Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The difference between my mom and me

My mom has been living with me for 12 years now. Gawd.... that's more than half as long as I lived with her before I grew up and moved out. Well, it hasn't always been terrible, but lately I have very little tolerance with her. And I feel kind of bad about that.

I have two teenage sons, 14 and 17. They are great kids. They aren't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but they are both great students. They get mostly A's and some B's on their report cards. They and their friends spend lots of time at my house. I like to make them welcome here because I want them to spend lots of time here. Sure it means that Jim and I usually end up watching tv in the bedroom so the kids can have the family room, but that's okay.

You know how people tell you that you'll understand your parents once you have your own kids? Well, I understand all right. I understand that my mother and I look at things very differently. My mom was a control freak when I was young. She is the type of person who always thinks the worse of people. I am not like that. My boys understand that I trust them, and I will trust them until they break that trust. So far, they haven't done anything that would even remotely cause me to be suspicious of them. That doesn't mean that I don't check up on them. It doesn't mean that they can do whatever they want whenever they want. But overall, they have given me no reason to doubt that they are good kids and that their friends are good kids.

But my kids have two 'moms'. My mother pushes her authority a little too far sometimes. She second-guesses ME which drives me up a fucking wall. She is always saying stuff like "He reminds me of your brother." My brother barely made it through school, he was a terrible student. He started drinking when he was about 12. He was always off wandering somewhere. And the more my mother tried to control him, the worse he got. My kids are NOTHING like that..... They are usually here, their friends are usually here, and when they are not, I know where they are and who they are with. They know my rules, and I don't feel the need to 'control' their lives. I accept that they will try to sidestep some rules, but they have not yet broken my trust. As a matter of fact, my oldest was at a New Year's Eve party two years ago and the friend that drove him there had a drink or two. He called me at midnight to ask us to pick him up. He knows that I never want him to get in a car with anyone who's been drinking. No questions. No lectures. We'll talk about it later. We did. And we're okay. No big deal. My mother, on the other hand, has to get all hysterical about stuff and it's a big fucking deal..... That's why I don't tell her most things that go on with my children.

I am amazed that as my kids go through their teenage years, I am finding that the resentment I felt toward her when I was a teenager is still there. I could never be honest with her. To this day I can't be honest with her (and I'm 46 years old!). So I guess it didn't happen with me. I never came to that understanding about why she was such an obsessive-compulsive, distrustful person when I was younger. And why she's still that way. I just wish that she would let me parent my own children without interference.

Okay, rant over......

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