have no mother, I am a motherless child, my mother is gone and all that is left is a hollow eyed look-alike. I fear that I will be or do the same to our daughter. I fear so much. But I also hate even more.

I can’t imagine how children feel growing up in a home with abuse happening around them. Where they hear cracking of skin and the gurgles of someone being choked. It happens every minute, where a child sees this, and they feel powerless too. I am adult looking from the outside, but I am also her child seeing this for the first time. It’s my mom and I am just as weak as a child to help, to fight off and defend. I seen where her head met the bricks and the welts and bruises but it can not be fixed. A hug can not fix, and being around becomes enabling.

I am the adult, but I am also a child. It’s said that 36,840 children seek refuge of our Canadian Shelters, but there is no shelter for us, the adult children, who are forced to look from the sidelines. All we can do is hope for the best, protect our own children, be ‘there’ but put barriers up, stand our ground, and pray we don’t get the call. Because you just know you will get that call. It’s just a matter of time.

Knock, I Dare You!

Don’t you just love it when you are rocking your child in the chair and you hear a knock at the door? Of course your child just closed their eyes, but not quite there yet, to place them down without crying. Many thoughts go through your head. Is that someone I know? WAS I expecting someone I know to come over? Meanwhile your baby/child is in your arms and the knocks are getting louder. So you sigh, with your child still nursing and cradled in your arms, you go to the door to open it. Only to find out it’s someone you DIDN’T know, and was NOT expecting; wanting to sell you something or for you to donate something. Now your child is awake and ready to take on the world. But you know that would have happened anyways, if you did not answer the door. Because somehow they KNOW you’re inside, not wanting to answer so they knock LOUDER (like you did not hear them the first time).

So here is what I am thinking on pinning on the door (please note I live in an apartment building so this happens A LOT).

NO SOLICITING:

If you are unsure if this message applies to you please read the following:

Childcare inquires:
If you are inquiring about childcare, I do have openings for your child or children. I prefer to arrange meetings when the daycare is closed, however I will be willing to accommodate you if needed. I do have an ad in the laundry room with my contact information.

Service Providers:
If you work for a service provider I am happy to say that my current service provider is fully servicing my needs (of course customer service always needs room to improve, but that is with every company). If that changes at all, be assured that, I will hunt your company down in the YellowPages. Thank you for trying to save my family money, but it’s not needed at this time.

Donations:
I feel that we all should help our families out first so we can better help others in the community. With that said my family does donate to our chosen non-profit organizations, and will continue to do so in the future. I wish you the best for you and your agency and hope you reach your goal.

In Closing:
If none of the above applies to you, please understand before you knock. We have children here that could be napping or having a rest. Please knock in respect to this, and please don’t take offense if no one answers. After all, it could mean we are actually not home.

Take care and have a lovely day,

The residents of #____

Do you think it would work?