This post was inspired by a particular video and its comments. However, I will link to neither because it’s an uncomfortable subject and it probably comes off as being oversensitive. Still, I feel the need to talk about it.
In the video, a woman tells about how her kids view her as a “mean mom” because they have chores and responsibilities their friends don’t, and tells other moms who deal with the same they are not alone. Almost of all the comments were in agreement, as well as agreeing if more parents were like her, this generation wouldn’t be so terrible (do people really believe rotten kids just sprang up in the 2000s and never existed prior?).
I understand what the point of the video is and it’s indeed common with children, but I have to confess the ideas it’s good to be a “mean mom” and that your kids are supposed to hate you are ones that make me cringe. Why? Because my own mother said those things and she is far from mother of the year.
To explain it another way, knowing these things are normal and possibly should be what parenting is makes it hard for me to understand if I should count my mom’s parenting as abusive or not. She was supposed to have this “mean mom” attitude and she did, but it’s exactly why if the guilt didn’t crush me, I’d have nothing to do with her. Was she a bad mom or am I an oversensitive kid?
Making it further confusing is the fact I’ve found the “real world” to not be as cold-hearted and uncaring as I was told throughout my school years it was. Hard, definitely, but I feel more cared about now than I ever did while growing up. That’s not to say I haven’t had run-ins with cold people, but I’d been dealing with that for as long as I could enter school, so it wasn’t different. The best example I can give is my job. My staff at my workplace are incredibly friendly and accepting. I’ve screwed up more times than I can count, including one instance that could’ve had heavy consequences, and not once have I ever been yelled at or put down. On the contrary, they’ve tried to lift me up and continually encourage me to ask for help if I need it than stress myself. One of my supervisors has told me to my face I will make mistakes because I’m human and he still believes I am competent at my job. Shouldn’t this “real world” job be beating my self-worth into oblivion? Granted, I will admit I wasn’t prepared for that treatment, but it’s not an unpleasant surprise.
To put it in fewer sentences, I don’t have a “mean boss” or “mean co-workers”. That’s not to say I view them the same way I see my best friend – I don’t – but I don’t view them as these cold people they’re apparently supposed to be either. And while I’m betting they couldn’t care less if I did hate them, I wouldn’t work there if I felt that way, so it’s a moot point since they can’t exactly hold me hostage. In fact, I know they wouldn’t try because the one time I called out of work – and on New Year’s Eve, to boot – I wasn’t screamed at to come in or given any kind of penalty for it. All I was told was, “No problem. Feel better.” End of conversation. I wasn’t even asked why I felt unwell or what I was sick with. Of course, maybe they wouldn’t care about any reason I did give, but unless she was hiding it, my boss certainly didn’t sound angry on the phone, and nobody was upset with me when I came in the next day.
I confess I’ve gone into rambling here, but what I’m trying to emphasize is I’m very confused. Hearing things my mother said are what should be normal and experiencing the “real world” differently than I was led to believe make it hard for me to know if how I feel is justified or appropriate. I could be entirely wrong. My mother could’ve been a completely normal parent and I just didn’t work out. I don’t hate my mom, but the love I feel for her is out of obligation rather than free will. I’m not supposed to love her like I love my best friend, but the love and concern I feel for the latter is there because I want it to be there, not because I feel like it has to. But that’s a good thing?
Yes, I’m well aware parents are supposed to raise their children to be functional adults and my mom did succeed in that (I think). But aren’t I supposed to be thankful for what she did? I’m not. I do have reasons I’m thankful to be alive, but she’s not one of them, and even with those reasons I am glad to have stuck around, I’d still erase my existence if I could travel back in time to prevent it. Maybe the thankfulness is still a few years away? If it’s something I need to have kids to understand, I’ll have to remain confused because that’s not something I have any desire for.
I fully accept I may never figure this out or see the “mean mom”/”kids are supposed to hate their parents” attitude as it’s supposed to be seen. It might always make me uncomfortable, but in the end, I’m not having kids, so it’s not my problem or something I should concern myself with. The video itself was about chores, so if nothing else, I seem to be thinking too much again, as usual. I certainly don’t think chores are abusive (although I do think making older siblings live-in babysitters is lazy as can be, but that’s a rant for another day).