How I Changed My Relationship with my Mom

Let me start off by saying that my mom, both my parents are great! They are super-duper role models and I can only hope to achieve a fraction of what they have achieved in their lifetime.  My parents' story is AMAZING and I am hoping to one day write a book telling everyone about their unbelievable journey, but for now I am going to ponder my relationship with my mom and how it has changed--- for the better.

My mom is a tough cookie. She is old school. She cares for the family and the home while my dad's brings "home the bacon".  As such, she is a "feeder" (think the mom on My Big Fat Greek Wedding) and hopeless attached to her kids (and now her grandkids).

Quick, I will tell you two stories that depict my relationship with my mom.  It is a love/tolerate type of relationship. Like any relationship, we have our ups and downs. 

The first story was as we prepared for my wedding. I had a big wedding (remember the reference to "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"?).  The wedding size and most of the events were to appease my mom.  I could have ran off, hell my dad said he's pay for us to go to  Vegas or an island just so we didn't have all the headache that we were about to endure, but my mom screamed at him for even suggesting it. Probably mostly because she knew there was a great chance that I'd take him up on the offer.  I knew that I was lucky that my parents were paying for a good chunk (probably 1/3), my husband's parents threw in some money (not much considering what we spent, but this is a story for a different post). 

When I asked my mom a few weeks before the wedding where my uncles (her brothers) and their families were staying for the wedding I got an ear full.  In my defense I only wanted to know so that I could plan where I would be staying. You see, growing up when they visited I always gave up my bed, but for my wedding I didn't want to sleep on the floor or the couch the night before the wedding, so I wanted to know what the sleeping arrangments would be. She screamed!!! Boy, did she scream.  She even said "they are my family and this is my house. You will not decide who will come to MY house". 

So I made reservations at the hotel and stayed there. No big deal, except for her crazy reaction. Again I just didn't want to sleep on the floor. So I stayed with my husband at the hotel.  Since that day, I don't refer to that house, my childhood house, as "my" house anymore. I have my own house, which is my home with my children and my husband.  But I make a conscience effort not to call that house my "home" any more.  I always refer to it as "your house" when speaking to my mom. I don't know if she even realizes it. I think she does. 

Then there is the story of my first mother's day.  My first mother's day as a mother. Also known as, the worst mother's day on the planet.  My baby boy was 5 months old. I was so excited to be a mom and to have my baby! My husband acted as if it was just any other day. He got up and left to run errands all morning. I thought for sure part of that errand running would include a card, maybe flowers, something??? I spent the morning snuggling with my baby on the bed, anticipating a bouquet of flowers.  He came home with NOTHING!  Then, I received a call from my brother that my mom was upset because he and I did not call by noon.  I didn't know the clock was ticking, but apparently it was.  I called shortly thereafter and got an earfull. She hung up on me.  It was terrible. She said awful things. I called her the next day and she was still terribly mean.  I reminded her that no one called me on my first mother's day, she responded that she didn't have to call me because she was my mother.  True - its a fact. 

So now I know that there is a clock ticking at that house on holidays.

OK, those are the stories...she is who she is. I am who I am.  For years it has been the battle of the wills. But last month I made a change. I realized that with all of the things that she has gone through in her life I need to be more flexible. To enjoy her and the great fun and laughter she can and does bring to our lives, I need to be understanding. 

So now when she talks. I listen. I repeat and rephrase. I often laugh. I don't debate (it is totally my nature). I want to. It is hard. Sometimes she is soooo very wrong.  But I let her believe what she believes because I have come to realize that she isn't going to change because of the things I say.  For some reason it is hard to thing of your children as knowledgable.  So I let her get her advice from Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz (thank god she isn't listening to Oprah anymore). 

Now, we can talk on the phone and when she tries to guilt trip me about how long it has been since I've been back to her house I simply say something like, "yes, it has been three weeks, I know but a two hour drive with two little ones isn't the easiest." or "#2 is teething, she isn't sleeping well".  And then I let it go. 

So that is it folks. I've learned to let it go! That has been the key for all these years. It took me 35 years to figure it out - but I did! Yippe!

Anyone else have a love/tolerate relationship with their parent(s)? Anyone else feel like they just can't talk to mom/dad one more time without ripping the phone out of the wall (wait I'm always on my cell phone, but you get the point). 




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