Mommy Issues: Parents are People Too [FRANKIE SAYS...] May17

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Mommy Issues: Parents are People Too [FRANKIE SAYS...]

Frankie says…

Parents are people, too.

Since I recently wrote about my daddy issues, I find it only fair to write about my mommy issues as well. Now my issues surrounding her are not so definable – they’re much more convoluted and intrinsic to that weird and confusing bond between a mother and a daughter. I can tell you this, though: it makes me not want a daughter. Harsh? Well, it’s how I feel, at least for now.

After all the stages daughters go through – immense attachment (0-8), awkward friendship (9-13), intense hatred and rebellion (14-18), clarity of collaborative forces (19-25), then the slow and eventual reveal that your mother is actually a person too and does not exist solely in your head (26 on) – it’s a wonder we’re not all more messed up than we are.

This last stage, this is where I am at. I obviously cannot talk about what happens after, since I have not experienced it yet, but I’m hoping pretty hard that there are some more stages because the one I’m in sucks.

Now that I am fully an adult, (in some circles) and am making life decisions on my own that will affect my existence from here on out, it’s come to my attention that my mother at some point had to make these same decisions. Not the exact same ones, but similar in the fact that they would impact the rest of her life.

At 28, already my mom had three girls from her first husband (an abusive alcoholic) whom she was about to divorce in the next year or so. After that, she would join a commune in southern France, leaving her girls to essentially fend for themselves with the grandparents and not-all-there father for a few months. Then she would return, take her girls and move to Texas where she would meet her second husband, tall and bald with a huge beard (also an abusive drunk). They would have a baby boy and all live on a tanker for the next year, transporting whale blubber and lard back and forth around the Gulf of Mexico. She would then divorce him, and her eldest two would move back home to live with their still-drunk father to be crazy teenagers. She would meet my father while he was working in Austin and they would immediately fall in love. She would move to Los Angeles with my brother and sister to live with him and a few years later, I would be born – not on purpose – as most of my siblings were. My father would leave my mother and when I was two, she would begin a relationship with a much younger man. She would get pregnant by him and have my littlest sister, the last of our brood, and move back east.

That is the very barest of bare bones of the decisions my mother was making. And I wasn’t there, I don’t know what it was like, I don’t know what she was thinking, but I do know that I’m doing nothing of the sort with all those babies and men.

Of course I realize it was circumstantial when she first began having babies almost 50 years ago, but what about towards the end – me, my little sister. Why did she never want a career? Why did she not go back to school? (Although she attempted once, it didn’t stick) Why did she pick crappy men? What hole was she trying to fill? Why? What? I just keep asking myself…

…but my other self, the daughter, doesn’t want to ask any questions. She wants to continue to call her mom every other day, the dutiful daughter, working hard to someday buy her mom a house. She wants to believe that her mom was the best mom she could be, given her circumstances. But the other me wants to know what woman in their right mind would get themselves into those circumstances.

So you see my dilemma.

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featured image credit: hownowdesign