Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I don't like my mother very much!

We are not really that close, but we pretend to be.

I call her everyday. She rarely calls me. Mostly, she tells me routine things about her doctors and what's been on television. We talk about nothing and argue about everything.

Oftentimes we lock horns as we view life from different perspectives. We exhaust ourselves but - driven by this inner need to stay in touch even though its bad for us - we always make up in the end.

It's a sickly relationship with an all-round lack of respect. Mainly on her part. Just last week she bought the kids another bunny stating, "Don't put this in the same cage as the other one I got you! And remember, the pet owner said to keep them both in the house now that the weather is cooling down!" Though she knows I live in a flat...a small one at that. (How come she never bought me bunnies when I was a kid?)

The kids were chuffed! What a cool grandma to spoil them with bunnies instead of chocolates! Bunnies that pee around the house...with me sweeping the straw they leave behind...Bunnies that will probably reproduce so that we have more bunnies! (groan)

I continue to invite her to every joy in my life - baptisms, weddings, birthdays - though I know she'll spoil it for me, and yet somehow I feel like she should be there. She makes me beg for her to come until the last moment and then arrives like the Queen of Sheba to inspect and criticise. Or if I don't beg hard enough, she says, "So I guess you don't want your mama! Ungrateful child! And I came all the way from Australia to Athens for you, without you even asking me to!" (I don't add, "I only left to get away from you!")

She has never approved of my decisions or respected them and I'm afraid she'll die feeling disappointed in me. My husband she calls "Boufo" (even though I paid her the ultimate compliment in marrying a man who reminded me of her)...And that's her excuse for never baby sitting. "What? So you can go out with him! No way!"

Actually, she has had a derogatory nickname for all the people I've ever loved - none of them passed her inspection or if they did the opinion was fast reversed if she suspected I actually liked them. (Like my friends? Heaven forbid!) My mother never believed friends are for getting too close to and her advice has always been, "View today's friends as tomorrow's enemies." With such advice I'm surprised I ever had friends at all! Sometimes I wonder if I even know how to be one!

What will I remember from her? My ungratefulness at never quite being able to like the person who is responsible for who I am. Infact, not only do I not like her, I have a disdain for her hypocrisy and the lies that she herself believes, and I dislike the way she brags about herself and wishes to control her husband, her friends, my family, and of course, me...

In return, she feels I am a thorn in her side. She has such an inflated sense of self-importance that she feels that I am reluctant to succeed just to make her look bad to her friends who sit around and talk about their evidently more capable sons and daughters...

And that is the basis of our relationship.

I have never been quite enough, and she has always been too much.

Sorry mum. I don't like you but, judging from the way it hurts, I love you to distraction. We'd both probably give up our lives for each other in an instant, but how sad that we have difficulty being in the same room.
And speaking of mothers and bunnies, it's always good to remember this book by Clemence Hurd about the Mother Bunny who morphed into a fisherbunny, rock, gardener, tree, circus performer and the wind - all in the name of a mother's steadfast, unconditional love.



Mother, do you think they'll drop the bomb
Mother, do you think they'll like the song
Mother, do you think they'll try to break my balls
Oooh aah, Mother should I build a wall
Mother, should I run for president
Mother, should I trust the government
Mother, will they put me in the firing line
Oooh aah, is it just a waste of time

Hush now baby, baby don't you cry
Mama's gonna make all of your
Nightmares come true
Mama's gonna put all of her fears into you
Mama's gonna keep you right here
Under her wing
She won't let you fly but she might let you sing
Mama will keep baby cosy and warm
Oooh Babe oooh Babe Ooooh Babe
Of course, Mama's gonna help build the wall.



Jamie said...

I adore your blog and look forward to following along! Some of our best friends are from Greece and we love when their parents come to visit from the 'homeland.'I'm a mum to three little ones and we're in the process of adopting twins from Ethiopia!
beneath the acacia tree

Sharon said...

So compelling, your writing. So compelling.

This makes my heart tug back and forth from the love/hate relationship I had with my own mother. Now, in the autumn of my life, I understand how insecure and vulnerable she was. I send her a warm hug through the phantom window of time/space because now, I feel more like her mother, her protector.

Purple Cow said...

Twins from Ethiopia?!?! I will drop by. Thanks so much for your kind words.

