Friday, August 06, 2010

Welcome to SuckTown, USA

It's the place where dreams come true!

Ok, not really.

First stop on our trip? Sucktown, USA. Aka Virginia. My home.

I was all set to write a great post (and I will very soon) about how much fun we've been having on our road trip... and then I visited my mom. It's no secret that my mom and I don't have a good relationship. In fact, I'd say it's strained, at best.

Somehow, my mother's timing is always impeccable. Or perhaps it's just that there is no good time to attack someone's parenting choices.

I'm not writing about this for sympathy or a pat on the back. I'm very much aware that I'm not a perfect parent. Not even close! But I do think that I try very hard to make the best choices for our family and do the best I can for my children. It hurts to hear someone say that I've failed.

My mother has told me so many times that I'm doing this all wrong. I'm wrong when it comes to breastfeeding, starting solids, potty training, sleeping, diapering, discipline, schooling, and pretty much everything else. No amount of self defense on my part can help. There's no point. Whatever I do, it will be wrong.

Basically, I took the kids to my mom's house for dinner on Tuesday. We had been staying in the camper (partially to avoid situations like this) but coming over to visit when she got home from work. Dinner was late that night and it was actually bedtime before the kids sat down to eat. Nathan was tired, hungry, and out of sorts. He threw a tantrum that only a toddler can throw, and I must say that he was in rare form. He cried and cried for several minutes and when I removed him from the table he cried more. When he was in my arms he settled down, but not before dinner was "ruined." That was when my mother pointed out that my children are disrespectful brats because I don't discipline them. And that Nathan needed some good spanking right then. (Because the best way to settle a tired, hungry toddler is to hit him, right?)

Needless to say, that put a damper on things. We'd been having fun until then and now I've just been reminded why I left this place months ago.

It's a shame that I can't enjoy being home and being with family. It's sad that I always wonder what terrible things my mom will say to me whenever I visit.

It's not enough that my husband is deployed and that I'm moving across the country. Or that I've been having health issues (much. much better at the moment) and I haven't had a partner here to help pitch in when things get rough. Or that I'm really trying to do the best I can in every situation that life throws at me. Nope. Not enough. My mother has to add in some lovely Mama Drama to keep things interesting.

I'd love to hear from those of you that deal with this too. I know some of you have the same issues with your mothers. How do you handle it? I've cut off communication with her before and that doesn't work, and I do still want my children to know her. I have gotten really good at ignoring her passive aggressive comments, but sometimes she (literally) gets in my face. We only see her a few times a year. What should I do? I am starting to dread coming back here.

The bright side in all of this is that I parked my camper at my sister-in-law's house on Tuesday night and we've been spending time with her instead. I never wrote about it, but she had a miscarriage last month and I wanted so badly to be there for her. It was an early miscarriage (just like mine 5 years ago) but she had gone through so much to have a baby. It has been beyond devastating. I am glad to be here to bring some craziness and laughter to her house.
Right now, we are preparing to hit the road again. I've learned a few things about RV living. (And no, I'm not going to say anything about dumping the sewage!) Space is always tight. Internet is a luxury. I really need a laptop. Leaving the bathroom vent open in a rain storm will make a soggy mess. TV is really not missed at all. Seven people, a cat, and a dog sharing a space makes for a new level of coziness. We can be happy, no matter where we sleep at night.

Yes, we can be happy just about anywhere. Even SuckTown, USA.
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