When it comes to motherhood, I sometimes feel a little lost. I find myself looking around for a good example of what a good mom should be. Not because I want to get sucked into the comparison game, but because I want to make sure I am doing things right.
Here’s the thing, I know no mom is perfect.
I also know my mom replaced me a long time ago with her personal demons. Truthfully, I don’t have many happy memories from my childhood. Our home was filled with beer bottles and an emotionally absent mother. It was unpredictable – some days were good days. On good days, she made dinner, checked homework, and read bedtime stories. Other days were not good – it was a “fend for yourself” kind of life. On bad days, my mom would lock herself in her room all day or she would send me to a relative’s house for the night.
Fast forward through missed birthdays, graduations, and other big events, like my wedding. To this day, I have no relationship with my mom. She still has the same struggles as before, only I no longer have to live with them. When I see her, on rare occasion, I can hardly believe she gave birth to me. I feel no personal connection. When I hear other women talk about how annoying it is that their mother calls them every day, it hurts. Mine never calls. There aren’t any mother/daughter dates. We don’t go out shopping or get our nails done together. I don’t confide in her with big decisions or vent to her when my husband forgets to start the dishwasher. It’s just not in the cards.
I don’t want sympathy or a pity party.
I believe my childhood has made me into the strong person I am today. I know it sounds cliché, but it’s true. If you know me, you would probably think I had a normal, happy childhood. Questions about my mom I usually brush off. I’ll never tell you that I haven’t spoken to her in months. I don’t mention that as much as I want to cut her off completely, I just can’t. I won’t admit to the fact that most of my decisions as a parent come from not wanting to be her.
I want my children to have a normal and happy childhood. I don’t want them to have to worry about what sort of situation they’re coming home to every day. I try my hardest to cook dinner for them on a regular basis, and tuck them into bed after a bedtime story each night. I want them to know they’re loved not just through my words but through my daily actions. I am determined to provide a stable life for them … and myself. I hope to be a mom they love, with no twinge of pain behind it. I want them to have a childhood they looks back on with fondness, not tears. I want to be better than the mom I had, for them.