Sharon, it does not surprise me that your mother is a little, err challenging, like mine. With such mothers no wonder we are both a bit reclusive by nature and inclined to admire our daughters more than is correct!

LJ said...

You and I sound like we had/have much the same kind of relationship with our mothers. Mine's been gone for 4 years now, and I think I mourn more for the relationship that "should have been" than was. I didn't like the one that was, and honestly feel really ripped off!
Hugs to you!

Colleen said...

I read this post earlier in the day but had to think a little bit about it (although I'm not sure what good it did me as I think this comment is fairly uninspired.:)
You capture the futility of loving someone you have such a strong and unbreakable bond with but can not bring yourself to like so poignantly. I was moved to read this and it made me think we are all hurting in some ways, we all have imperfect relationships that we would probably choose to have otherwise. I guess sometimes though it isn't in our power and all we can do is try to care for a person and love them but they still drive us up the wall...
I don't really have any wisdom to share on this topic. Maybe it's enough to say your post touched me though. I feel for you and your mother.

Love Colleen (Still trying to work out the mystery of my own existance.:)

Robin said...

Ah yes, more heartburn. I understand better your difficulty in making choices about your kids. You want what is best for them, but the footing always feels so unsure because of your relationship with your own mom. That is a conundrum. My parents had similar difficulties in that my mother disliked her father and my father disliked his mother. However, they each loved their respective gender parent. My relationship with my mother was awful growing up but became really wonderful when I hit my 20s. I think the reason for that was that my parents divorced and my mother saw the world through different eyes. It looks different as a single person than a married one. I got a lot less judgment and a lot more understanding. If you can, accept her for who she is. Love her flaws and all. Perhaps, in doing that she might be able to give that back. Even if she can't, you will know that you have done your best. As much as you indicate your doubt of your parenting (here), I suspect that you are a wonderful mother. I believe that you are your harshest judge of your abilities. Besides all that, I think you are pretty darn awesome. Thanks for the comment on my blog Most Awesome One:-) That is not me putting you on a pedastol. I am still all about the bees...

Purple Cow said...

LJ - I sometimes wonder what it would be like had she been more supportive... And then I think the fact that our relationship has been challenging has helped me focus on the more essential things. She always wanted me to be the BEST and that's why I always felt that being the BEST wasn't really all it is trumped up to be. As you can tell a psychotherapist would have a field day with me!

Colleen - least you can be certain that you actually do exist, unless you are still at the stage where you feel that you are a figment of someone's imagination. But back to the topic of mums-kids, I think your comment has just the right word - "futility". For me, love always had to have "futility"... Who knows? As I said, a psychotherapist would have a field day.

Robin - Heartburn? Are you sure its not indigestion? My mother cannot be considered a failure at anything - she was good in her chosen profession, a productive wife, great gardener, frugal where she needed to be in order to gather hordes of money that she invested prudently and perhaps what she needed was a few of life's slaps to realise that what matters really is self growth... Now in her senior years I find it hard to make her see the OTHER SIDE! Perhaps it is her closed-mindedness that made me open-minded. Anyway, that's my daily dose of blog therapy for the day. I learnt how to do BLOG THERAPY from you, Robin...

Thanks for everyone's take on this.

Phoenix said...

My boyfriend had a bad relationship with his mother so when we first started dating (he's a huge Pink Floyd fan, btw) he quoted this song as one of the most influential songs for him. She was so fearful, and she tried her hardest to pass her fears and neuroticism onto him... she's passed away and he's free now, but sometimes something is triggered for him.

I get along with my mom just fine - but my father and I? Ugh. That's a whole other story. As you pointed out, it's hard to ever make him happy - so I just stopped trying.

Julie said...

Moms can be difficult at times but don't want to be without them either. I'm sorry yours is naughty though, that makes life more difficult.
I have been truly blessed as an adult to have the relationship I do with my mama. She's my protector, worrier, love and Turd in my pocket. If she doesn't think of it I will. I wish all relationships could like ours.
I hope that you can find some times that are worth it all so you can look back when it's time and remember them.
Take care and God Bless!!

EyeRytStuf said...

While I have this sort of relationship with other relatives, I got along well enough with my mom, until the Alzheimer's made her not know who I was, anyway.

Just been reading your posts, and this one made me want to comment that I'm enjoying reading your writing...

Purple Cow said...

the DUNDERHEAD bloke! he wrote! Robin, did you see that? I don't believe it!